“ Manufacturer: Wisdom Panel Insights / Type: Dog Collars, Leads & ID „
Nearly two years ago now I finally got settled into my new home and decided it was time to give a dog a home too. I really wanted a Greyhound, I'd always been deeply fond of them and, after doing plenty of research, decided this would be the right breed for me. So I went to a few shelters to try and find myself a retired Greyhound needing a new forever home. There were, of course, plenty of retired Greyhounds needing a new forever home. The problem was that I had three cats and retired racers and cats, as a general rule, don't go well together. I waited and kept looking but couldn't find a single Greyhound suitable for my home. Whilst I desperately wanted one I obviously wasn't going to but myself, the dog or my beloved cats at risk so I went searching for any breed of rescue dog which would be suitable for my lifestyle and current pets. I still couldn't find one that the employees at the rescue shelters were happy to let live with cats.
After months of searching and finding nothing I looked into puppies. A puppy could be brought up with my cats and learn to live peacefully with them. My cats had lived with dogs previously so I was fairly confident it wouldn't be an issue with them either. I hadn't entirely made my mind up if I was going to get a puppy, they are rather a lot of work and I felt a little guilty about buying cute little puppies which would more than likely get snapped up quickly anyway when there were countless amounts of dogs living in shelter's who probably wouldn't have as much luck in finding a home. But I supposed looking didn't hurt - so I looked.
I never thought I'd find a Greyhound puppy. My understanding was that these are kept in very close knit circles in the racing world and, even if I could find a litter, they would probably be well out of price range. So when I did find a litter of Greyhounds of a general pets for sale type website, at an affordable price and only a few miles away from where I lived I was taken by quite a bit of surprise and decided to go to this house and investigate.
Sure enough I was shown a litter of nine, what appeared to be, Greyhound puppies. I saw their parents, both Greyhound's and took note that the puppy's markings matched those of the adult dogs I was told were the parents. I had gone with suspicions but ended up feeling quite confident that these were in fact Greyhound puppies, everything pointed in that direction and I had no reason to believe I was being lied to. So I ended up bring home an adorable eight week old, very tiny, very cute, floppy eared, big eyed, blue Greyhound puppy. He became Oscar and I loved him.
Everything was fine until around his first birthday when I was convinced he should be bigger than he was. I was informed by the vet when I took him to be neutered that he wouldn't be fully grown until around eighteen months and he'd probably end up growing in that time. When he was eighteen months, however, he was only slightly bigger and still about third smaller than your average Greyhound. I was convinced he must be crossed with another breed and I really wanted to know which one. Definitely another sight hound, you only had to look at him to see that. Everything about him screamed Greyhound apart from his size and people still do think he's just a young Greyhound who hasn't grown to full size yet. I came to the conclusion that he was probably crossed with a whippet. Whippets and Greyhounds tend to look pretty much the same apart from their size, Oscar was bigger than a Whippet but smaller than a Greyhound, it seemed like a pretty logical answer and I thought that would be the end of that.
It wasn't though. It didn't really matter what breed he was. I grew to love him and his personality, not his breed. It wasn't as though I was going to get rid of him because he wasn't the breed I thought he was, I'd never dream of it! But curiosity got the better of me and I just wanted to know for definite just to finally answer my questions. I started looking into Dog DNA tests.
My first stop on the search for a test was my vets. They were happy to do it at an extortionate price which I just couldn't justify spending so I swiftly continued my search elsewhere. I found many tests which were done via the internet and post but, when a company you've never heard of is asking you to send them money in exchange for a service nobody else on the internet has reviewed, it's difficult to trust them and alarm bells start to ring suggesting you probably shouldn't give them your money. So I didn't.
Eventually I came across the Wisdom Panel Insights Dog DNA Test. There was one reason I trusted this one above the others and that was because it was sold on the Pets at Home website. Pets at Home being a much loved and thoroughly trusted company amongst pet owners led me to believe nothing dodgy would come of this test. It would, after all, reflect badly on Pets at Home and I couldn't see them taking that very lightly.
The DNA kit cost £39.49 which I felt was a perfectly acceptable price to pay to finally satisfy my curiosity. It can also be purchased from Wisdom Panel themselves via Amazon for the same price. The initial price is the only price you'll have to pay so don't worry about finding any little hidden extra charges along the way as there are none.
The DNA test is completed easily, you purchase the test and wait for it arrive, swab the inside of your dog's mouth, send the swabs back to Mars Veterinary Group in a provided pre-paid envelope and patently wait up to three weeks to get your dog's results emailed to you. My experience with the test was very positive, the worst thing about it was waiting for the results when I was so keen to receive them!
The test arrives in a blue and green cardboard box with plenty of information dotted all over it along with a picture of a woman enjoying a hug off her beloved dog in a rather overgrown field. Inside the box you'll find two swabs, an easy to follow instruction guide, a quick form to fill in and the pre-paid envelope to send your swabs back in.
