But have you ever considered DNA testing your dog?
Wisdom Panel 3.0 Dog DNA Test Kit ($79.99; amazon.com)
Wisdom Panel is billed as the world's leading canine DNA test. With thousands of near perfect reviews on Amazon, it's no surprise this kit is growing in popularity.
How do you use it?
If you've ever taken a DNA test yourself, you'll find the whole process pretty similar. Use one of the provided swabs to collect skin cells from the inside of your pup's cheek, activate the kit online, and mail in your sample. To ensure accuracy, be sure your dog does not eat anything or share a water dish with other dogs an hour before you do the test.
Once the lab receives your sample, DNA is extracted and examined. The results are then sent to a computer, where a complex algorithm evaluates all of the possible family trees in the last three generations of your furry friend. From there, the algorithm taps into an expansive breed database in order to determine which breeds are the top match.
What kind of results can you expect?
Approximately two to three weeks after submitting your sample, you'll receive the results online. A breed percentage chart will display the breeds and/or breed groups found in your dog's family tree. Each breed or breed group comes with a description of traits, both physical and behavioral, that will help you work with your vet to create the ideal nutrition, training, and health care plan for your dog. The test even screens pets for multidrug sensitivity, which can protect them from severe adverse reactions to common drugs administered by veterinarians.
Is it accurate?
Wisdom Panel prides itself on being as accurate as possible for a cheek swab DNA test. The company says in order to provide the highest level of accuracy, it focuses on three factors:
• Genetic markers are places of variation along DNA and can help determine what makes each breed unique. Wisdom Panel has carefully tested over 19 million genetic markers and genotyped over 13,000 dogs, finally settling on the use of 1,800 genetic markers for testing.
• An extensive database is used to compare your dog's DNA to that of other dogs. A large amount of data equals more accurate results, and Wisdom Panel 3.0 covers over 250 breeds -- the most of any canine DNA test on the market, according to the company.
• All Wisdom Panel tests are run in a USDA-accredited laboratory and are repeatedly reviewed by third-party canine specialists.
Note: The price above reflects the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.