What breed is my dog? How to know for sure.

Have you ever looked at your dog and wondered what breed he/she really is? Or thought about what other breeds make up your canine family member? I mean other than the breed(s) you are positive they are.

What breed is my dog? How to know for sure.

A dog’s breed can determine many things including appearance, common health concerns, training preference, energy levels and even their height and weight. I’m talking to all of you lucky ducks out there who were promised their new puppy would grow up to be about 25 lbs and knee high only to find out they are currently passing 60lbs and you can almost ride them to work.

Wisdom Panel 4.0 Canine DNA Test is a dog DNA testing service that will match your dog’s DNA to more than 250 breeds, types and varieties including all those recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Here’s the quick run down of what it is:

  • Cost is $84.99US (includes postage to get your sample to the Wisdom Panel labs for testing)
  • Ancestry back to the great-grandparent level
  • Mixed breed information (if applicable): When a portion of the dog’s ancestry is predicted to be mixed beyond the three generations they test for. If they are unable to identify strong individual breed signals in the mixed portion, they list the genetic breed groups with the strongest statistical likelihood. 
  • A predicted weight profile
  • Information about the physical traits your dog may exhibit
  • Testing for the MDR1 genetic mutation: dogs with the MDR1-mutation may have severe adverse reactions to some common drugs, so it is important to test your dog and share your results with your veterinarian so they can provide your dog with for the best possible care
  • Testing for Exercise-induced Collapse (EIC): Exercise-induced collapse (EIC) is an inherited disorder of nerve and muscle that was first identified in Labrador Retrievers. Severity of the disorder is mild to moderate for the majority of dogs. Dogs are not painful during collapse or after recovery. Affected dogs are generally unable to continue training or competition, but can live relatively normal lives if exercise and excitement are limited.
  • Provides you with information to plan for your dog’s unique nutrition, training and even healthcare.
  • Can be run for mixed-breed, designer, or purebred dogs. The procedure is the same for all three, but you decide at the time of activation how you would like them to run it. For purebred and designer dogs, the test provides a Principle Component Analysis chart comparing your dog with others of that same breed(s) in their database and for purebred tests specifically, an additional Homozygosity Profile.

Our short story

We got our dog, Hendrix through an agency that rescues healthy dogs from areas in Mexico where they most likely wouldn’t survive if left on the streets. Since he was found, and not raised, his breed was listed as mix. We set up a time to get to know him to see if he was a fit and we had three main criteria that we needed to reach in order to know that we would be able to give him a home. He needed to be great with kids, he needed to be good with cats and my husband needed to be able to keep his allergies in check with him around.

He is such a good fit for our family, and is so loving and gentle with our girls and cat while still being protective of us and our home where strangers are concerned. My husband jokes that Hendrix’s breed is 100% pure Mexican street dog.

Now we’re curious. What is his real history? Is there anything we should know about his breed and future health concerns. Are we choosing the most effective training methods based on his breed’s personality? How can he smell a piece of food from all the way across the house (and on a different floor)?

Here are a few photos of our dog Hendrix. He is now almost three years old.

what breed is my dog

So we signed up and paid for a kit. It arrived in the mail in about a week and the instructions were easy to follow. The kit came with:

  • Instructions
  • DNA cheek swabs – all for use on one dog
  • Drying insert for swabs
  • Pre-paid shipping label and box

In a nutshell (but still read and follow the directions), you create an account / pet profile and register the sample online by typing in a unique code found on the sample. Then you swab the inside of your dog’s mouth along the cheek for about 15 seconds, let it sit for a bit, then package it up and send it back in the postage paid envelope.

Your results will be posted on your account within two to three weeks of receipt at the lab. And I have to tell you, it’s like Christmas morning when you get that email notification saying that your results are ready to view.

I admit that prior to having the test done, I was fairly confident that two of the breeds would be a haired Xoloitzcuintli (Google it!) and a Ridgeback. It turns out Hendrix is neither of these.

Want to know what he is???

Hendrix is 37.5% Boxer, 12.5% Doberman Pinscher, 12.5% German Sheppard, and 37.5% mixed breeds (that fall into the companion, guard, herding, hound and sporting categories).

I’ll share some screenshots of our results below so you can see how detailed the reports are. They even determined that our dog has a black nose and eye rims, that he had short, straight hair, a long tail and that he has floppy ears that have some stiffness to them so they can stand up.

A quick summary shows the results of our dog’s cheek swab.

what breed is my dog ancestry tree wisdom panel

The ancestry tree shows all of the way up to the great-grandparent level. One of Hendrix’s grandparents was a pure breed boxer. That explains some stuff.

what breed is my dog boxer info

For each breed that your dog is (with certainty), a page describing the breed is listed in your profile.

what breed is my dog mixed breed info

When trace mixed breeds are detected, the group will be listed. From this you can get an idea of some of their personality traits. In our dog’s case, the herding group makes a lot of sense as we sometimes catch him trying to herd our cat, which usually doesn’t end well for him. #CatsGonnaGoWhereACatWantsToGo

In addition to the online results, you also have a downloadable PDF file with everything you need to know. Download a copy for yourself, and one for your pet’s vet.

Since all dogs are different, and even dogs that look similar can have different breeds, I urge anyone who is curious to order this test so you can know for sure. To find out more or to order your own kit, go to wisdompanel.com.

PS – as of writing this, there is currently a coupon code on the site so you won’t want to wait.

Sheri Landry
Sheri publishes, and writes at This Bird’s Day where she shares all of the thoughts in her head without the voices. Sticking mainly with content for Canadians, Sheri shares family stories, product information and anything that fits into her (and her family’s) daily activities.
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