The Results are In!

Weeks ago, I swabbed the inside of Sierra’s cheek as instructed in the DNA test kit I’d purchased, and sent the sample off to Mars Veterinary. I’ve been anticipating the results of the Wisdom Panel,™ designed to discover the genetic makeup of mixed breed dogs. The test is not yet perfect, although it does have genetic markers to identify over 170 breeds.

If at least 50% of your dog’s DNA belongs to one particular breed, it is classified as  Significant Breed. You’re likely to see the most physical and behavioral traits from this breed. If at least 25% of your dog’s DNA comes from a particular breed, it is classified as Intermediate, and you may see some physical and behavioral traits from that breed. A 12.5% or more showing is termed Minor Breed, although it’s unlikely you’d see the breed’s physical traits unless, as Mars says, “some of the genes are dominant.” The report also supplies a sheet on each of the breeds identified. Having seen some results from friends’ dogs, I knew that the number of breeds that show up varies. You might get no Significant results, and three Minor ones; or two Intermediary results and that’s it. It really depends.

So here….(insert drumroll)…are Sierra’s results:

Significant Breed: Alaskan Malamute
Intermediate Breed: Siberian Husky, and Keeshond
No results in Minor Breed

So to those of you who guessed any of those breeds, hats off! I’m personally surprised that Malamute was the more prominent, as her body type and play style are more typical of the slender, agile Husky.

The information sheets designate the Malamute as an ancient sled dog bred to survive in the hostile environment of the Arctic. Huskies have been used for “herding of reindeer, pulling sleds, and keeping children warm.” The Keeshond is known in Germany as the Wolfspitz, which is ironic because most everyone who sees Sierra calls her a “miniature wolf.” These dogs were bred to “watch over the homestead and hunt wildlife for its master.” Well, she’s certainly got the hunting part down on her daily hikes with my husband. And although there aren’t any reindeer (or kids) around here to herd, I plan to put her innate skills to use very soon—not with reindeer, but with sheep. On Friday we’ll visit a local herding instructor and have Sierra tested to see whether it might be an appropriate activity for her. Stay tuned!


12 Responses to The Results are In!

  1. Lori K. says:

    Really interesting. Thanks for sharing I’ve been curious too. I enjoy your tweets and blogs.

  2. Ann says:

    Really cool Nic. She is beautiful regardless of her heritage. So glad she has become a family member.

  3. Jo says:

    Right on! I sorta guessed! Thought she looks like my childhood dog, Spooky, a collie/mal. My malamute Leica passed in the last year, so maybe I have mals on the mind, but thought I saw some of Leica in Sierra as well. I think mals are the most “wolfy” breed appearance wise.

    That so cool to know! You’ve probably seen this, but here’s some info on Treiball Sheepless herding:

  4. I love reading about your journey with Sierra. I can’t wait to read about your herding instinct test. I had Aussie tested. I wrote a blog about it including some video:

  5. wildewmn says:

    Thanks all! Jo, yes, I just recently saw the Treiball Sheepless herding. Creative, and looks like fun! And Christine, I loved your blog about Aussie’s instinct test. How amazing. Thanks for sharing your experience. I only hope Sierra will do that well. But if herding doesn’t turn out to be her thing, we’ll keep looking.

    I’m also planning to check out K9 Nosework at some point. After having the wolves for 10 years (not exactly herding candidates), a fearful GSD, and a not-quite-social-enough 120 lb. brat of a beloved soul dog, I am really enjoying having a dog I can actually do activities with.

  6. @K9_Kirsty says:

    I guessed malamute x keeshond as one of my guesses on your other blog. I’m most suprised as I usually suck at the ‘guess the breed’ game lol

    Go me! lol

  7. What, no Corgi?! I’m shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you! Have you started seeing any Mal or Kees traits in her behavior?

  8. Robin says:

    Finally a dog who looks like the DNA results! I’ve known a few who look the complete opposite of what the results say: sleek tall dogs whose results say furry and tiny.

    GREAT photo of Sierra!

    Thanks for sharing!


  9. Shiva Wolfe says:

    She’s SO lovely! Thank you for the update on the test.

    I have a go-everywhere lab x companion, and a half-crazy half-wolf, so I hear ya about the differences. Night and day. The wolfdogs are so often uncomfortable in their own skins (to varying degrees), and it makes me so sad for them. I’m glad that you found Sierra!

  10. Joanaroo says:

    Sierra is a beautiful dog! Sounds like she’s found a great home with lots of love! Love your blog! Joan

  11. Lori says:

    Awesome DNA results……..I would have guessed that Sierra is mostly Alaskan Malamute with some Siberian Husky in her. I would not have guessed the Keeshond which is mostlikely where her coloring comes from. She is absolutely gorgeous, Nicole! Stunning! Congratulations!!!!(<:

  12. Lori says:

    I took my White Shepherd to herd sheep and she ROCKED! At first she was like, “what do I do?” then her instinct kicked and then she was all about it. Loved it! We’re so proud of her! She and I had a blast learning and can’t wait to do it again. (<:

%d bloggers like this: