Sep 26 2017

Considering Breed DNA Testing? Read Millie’s Story!

When Millie was adopted in January 2017 from BARCS, the first two years of her life were a mystery. Where did she come from? How did she end up on the street? What about her parents?

As many owners of mixed breeds wonder, Millie’s new mom, Suzanne, was curious to know more about Millie’s past. Since many health conditions are genetic, Suzanne wanted to know if she should expect any medical problems in the future, as well as understand the behaviors exhibited based on breed. If you’ve ever heard of Newfoundland dogs jumping into bath tubs to “rescue” children, or Border Collies that attempt to herd other pets or even toddlers in the household, you already know that some behaviors are hardwired.

Home breed DNA tests arose out of a longitudinal study on canine genomics. The dominant test in the field is called a Wisdom Panel, and this is the brand test that Millie’s mom chose.

The test can be purchased online or at various pet retailers. To submit the test, the owner swabs the inside of the dog’s mouth with two specimen collection swabs included, lets them dry and mails them off. Results are available in about three weeks.

Millie was listed as a Chow Chow/Golden Retriever mix at the shelter. Suzanne was expecting to see these two breeds in Millie’s profile, along with another breed that would account for her shorter hair. Shockingly, Millie doesn’t have any Golden in her at all! Below is the chart that shows Millie’s ancestry.

IMG_0724Along with the family tree, the report includes details about each breed seen, including physical and behavioral traits and what that breed was originally intended to do.

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Since Millie’s results show she is at least 50% breeds that are used for guarding, Suzanne has noticed some of these behaviors when Millie is at home. It is helpful to know that these tendencies are dictated by genetics, and Suzanne can adjust Millie’s training as needed with this information in mind.

It is important to note that breed DNA can be used for health purposes or even to just satisfy your curiosity, but cannot be used in legal matters.

Whatever her past history, judging by her Instagram account, @millie_the_shelter_dog, Millie is enjoying her new home and her new life!

photo credits: Suzanne Boone

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