I got Phoebe a Wisdom Panel DNA test – and the results are in…

April 24 marks Phoebe’s seventh birthday, and I wanted to do something extra special to celebrate it. We’re already really lucky that as a rescue dog, we know her birthday as it was on her microchip, meaning she gets to celebrate twice a year like the Queen, with a Gotcha Day in September.

When we first got Phoebe, we thought she was crossed with a whippet or a greyhound because she was so skinny – which was discounted after about six months when she’d filled out and come out of her shell. But over the years we’ve often looked at her and said ‘she looks like a X from this angle’ or ‘I bet she’s got Y in her somewhere’.

So, we decided to find out once and for all with a Wisdom Panel DNA Test.

As Phoebe was rescued around the age of two, we never got to see her as a puppy like we did with Frank – and like with most rescues, nor did we get to see what her parents looked like. This has never bothered us as owners previously, not when we had Lyla or when we first got Phoebe. But rescuing Frank and knowing his story and his history really made quite a difference to my outlook on DNA testing, and it was a mix of intrigue, curiosity and a desire to better understand Phoebe’s traits, needs and genetics that made me want to do this for her.

Last month I ordered a Wisdom Panel DNA test for £89.99 and it arrived within days. It was surprisingly simple to set up, activating it online and following the instructions. We had to wait around two hours after food or treats before swabbing, rubbing each swab on each of the inside of Phoebe’s cheeks for 15 seconds. She protested a little, but was pretty happy for us to do this (and she got lots of treats after). The swabs then needed to air dry before being placed back in the packet and into a pre-paid envelope ready to be put straight in our nearest post box.

It’s difficult to gauge if you’ve collected enough DNA, but Wisdom Panel assure customers that if you follow the instructions, you’ll have captured plenty of genetic material.

Once I sent off Phoebe’s sample, Wisdom Panel kept me updated on the website and via email as to what stage of the process they were at, such as when it arrived and when it was being analysed. Wisdom Panel use the genetic sample to determine a number of things about your pet, using information from the world’s largest breed database, screening from more than 350 different breeds – which is more than the number of breeds recognised by The Kennel Club.

Wisdom Panel’s results are said to be more than 98% accurate, reporting your pup’s breed mix down to 1%. Not only that, but they test for nearly 30 genetic conditions and medical complications to identify risks before your dog has medication or surgical procedures. And they consider over 35 trait tests. They gan even use the DNA to tell you specialist information about coat type, eye colors and ideal weight range, or if they have specialist genes specific to particular breeds. This means the test results can reveal the genetic factors that give your dog their distinguishing qualities and one-of-a-kind characteristics. Essentially, Wisdom Panel would be able to tell us what makes Phoebe, Phoebe.

It can take two to three weeks for results to land in your inbox – but it took ours just 10 days and the results made me really quite emotional.

We discovered that Phoebe is a whopping 67% Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which is more than we thought. She is a mix of just four breeds, and while we always considered her a Staffy cross, we had assumed she was mixed with more than three other breeds. Wisdom Panel also shared an example of what her family tree could have looked like to have more those four breeds in her DNA.

Wisdom Panel describe Staffies as ‘a loving, affectionate breed’ that’s protective of their family and love to be active. They added: “Staffordshire Bull Terriers have playful, curious natures and love spending time with their people, and are usually very friendly toward children and strangers.”

This all sounded much like Phoebe, but the next line really hit the nail on the head, describing them as ‘smart, stubborn and quiet’, which has Phoebe down to a tee. They added: “Don’t be fooled by their tough exterior. These pups are gentle, docile, and sweet-natured.”

Wisdom Panel offered information like this for all of the breeds Phoebe is mixed with, but Staffordshire Bull Terrier traits match her personality through and through. “Staffordshire Bull Terriers love being around people and want plenty of time to play. With enough exercise and mental stimulation, these dogs make well-behaved, loyal companions,” the DNA testers added.

They also mention that “Some Staffordshire Bull Terriers can be reactive toward dogs they don’t know. Keep this in mind if yours is ever in a situation with unleashed dogs.” Which is true for Phoebe, but something we’ve been working on for five years and have fairly under control now.

As well as personality trails, Wisdom Panel also makes suggestions for your dogs diets, grooming routines, exercise and training to help you provide better care for your dog, now you know everything there is to know about them.

The other breeds Phoebe is mixed with all come under the ‘guard’ category – which may explain why she feels the need to bark at every bird that lands in the garden or delivery driver that knocks on the door. I was quite surprised that for her fairly short stature, she’s mixed with some rather large breeds.

Wisdom Panel revealed that Phoebe is 25% AmStaff, 6% American Bulldog – like Frank’s dad, Winston – and 2% Boxer! And looking at their average age spans, which range from eight to 16, it gave us confidence that we’ve still gota good few years left with our girl! She also came back clear for all 29 genetic health predispositions including drug sensitivity, immune deficiency and bleeding disorders, which was a huge relief.

The database found three specialist coat colour genes in Phoebe’s DNA, one of which gives her her brindle colour, as well as a coat pattern gene responsible for her piebald belly. The data also showed her to be a low shedder with short straight fur, a short snout and likely to have brown eyes – which she does.

It also offers an ‘ideal weight’ recommendation, and for Phoebe that’s somewhere between 16kg to 27kg. She’s definitely at the lower end of that scale around 20kg, but it’s perfect for her height.

Lastly, the results revealed that there were 22 of Phoebe’s relatives that were also in the Wisdom Panel database! While they found no close relatives, there was one extended relative called Luna, and a further 21 distant relatives. It was a relief to see that some of these dogs were around 14-15 years old, adding to the confidence of Phoebe’s potential life span.

I was really surprised at the results of Phoebe’s Wisdom Panel DNA test, but it’s been amazing to read about the breeds she’s crossed with, their personality traits and needs. It’s given me some peace of mind that her medical tests have come back clear, and it’s certainly very cool to see exactly where things like her brindle colouring comes from. I know more about Phoebe now than I could ever imagine, and will be able to tailor her care to best meet her needs going forward.

You can get £20 off a Wisdom Panel DNA test using my referral link, to learn more about your dog’s genetics and history. We loved the experience so much, I’m seriously considering DNA testing Frank to see what results his genetics throw up.