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Doggie DNA test reveals breeds of Lydia’s ancestors

by Therese on December 18, 2009

in Dogs, My pets

Lydia, my favorite mixed-breed dog!

Lydia, my favorite mixed-breed dog!

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd

I was in shock when I got Lydia’s results from her Wisdom Panel Insights by Mars Veterinary. I’ve always told people she was an Australian shepherd / border collie mix, but that’s not what the test showed.

According to the Wisdom Panel Insights DNA test, Lydia’s predominant breed is the Alaskan malamute, with the Old English sheepdog as the second breed.

I was in shock! No way could Lydia be an Alaskan malamute/Old English sheepdog mix. At a mere 40 pounds, she’s nowhere as big as either of those dogs, doesn’t look a thing like either, and has a personality more like a herding dog (in that sense, sheepdog makes at least a little sense.)

It made absolutely no sense, and I was sure the test was wrong!

Archie, my Border Collie

Archie, my Border Collie

Since I was in such shock over the results, Dr Angela Hughes, one of the veterinarians at Mars, agreed to talk with me to explain a bit more about the test, and Lydia’s results in particular.

Briefly, the way the test works is that they compare the DNA sample against over 300 genetic markers from more than 170 breeds of dogs. The more similar markers there are for a particular breed, the more likely that breed is an ancestor of the dog being tested. If you’re interested in the technical details about how the testing works, visit the Wisdom Panel Insights website for more information.

Here’s what I found out about Lydia’s results:

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute

The malamute is the most recent purebred dog in Lydia’s line. In other words, she had more genetic markers matching the malamute than any other dog. The malamute in Lydia’s family tree was probably a grandparent or great grandparent. The Old English Sheepdog may go back a bit farther. But (and here’s where I get to say I KNEW IT!), Lydia does have some Australian shepherd and border collie in her ancestry as well. The results I got didn’t mention this though because they’re not as strong as the malamute and sheepdog. But, even though she may not be as much Aussie or border collie, some of the genes from these two breeds are more dominant than those of the malamute or sheepdog. As far as her merle color is concerned, that could be from either the Aussie or the sheepdog.

Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog

The only bit of Lydia that I can see that might have come from an Alaskan malamute would be her tail. I’ve often wondered where it came from, and knowing she has some malamute in her background explains it. Other than that, she has more Aussie and border collie traits than of the other breeds in her ancestry.

In the end though, Lydia is Lydia! And, regardless of her ancestry, I couldn’t love her any more!

Thank you to everyone who played along and tried guessing what breeds went into my little mixed-breed dog. As promised, I have a Wisdom Panel Insight Dog DNA test for the person who guessed the right breed. Since nobody guessed the right predominant breed, the DNA test goes to Terry Haas, who guessed Siberian Husky Granted, it’s not a malamute, but it’s pretty close. (but honestly, Terry, do you really see husky or malamute in her?).

Lydia and her malamute tail

Lydia and her malamute tail

Thank you to Mars Veterinary for providing me with two Wisdom Panel Insights test – one to do Lydia’s DNA test and one to give away to one of our blog readers.

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