Wisdom Panel Dog DNA test kit review


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Erin Lawrence

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If you’ve ever looked at your dog and wished they could tell you all about their background and family history, now they can—kinda. Much like you can get a kit to find out your family history through DNA testing (23 and Me, anyone?), you can do the same for your dog. Wisdom Panel performs DNA tests that can help you learn more about your dog.

A Wisdom Panel Dog DNA test can identify your dog’s breed, pinpoint potential genetic anomalies that could cause health problems, as well as help you learn more about your dog’s proclivities and breed traits that affect behaviour. Wisdom Panel gave me the opportunity to do a DNA test on my dog and a friend’s dog so I could see what the experience is like and what I could learn about my dog, Rainie, a mixed breed rescue that came to us from Mexico.

Doing the Wisdom Panel Dog DNA test: review

Wisdom Panel offers two tests, the ‘basic Canine Breed Detection test ($84US)and the more in-depth Wisdom Panel Health Canine Breed + Disease Detection for $149US. I received the Canine Breed + Disease Detection version.

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Once your Wisdom Panel kit arrives in the mail, performing the test is simple and takes just seconds. Inside the box (which you need to save to ship the samples back!) are two swabs in a sealed plastic wrap (save that too!). The swabs look similar to mascara wands on long handles. You’ll roll each one around your dog’s mouth for about 15 seconds, then pop it back into the cardboard box to dry for a few minutes. Then you’ll slip them back into the wrapper.

Next up, you need to activate your kit online so Wisdom Panel knows where to send the results. You’ll create an account and the site will give you a special number or Activation Code which gets written on the swab wrapper and on the box. With that done, you’ll seal up the box, which is pre-addressed to Wisdom Panel and is postage paid, even in Canada, and send it off.

Results take several weeks, but Wisdom Panel keeps you up to date both online and via e-mail about the status of your dog’s test. After about 3 weeks, an e-mail landed in my inbox declaring the results were in!

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Meet Rainie!

Getting Wisdom Panel dog DNA results

The Wisdom Panel results come in an easy to read colourful and personalized report. You can view a very detailed report online, or print an abridged version. You get:

  • Breed percentage breakdown, plus detailed info about each breed, its characteristics and tendencies. This can help you understand why your dog never tires, it more lackadaisical, or always on high alert for intruders.
  • Family Tree
  • Health Markers
  • Ideal Weight
  • Traits

You’ll see a pie chart which breaks down you dog’s breed percentage. Rainie, our rescue pup, was billed to us as a lab cross, but she clearly has some doberman features, so our best guess was she was a lab doberman mix.

wisdom panel dog dna, review, report, breakdown, what does it showWisdom Panel’s test shows Rainie’s breed percentage as:

12.5% Boxer
12.5% Staffordshire Terrier
12.5% Chihuahua
12.5% Cocker Spaniel
50% “Breed Groups; Herding, Sporting, Asian, Terrier”

Interpreting your Wisdom Panel dog DNA results

Looking at Rainie’s results and them looking at her, it might be easy to say, “no way”, since one might wonder where the lab and obvious doberman characteristics fit in. To help me interpret the results, I spoke with Wisdom Panel’s Angela Hughes, DVM PhD and one of the principals at Wisdom Panel.

What is “Breed Groups”?

wisdom panel dog dna, review, report, breakdown, what does it show

She explained that some customers are confused by the “Breed Groups” designation, but that this means your dog is likely so thoroughly mixed, so far back in their lineage, that it becomes harder and harder to pull specific breeds from the results. What you can see is where the strongest markers come to the forefront.

“We tested Rainie’s ancestry for specific pure breeds, going back three generations (or to the great-grandparents). Beyond this, today’s technology can only identify down to the genetic “group” level (sporting, toy, guard, etc.). We know the breeds found in these groups and that Rainie may share genetic similarities with many of them. We’ve arranged these in order, with the most likely starting at the top. The breeds displayed are examples of breeds in each specific group.” reads the online report.

In Rainie’s case, the Wisdom Panel DNA results showed that Rainie’s likely parents are a Staffordshire-Boxer (whose parents and grandparents are also mixed with other breeds), and a Chihuahua-Cocker Spaniel (also mixed with other breeds). Back another generation, it’s likely her grandparents were, on one side, a Staffie and a Boxer, and on the other side a Chihuahua and a Cocker Spaniel.

So where does that leave my little Dobie-cheeked puppy? Perhaps somewhere way back, one or more of her relatives was a Doberman, but that her DNA has become so mixed up, it’s now too distant to tell. Since Rainie’s eyes also have that lovely Chihuahua light ‘eyeliner’, it’s easy to see where the chihuahua could play into her breed.  And looking at her sometimes, I can definitely see those folded boxer ears too.

Why get a dog DNA test?

wisdom panel dog dna, review, report, breakdown, what does it show

So what else is a dog DNA test good for, aside from being able to dazzle your friends at the dog park? Wisdom Panel’s test can tell you if your dog carries any mutations for health issues.

My friend’s dog, which I also had tested, did test positive for a marker that shows he’ll be prone to hip problems later in life, and since he’s now a senior dog, we can already see this is happening. If he’d been tested earlier in life, (he is also a rescue) perhaps more care could have been taken with his diet, weight and exercise by his previous owners to stave off problems.

