What’s in your mutt? DNA testing might tell
What manner of beast is this?
You’ll just have to keep reading to find out, but feel free to formulate your guess as you continue.
This is Otis, chosen as a finalist for dog of the year in a contest sponsored by Mars Veterinary, makers of the Wisdom Panel, a DNA testing kit that tells you what breeds are in your mutt.
Determining a dog’s breeds through DNA has come a long way in the year since I swabbed inside the cheek of my dog Ace, sent the sample to the company’s lab and learned that Chow and Rottweiler were the primary breeds he’s made up of.
Not a shepherd, not an Akita — as most veterinarians guessed, but a Chotweiller. It was a tale told over five days, in the pages of the Baltimore Sun, and in an online documentary, “Hey, Mister, What Kind of Dog is That?”
Back then, the test I used cost $65, and tested for the presence of 38 breeds.
Today, most doggie DNA tests cost twice as much, use blood instead of cheek cells, and can determine which of more than 130 breeds are in your mutt.
Their usefuleness and accuracy are still debatable, but, according to a report in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer last week, the tests seem to be catching on.
In November, Petco will introduce its Canine Heritage Breed Test in Ohio stores. The test — it’s the predecessor of the one I used — has been available online and in limited markets since July, and sales have surpassed expectations, a company spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Mars Veterinary, which estimates that half the country’s 70 million dogs are mixed breed, expects a growing market for its Wisdom Panel MX test.
The companies saying knowing what’s in a mutt’s mix can help diagnose and treat medical problems that arise in its lifetime.
Critics say, while that information could prove useful, there are probably better investments for you doggie dollar — such as good food.
The Wisdom Panel test from Mars (the company, not planet) can detect 134 breeds. It’s performed by veterinarians, as drawing blood is required. About 4,000 clinics offer the test. Company officials say the test has an 84 percent accuracy rate.
Okay, back to Otis. To see what breeds turned out to be in him, click here.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 2nd, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: blood, breed, canine, canine heritage, dna testing, dog, heritage, mars veterinary, mixed breed, mutt, mutts, swab, testing kit, wisdom panel