The swabs look like miniature baby bottle cleaners, they're long, thin white sticks with a white bristle head. The instructions made it very clear not to let the bristles come into contact with human skin (this would contaminate the sample with human DNA) so I wasn't able to feel them to see how soft or rough they were although when rubbing these inside Oscar's cheeks they certainly felt like they were rather soft to me and didn't appear to be causing Oscar any discomfort.
You should not let your dog eat for two hours prior to taking the swabs as this would again contaminate the sample although drinking water is perfectly fine. After two hours without any food I took a swab and gently rotated it inside Oscar's left cheek for the recommended thirty seconds. I then took the other swab and did the same in his right cheek. Fortunately for me Oscar didn't mind me doing this at all and it was all over and done with very quickly. Some dogs, however, might make this task a little more difficult. I'm fairly certain that if I tried to do this with Lenny, my Labrador, he'd more than likely just chew the swab up.
The swabs each come in a little thin plastic container which has a paper back, this is slightly ripped open to get the swab out and once the sample is collected the swab should be put back into this casing. The plastic sheet asks for your dog's name and your e-mail address so be sure to write this on the back of each swab container.
There's then a quick form to fill out. This just asks for your and your dog's name, your e-mail address and your dog's age (or an estimate if you're not entirely sure). It asks nothing about what you already know about your dog's breed which reassured me this would probably be a 'proper' DNA test, not just someone sat in a room somewhere repeating what you wrote on that paper in a more professional way! Once you've taken both swabs and written the required information on the back of them and filled in the form you just need to pop them in the provided envelope and put in any post box.
After a few days I received an e-mail from Mars Veterinary confirming they had received my samples and that I should expect to receive my results within the next three weeks. You'll also be given a 'sample ID'. You can use this Sample ID, along with your surname, to log into the Wisdom Panel website and receive the up to date status of your test. I really liked this feature as it reassured me that my sample had not just been forgotten about and was being looked into. When my test results were very near completion (two weeks later) I received another e-mail saying they would be with me shortly and, sure enough, five days later I had them!
The test results come back in the form of a link contained within an e-mail. This link forwards you to the Wisdom Panel website where you again need to log in using your Surname and Sample ID. You'll then be instructed to download a PDF file containing your results and much, much more.
I'm not sure what I was expecting in terms of results but it was nowhere as much as I got. Not only did a find out what breed of dog Oscar's Mother and Father were but I also found out what breed of dog all eight of Oscar's Grand-parents were! All in the form of a rather cute illustrated doggy family tree. I thought this was just lovely.
I then got a certificate to proudly display about my home if I so wished confirming Oscar has undergone the DNA test and what his results were. Of course, this certificate has no real meaning to anything 'professional' in the dog world and is just a bit of a novelty really. I'm sure kids would love it but I didn't bother to print it out personality as I didn't see much point.
Finally I got a fact sheet about each breed found in Oscar's DNA. It described their average size, weight and features for me to compare to Oscar and even gave descriptions of their typical behaviours and mannerisms again, for me to compare with Oscar's.
As it happened I did just spend £40 to compare what I already knew. Oscar's Mother was a Greyhound, as where her parents and his Father a Whippet, as were his parents. There were no other breeds found in his DNA. This did make my results somewhat a little bit boring as both breeds are virtually the same in every way other than size! If you have a mongrel however, perhaps a rescue dog that no one's really sure about, I think this test would be really interesting to find out about your dog's ancestry.
Not only interesting but quite beneficial to looking after your dog too! The test will tell your dog's 'significant', 'intermediate' and 'minor' breed information (if all three are relevant anyway). Your dog's 'significant' breed is one that matches at least 50% of their DNA. Their 'intermediate' breed matches at least 25% of their DNA and their 'minor' breed matches at least 12.5% of their DNA. When knowing your dog's 'significant' breed you can start to understand their behaviour more. It's likely they'll have a significant number of physical and behavioural matches to this breed and this can make it much easier to tailor your dog's nutrition, exercise and training plans. You'll start to understand why your dog behaves in certain ways and, as Wisdom Panel state, 'once you understand your dog's natural tendencies, you understand your dog'. Of course it's also a massive curiosity satisfier.
I personally found the test to be really easy and provided me with, what I believe, to be accurate results. For me the test was simply to answer my questions about my dog's mysterious size but for other's this could be so helpful in taking care of your mixed breed dog. Windom Panel kept in contact with me the entire time whilst my test results were being processed and kept me up to date with each stage. Not only do they provide you with results set out in an easy to understand format but they also provide you with comprehensive information about your results and even give you good starting points for continuing your own research if you like.
If you're interested in finding out your dog's breed history for whatever reason, I fully recommend this test. It was a pleasure to use with very impressive results which were sent to me within the time frame I was given and, if I ever require another dog DNA test, I shall definitely be going back to the Wisdom Panel Insights Dog DNA Test.