Doggie Traits: Is Wisdom Panel accurate?

One of the things I found very interesting was the Traits section.  Wisdom Panel can ‘see’ traits about your dog, based on their DNA. With Rainie, here’s what Wisdom Panel found, and here’s how it compares to her real life features:

Ear Carraige:

wisdom panel dog dna, review, report, breakdown, what does it showWisdom Panel DNA result:
“A lot of factors can decide the shape of a dog’s ear. But as far as we can tell, Rainie probably has ‘base erect’ ears. This means the base of the ear stands up, while the tip flops over.”

Truth: Rainie’s ears do exactly this!wisdom panel dog dna, review, report, breakdown, what does it show

BASE PIGMENT COLOR Genotype: bs/bs

Wisdom Panel DNA result:
“Although we’re sure Rainie is capable of many things, producing black pigment isn’t one of them. This means their coat will be chocolate rather than black. It also means their nose and the skin around their eyes will be pink or brown and their eyes light amber. Having no black pigment isn’t a bad thing though. It can give a dog a more endearing human-like face (making them hard to resist when they beg).”

Truth: Rainie hasn’t go any black anywhere on her and she definitely does have those human looking brown eyes. The skin around her eyes is definitely pink.


Wisdom Panel DNA result:
“Genotype: Rainie does not carry any copies of the gene for ‘furnishings’ (which would give them a fuzzy beard and eyebrows). This means they probably have smooth, short facial hair. Did you know you can often get ‘furnished’ and ‘unfurnished’ dogs within the same breed?”

Truth: Rainie has no beard and very short very smooth facial hair.


Wisdom Panel DNA result:
“Rainie’s coat is probably on the short side. The exact length of a dog’s coat is down to several factors so it can vary. Did you know some genes can even change how a short coat looks, including adding ‘feathering’, which results in longer hairs behind the ears, under the belly, and behind the legs?

Truth: Rainie has very short coat indeed.

COAT COLOR SUBTYPES Genotype: at/at m/m h/h S/sp

Wisdom Panel DNA result:
“Rainie carries one copy of the gene for white spotting so might have a fair bit of white in their coat. (Did you know white is not a color but a lack of pigment which acts to cover up a dog’s natural base color?)”

Truth: Rainie doesn’t have any noticeable white in her coat, but she’s only still a puppy.

COAT COLOR MAIN POSSIBILITIES Genotype: at/at Em/Em KB/ky,kbr/ky I/wt

Wisdom Panel DNA result:

“Rainie appears to be mostly dark in color (either black or brown). Either that or they’ll have ‘tiger’ striping (called ‘brindle’). They also have the gene for a ‘mask’ pattern on their face – as it’s for dark hair, you may not be able to see any tan coloring there, and a dark-colored ‘saddle’ pattern on their back. (Did you know the dominant ‘mask’ gene can result in any size of mask, from a little dark fur on the lip to covering the entire face?)”

Truth: Rainie is a brown colour, some would say red. She also has a clearly defined mask on her face that makes her look lik e a Doberman.

wisdom panel dog dna, review, report, breakdown, what does it show


Wisdom Panel DNA result:

“Rainie’s legs should be relatively long in length, based on this marker (though there can be other genes that affect leg length). Did you know different dogs can have different leg lengths even if they are the same breed?”

Truth: Rainie has very long legs; both for a doberman, or a lab !

What can you learn about your dog from a DNA test?

Wisdom Panel’s results will also provide you a great amount of detail about your dog’s heritage and what traits and charicteristics her ancestors may have passed down to her. Here’s a sample of just a portion of the info I got (I could post the whole report, but it’s LONG and very detailed):wisdom panel dog dna, review, report, breakdown, what does it show

Staffordshire: Intelligent, hard-working, and stoic dogs. Very loyal to family and usually good with children.
Boxer: Intelligent, hard working, and playful dogs, with a high amount of energy. Eager to learn and respond well to reward-based training using treats and favourite toys.
Chihuahua: Alert, active, and often playful dogs.
Cocker Spaniel: Intelligent, playful, happy, and usually friendly dogs, with some being very energetic.

Overall review of Wisdom Panel Dog DNA test kit

There’s definitely a lot of info in the wisdom Panel dog DNA report and overall I’m really glad to have done it.

wisdom panel dog dna, review, report, breakdown, what does it showThe report for my dog and my neighbour’s dog (Nanuk, above) were vastly different, so any conspiracy theorists who might think you get the same report no matter the dog can sleep easy.

I found the results jived really well with not just the visual traits I can see, but with Rainie’s characteristics; she can be wary of strangers and protective of me, she is eager and fast to learn and freakishly intelligent (she can open doors and door handles plus sliding doors!), very alert, active and quite playful.

The Wisdom Panel kit also recommends weight guidelines for her based on her makeup, and we’ve found that quite helpful, since when we got her she was very underweight and we weren’t sure how much to try to put on her.

I was glad to see this little Mexican mix has no major health concerns in her DNA so I hope that means she’ll live a long, healthy and active life.

I definitely recommend the Wisdom Panel experience. You can order right from the company’s website.

The ‘basic Canine Breed Detection test ($84US)and the more in-depth Wisdom Panel Health Canine Breed + Disease Detection for $149US.

wisdom panel dog dna, review, report, breakdown, what does it show

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