Friday, June 6, 2014

Accuracy/Validity of Wisdom Panel Dog DNA Test (Examples of Results)

A couple of years ago, I ran a Wisdom Panel on Neeko, and was fairly impressed with the results I was given.  The breeds that were detected are all quite believable, in my opinion.  According to the results, Neeko is 37.5% unknown or too mixed to tell, 12.5%  Siberian Husky, 25% German Shepherd, and 25% Alaskan Malamute.

Wisdom panel results
Hers was overall pretty believable, and I was pleased.
The newer version of Wisdom Panel tests for over 200 breeds of dogs.

I recently ran a Wisdom Panel on Faolan, the results of which can be seen here.

I have talked to several people over the last couple of years who have received some off the wall results when having a Wisdom Panel ran on their dogs.  However, most are unable to provide documentation (the results) to support their claims.  I understand that many genetic markers overlap for various dogs, and that the percentage unknown is truly unknown, and not indicative of anything in particular.  Some of these owners have provided me with photos of their dogs, Wisdom Panel results, and what information they do know of their dogs' lineages.  All photos and results provided by and used with permission of owners.

Bastas is a rescued wolfdog, owned by KB, who keeps a HILARIOUS (yet truthful) blog about her experiences with him, and I think she should post more frequently.  Karlissa, that's a blatant hint if you are reading this.  Check them out at The Wolf Crazies.

Even though Bast is a rescue, his parents are known.  His father is a high content wolfdog, who had a pure wolf parent, and there are some discrepancies as to what his mother is, because no one has actually met her in person.  Some say she is a low content Belgian Shepherd mix.

Bastas' Wisdom Panel indicates that he is 25% Siberian Husky, 25% Norwegian Buhund, 25% Chinook, and 25 % unknown/mixed breed. Chinooks and Buhunds are both relatively rare breeds of dogs, with neither of them matching up physically with Bastas.  These are some very interesting, very odd results.

Hugo is a 100 lb mixed breed owned by Amy Johnson.  She chose to run a Wisdom Panel on Hugo, and shared the results she received with me.  She was assured that she provided a good quality sample, so there were no issues there.

Handsome Hugo.

Hugo's results indicated that he is 25% GSD, 12.5% Rottweiler, 12.5% Airedale Terrier, and 50% unknown.  Amy feels that while GSD and Rottweiler are both plausible, she does not see any Airedale in Hugo, and has no knowledge of his true lineage. Wisdom Panel results also include a section in which the likelihood of what dogs could make up the unknown percentage is laid out.  It was indicated that Hugo's unknowns could be Shetland Sheepdog, Lancashire Heeler, and Samoyed, which she doesn't see at all.

What do wisdom panel results look like, wisdom panel review
Hugo's Wisdom Panel Results

Snow is a gorgeous girl owned by Tori JW, who in some photos reminds me of my girl.  Tori knows that Snow has verified Samoyed and Malamute from generations 8 and below, and that there is some GSD and Siberian Husky in generations 6 and below.

Gorgeous Snow.

I personally see quite a bit of Samoyed in Snow, but I am no breed identification expert.  Tori did state she does have verified Samoyed in her.  Snow's results showed 37.5% GSD, 12.5% Siberian Husky, and 50% unknown.  It did not detect any Malamute or Samoyed in her, both of which are verified. 

wisdom panel results mixed breed dog
Snow's Wisdom Panel results.

Chino is an adorable little guy, and I was provided with his pictures and results by Rowan Borneman.  Rowan rescued Chino from a high kill shelter in North Carolina, and has her suspicions about his heritage.  "His tail was docked very short, and dewclaws removed, so my hunch is that he was born to a Rat Terrier breeder as an oops litter to a Chihuahua mix."

Cutie Chino.

Wisdom panel results for chihuahua mix

Chino's Wisdom Panel indicated that one of his parents was a purebred Rat Terrier, and that the other parent was half Chihuahua, half unknown.  Rowan (and myself) finds these results believable.

Chino's Wisdom Panel results.

Rain is another pretty girl, also owned by Tori JW.  Tori actually does know some of Rain's heritage, in that it does include some Siberian Husky and Samoyed, and states that her results on Rain actually outlined her father's side of the family tree fairly accurately.  In all technicalities, Rain is an F4, 16% low content Wolfdog.  F4 means that (at least) one of her great-grandparents was a pure wolf.

Pretty girl, Rain.

Rain's Wisdom Panel indicated that she 25% Alaskan Malamute, 25% Siberian Husky, 12.5% Samoyed, and 37.5% unknown.  The named dog breeds are pretty believable, in my opinion.

wisdom panel results for low content wolfdog
Rain's Wisdom Panel results.

Some of these results are suprisingly accurate to me, when a breed can be in fact detected.  Perhaps Hugo is such a mixed breed that most of markers are diluted, making it difficult to pinpoint any purebred heritage. 

I found researching this to be quite interesting.  Obviously, I love the northern breeds, and many of the ancient breeds as well, but I am no genetics expert.  That fact that a genome is being mapped out is quite amazing to me, because the chromosomal differences that make up various dog traits are minute.

What are your thoughts on the validity of dog DNA tests?


  1. I know very little about genetics. But I also have seen some strange results with these tests.

    People with purebred dogs don't run these tests. It's pretty expensive just for curiosity. But I'd be curious if a panel for my golden retriever, Honey, showed up as a golden retriever. Or if the other breeds that went into creating the breed in the 1800s would show up as well.

    With a newer breed, at what point would we stop seeing genetic markers for the breeds from which they were created?

  2. We understand the basics but there we end our knowledge and therefore although interesting how accurate the tests are we are not sure? Food for thought. They look quite good. Fascinating either way. Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. That is so interesting! I definitely see wolf in Bastas' face in the photo where he's drinking. They are all great looking dogs!

  4. That was very interesting. Angus thinks he is part German Shepard and Newfoundland...we told him to dream on!
    stella rose

  5. Huh very cool! Lots of golden in our house!

  6. Can they determine wolf in those findings? I didn't see it listed.

    Bastas is one bad ass wolf dog! Arooooooo!

    1. Hi there, Bast's person here! The Wisdom Panel DNA test does not detect wolf content. For that reason, we were not expecting his sire's side to come out believable, as his sire is a high content wolfdog (almost pure wolf).

      His mother, other the other hand, is supposedly a husky/Belgian shepherd mix. We have few pictures of her, but the images we have seem to support some sort of husky-shepherd mix. We ran the Wisdom Panel test mostly as a joke but also to see if we could get any hints as to the mom's lineage. Unfortunately, the results were not useful at all. She was matched with a very rare breed (Buhund) that looks nothing like her at all.Given her circumstances (basic mutt belonging to a rather scummy breeder) it is highly unlikely that these results are accurate.

      We were disappointed but, at the end of the day, the test was done mostly for giggles. We were just sad to not get any insight on his mother :(

  7. Actually, after giving one of these tests to my friend as a gift, I really wanted to see their "validation" data. E.g., running the test on known pure-breds, and seeing how often it's right. If nothing else, it's lots of fun!

    I also think that genetics don't "mix" like we might expect. A trait from one breed in a dog's lineage could be completely dominant so that the features of the breeds in his/her lineage don't show up. So, you'd never guess the lineage by looking at the dog.

  8. I ran the wisdom panel professional (the blood test) on my boy and got pretty off the wall results. I don't know his heritage but given his looks and the area where he was found, they are extremely unlikely. His results were straightforward coming back as: 50% Anatolian Shepherd, 25% Clumber Spaniel, and 25% Irish Water Spaniel. Given the fact that he is a 70 lb black dog, who looks very much like a lab (except for the white chest and fluffier tail) and is from northern British Columbia, Canada I find these results incredibly difficult to believe. The only breed that I find in any way believable is the Anatolian because it would be the right area to have a LGD. However, the Clumber and Irish Water Spaniels both seem to rare for the area and the probability of getting that mix just seems astronomically low...

  9. Pretty interesting stuff! I would be curious to see what the testing would say about Teddy and Diesel!

  10. I have heard some people get some wacky results with wisdom panel. Not sure if it may just not be at all obvious with some breeds, or if they miss the mark sometimes, but it is definitely interesting!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  11. When we ran a Wisdom Panel on Blue, one of the breeds that came back was standard poodle, which we didn't believe. It was a small percentage, but we chose to research the breed and could see it in some of Blue's personality traits.

    I'd like to run a test on all of our dogs, especially Rodrigo and Sydney. We knew their mother, but not their fathers. For the puppies, we're curious to know what makes up their mother, who was only part catahoula.

  12. I think it's really interesting BUT if I paid good money for the test and got up to 50% unknown, I would be mighty ticked off. Or want 50% of my money back. LOL.

  13. This looks really interesting, especially since most of my dogs are mutts. I want to know if some of them do have the retriever blood in them, and if Whitey was actually a pure Spitz.

    I can't believe you got yours for 2 dollars. That, I'm jealous of!

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