If you own a mixed breed dog and have ever been curious about what breeds he may be, then you definitely have to try out a DNA test!
We’ve always wondered what Boomer has in him because we know he’s a mix of some sort. It’s fun to guess and google random mixes to see if any look similar to him, but we got to a point where we were just dying to know the truth. This was like a fun little science experiment for us! I had a knot in my stomach when I got the email with his results, because I was that excited. Below I share more info about the test, how to make sure you get a good DNA sample, and Boomer’s exciting results!
This is not an ad, I just wanted to share my experience and the specific test I chose based off the research I did beforehand.
Boomer's History Based off of what i knew
When I got Boomer, he came from a farm where the breeder (I use this word loosely, this was an accidental pregnancy) only owned the mother of the litter. He had no idea who the father was, except he assumed it was one of the neighbor's many Australian Cattle Dogs that roamed the area. So, I was told Boomer was half Labrador Retriever and half Australian Cattle Dog. I noticed the other puppies in the litter had big black and white spots (similar to a Dalmatian) which I found bizarre and not fitting to these two breeds. Plus, Boomer has a longer coat than a Labrador or Cattle Dog, along with a bushier tail than these breeds usually have. So, I always thought the farmer guessed incorrectly - and that the Cattle dog was perhaps an Australian Shepherd instead. Which would then explain the longer coat and bushy tail!
We were both wrong! And you’ll see why later!
THe DNA Test We Chose
I did some research online and the best test I found was the Wisdom Panel by Mars. It seemed like the most accurate and well known at-home test on the market. We ordered it off Amazon for about $80. All you have to do is use two swabs to collect saliva samples from your dog and send them back for the DNA testing. Again, this is not an ad at all. Here is the link to the test on Amazon and their website if you'd like to try it out for yourself.
how to take the test (correctly)
A good chunk of the reviews on Amazon complained about inaccurate results. I called the company to ask about this and the rep I spoke with was very helpful. She explained that results coming from multiple pet households can easily produce incorrect DNA results. To make sure your sample is isolated to the pet you are specifically testing for, you have to take a few precautions to make sure the saliva in their mouth doesn’t get contaminated by any other pets.
I took away both of the water bowls in our house at around 9 pm the evening before collecting Boomer’s saliva. I also put away all of their toys and chews, and they got no treats or kibble for the rest of the night. The following morning I took the sample as soon as I woke up. This way, Boomer’s mouth was clear of any food or debris, and he had not been swapping spit with Ruger (to put it simply).
If you allow your pets to share anything that goes into their mouth, you will contaminate the sample and pick up the breeds from those other pets and therefore get inaccurate results. You want the best sample possible, so take your time swabbing. One big tip is to make sure you let the sample dry completely, minimum 10-20 minutes. Boomer drools a lot so I got a very wet (and good) sample, which I had to let dry for almost 2 hours before I could put them back in the package.
AND THE RESULTS ARE IN!
I was so excited to see if the test was legitimate and what it had to say about Boomer…
He is 37.5% Labrador Retriever, 25% Australian Cattle Dog, 12.5% American Bulldog (I'll explain this result later), 12.5% Border Collie, and 12.5% Golden Retriever.
I couldn't believe the results! Especially the American Bulldog (think Chance from 'Homeward Bound'). American Bulldogs almost look like a (regular) Bulldog with a Pitbull’s body, and I felt confused by this result because he literally looks nothing like one. I imagine his coat would be much shorter if he were American Bulldog combined with the coat of the Australian Cattle Dog. But, once I went through the explanation of each breed from the test results, it mentioned that the American Bulldog gene was the only one that wasn't very prominent in his DNA. So it is much higher up in the lineage and basically has almost been bred out of him, which makes much more sense when considering his looks!
His mother was a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. I saw her myself, and just assumed she was a purebred yellow Lab. I googled mixes that are 3/4 Lab and 1/4 Goldens - and they basically look like a yellow or red Labrador, so I can see why the owner assumed she was purebred. Again, he was a farmer (not a breeder) and did not own registered dogs, so it’s easy to see why he didn’t have full knowledge of her breed lineage. Then I googled what the father probably looked like... He was part Australian Cattle Dog and part Border Collie (with that tiny bit of American Bulldog). And, this mix usually looks like a Cattle Dog with a slightly longer coat! This all makes sense why the owner assumed the puppies were half Lab/Cattle dog at a glance, when in reality their mixes were much more diverse! Without this test, we would have never known any of this. This has cleared up so much for us!
Here is a pie chart of Boomer’s official results:
Now that we’ve done this for Boomer we’d like to try it on Ruger next! We think Ruger is Border Collie/Lab because we’ve seen dogs that are this exact mix, and they look exactly like him. Only time, or a DNA test, will tell! If you try out a DNA test, let me know your results!