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Ace and Elliott: What’s in the mix?

Ace and Elliott both bravely submitted to having their blood drawn yesterday for DNA testing, meaning it’s only a matter of time until our “What’s in Your Mutt Mystery Contest” reaches its final chapter.

Elliott was the winner of our reader contest in which mutt owners wrote about their dogs and why they wanted to know the breeds that were in them.

Ace is my dog, whose DNA test last year — not long after the tests first came out — was recounted in the Baltimore Sun series, Hey, Mister, What Kind of Dog is That?”

The Canine Heritage test — a home version in which the pet owner swabs the inside of the dog’s cheek and sends the swab in for analysis — found him to be Chow and Rottweiler, two of the 38 breeds that particular test, at that particular time, checked for.

Since then, the technology has improved.  The new Wisdom Panel MX Mixed Breed Analysis, from Mars Veterinary, tests blood, drawn and sent in by your veterinarian, and can detect the presence of more than 150 breeds. The new Canine Heritage test, available from MMI Genomics, can now detect more than 100 breeds through cheek cells collected on the swab.

When Mars Veterinary, makers of the Wisdom Panel, offered us a chance to try out the new product we agreed. The company sent us two free test kits, one for Ace, one for our contest winner, who turned out to be Elliott.

On Saturday, we all gathered at my house for the blood drawing — Ace, Elliott, his humans, Andrew and Kelly Gould, and Dr. Johnny Slaughter, a mobile veterinarian in Baltimore, and ohmidog! advertiser, who volunteered his services.


Slaughter will send the samples in for analysis and get the results, probably sometime in January, at which point we will all gather at a bar to be named later for the “reveal” party. You’ll be invited, too.

You’re also invited to submit your guesses as to what breeds are in Ace and Elliott. Those who correctly guess will win ohmidog! hooded sweatshirts.

The only catch is, your guesses must be made in the form of a comment (logging in required) on the original posts — for Elliott, and for Ace. You’re limited to one guess on each dog, and to win you have to be 100 percent correct — naming all, and only, the breeds that are found.



While we’re making a game of it, learning what breeds are in your mutt (and Mars estimates there are 38 million mutts in America) isn’t all just for the fun of it. Finding out a dog’s breeds, the company says, can help owners and veterinarians develop a more targeted care plan for the care, feeding and training of a dog.

The Canine Heritage Test, is now on sale for 99.95 (until Dec. 31); the Wisdom Panel analysis costs $124.99.

As to what the difference is between the two — besides one requiring blood and one not — we’ll be testing that as well. Canine Heritage has offered to analyze Ace’s DNA again to see if any of the breeds they’ve added to their new test show up in him. So we’ll be seeing what, if any, difference there is in the results the two companies provide.

Both companies offer “upgrades” for customers who had earlier versions of the test done. Check their websites for details.


Comment from bluhawkk
Time December 22, 2008 at 7:58 am

In America’s best melting pot tradition, Ace looks like a dog that goes back severals generations of wonderfully mixed heritage.

As a kid animal lover, the first dog with whom I had opportunity of a close relationship was a loving, loyal, scrappy black and white, short-haired, bush eye-browed, 40 lb nondescription who I dearly loved and by whom all dogs are measured.

Yes, yes, not proper to use who/whom.

BTW one of my favorite videos – guaranteed to wring out a smile:


Comment from Mary Schmidt
Time December 22, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Watch out. Ace may get other nutty Wichita fans. 🙂