Thursday, February 18, 2016

This 'n That Thursdays: Doggie DNA Tests

Maddie (left) and Ruby (right).

Have you ever gotten your pet DNA-tested?  After we adopted our unusual-looking (in a good way!) mixed breed dog Maddie, we decided to have her DNA analyzed to get some idea of just what those breeds might be.  We were guessing some sort of setter and hound mix, the latter most likely Beagle, because she has a hound face and ears plus short and stumpy Beagle-like legs, but a sort of long-haired coat and an especially long, plumy, curved tail that is definitely not hound-like.  We have never had a setter before, but thought she might have some English Setter in her:

From Northwoods Bird Dogs

Since we were having Maddie tested, we decided to get our terrier mix Ruby done as well.  We, and everyone else who has seen her, have always assumed that she is part Pit Bull:

From Wikipedia

However, her small delicate head, long and slender legs, and upright brushy tail all indicate some other breed(s) as well, one of which we thought might be a Rat Terrier (or "Feist" dog, as they are known locally):

From NCHuntAndFish


This week I got our dogs' test results back, and we could not have been more surprised!  According to Maddie's results, she is likely mostly part Beagle, which was not unexpected.  However, the next most likely breed turned out to be the Chow Chow, and that really perplexed us, although it could explain the plumy tail, I guess.  She also showed traces of Parson (Jack) Russell Terrier and Rottweiler!  Hmmm!!!

Even more amazing were Ruby's results.  Her DNA test came back as likely mostly part Irish Setter!  This is for a dog that could not look and act less like an Irish Setter (Maddie is a much more plausible candidate, in our opinion!).  Next most likely is the Australian Cattle Dog, with a bit of Boston Terrier, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and Poodle thrown in!  Even if she does have DNA from each of these breeds, the fact that Pit Bull did not show up at all completely befuddles us! Ruby was a stray who followed me home one day.  We live in a rural Georgia county where Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes are extremely common, so the fact that no trace of this breed showed up in her results is confusing, to say the least.  Oh well, in the extremely unlikely event that we ever consider moving to an area that bans Pit Bulls, we can simply whip out her DNA test results and assure everyone that Ruby is just an Irish Setter mix in disguise!


The test kit did warn that if dogs shared toys or other items, the cheek swabs used to run the DNA tests might have compromised results.  Even though I tried to make sure, as instructed, that the dogs did not put anything into their mouths one hour prior to being swabbed, they could have briefly grabbed something when I wasn't looking and messed up their tests.  I have concluded that the only way to make sure their samples are clean would be to have a professional do the collections, but for now we are deriving considerable amusement from our Beagle/Chow Chow and Irish Setter/Australian Cattle Dog mixed breeds!

From VCA Animal Hospitals (left and right).

From VCA Animal Hospitals (left) and vetSTREET (right).

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