We Tried It: What I Learned About My Rescue Puppy Through a Dog DNA Screening

Benjamin VanHoose
·4 min read

Benjamin VanHoose

What It Is: Wisdom Panel Premium, a comprehensive dog DNA test developed by geneticists and used by veterinarians and pet owners looking to know more about their pups' backgrounds. The mail-in kit, which requires saliva swabs from the pooch, screens for genetic conditions related to drug sensitivities, vision, weight, mobility and more through more than 200 health tests.

The exam also tests for over 350 breeds, types and varieties, identifying breed mixes down to the 1 percentile. It also traces together your dog’s ancestry, building a family tree back to their great-grandparents.

"One of the newest and most beneficial features of our Wisdom Panel Premium test is the veterinarian follow-up call. If your dog’s DNA results come back with a health condition, you can schedule a 15-minute call with one of our licensed veterinarians to discuss what you need to know and what you need to share with your dog’s veterinarian to inform their care"” Dr. Katie Lytle, veterinary channel manager at Wisdom Health, said in a statement.

The premium option retails for $159.99, with a Wisdom Panel Essential option going for $99.99.

Who Tried It: Benjamin VanHoose, PEOPLE digital news writer

Level of Difficulty: 2. Besides wrangling your pup for the quick extraction swabbing, the entire process is streamlined to be user friendly and hassle-free.

RELATED: Majority of Pet Owners Admit to Canceling Plans to Hang with Dog Instead, Survey Finds

How It Works: After receiving the small kit in the mail, I followed the simple steps to extract DNA from our dog. Basically we swabbed the inside of her cheeks for saliva, to make it less scientific.

My roommates McKenzie Jean-Philippe and Israel Galarza III adopted a puppy in August, whom they named Humble, adding the four-legged, impressively smart pet into the mix at our apartment, which also includes roomie Claudia Atkinson.

Via the Hearts & Bones Rescue, we knew Humble was an Australian cattle dog mix — the energy and occasional stubbornness proved it — who was born in Texas back in May with seven brothers and sisters. First-time dog parents McKenzie and Israel were looking forward to the DNA results to not only know what breeds make up the adorably unique Humble, but also about any predisposed health conditions.

But first, the swabbing.

Benjamin VanHoose

Benjamin VanHoose

The process took minutes, rolling the two provided swabs between Humbles gums and cheeks. Getting her to remain still was perhaps the most challenging; she assumed we were trying out a new game with her.

She did try to gnaw on the sample swabs, which were perhaps not as durable as could be for our destructible-chewer, but the process was fast enough that we were able to get the job done. After letting them dry, I placed the swabs in the provided sleeve, then back inside the ready-to-mail kit.

After mailing the samples, I was notified via email when it arrived, when Humble's DNA was successfully extracted, and finally when the results were ready to view. The results were posted just under two weeks from when Wisdom Panel said they received our kit.

RELATED: We Tried It — A Virtually Directed Newborn Photo Shoot

Benjamin VanHoose

The Results: As anticipated, we learned Humble is mostly Australian cattle dog, with that breed making up 37 percent of her DNA. Next highest was Siberian husky at 15 percent and Cane Corso at 14 percent, surprises to all of us. The test detected a total of 13 breeds present in Humble's makeup, down to 1-percent types likes Welsh terrier and Tibetan mastiff.

We also discovered valuable insight into the traits Humble possesses and what size she might grow to be (hopefully not on the higher end of the projected weight range, but that's just me...).

In the health department, Humble was cleared in 209 screenings, with one flag under "notable" findings: primary lens luxation, a condition that can cause the lens of the eye to become loose and eventually displace. Since there was a concern raised by the testing, Wisdom Panel Premium offered a consultation with their vet experts for further insight.

While the doggy DNA exam might seem frivolous to some, it proved beneficial to McKenzie and Israel, who said they feel they can have peace of mind about Humble's health. Additionally, the pair say they can take the knowledge they learned from the test to implement apt training methods, now that they know the breeds that make Humble the lovable, rambunctious puppy she is.