The Results are In!

March 30, 2010

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!


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