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This sounds like a scandal in the making. According to the reader reviews at Amazon, the results of the BioPet DNA Breed Identification kit are — let’s try and put this charitably — questionable.
Writes Leah Quezada:
We’re pretty sure our mutt is a Chihuahua / Mini Dachshund, but Mini Dachshund was not on their list. We assumed she would identify as Dachshund instead, but I guess the miniatures have very different DNA, as she came up as a very very weird mix. I can see the Mini Pinscher maybe, but not Bichon Frise, Basenji, Collie (she’s only 9 pounds!) Airedale Terrier, or Schnauzer.
They were very fast with their results though. When the test goes on sale again we’re going to try with our Mini Dachshund, since we know for a fact he’s almost pure.
We’re just going to try again with our mutt (who looks exactly like all Chiweenies) when the DNA tests get more exact.
Leah is more forgiving of the strange results than T. Camden who writes:
My dog was rescued off the highway and is a very neat and unique looking dog. He goes everywhere with me and I am asked “what kind of dog is that” almost daily. We were all very excited about this product as we would love to have another just like him, he is the perfect dog! I thought I had found the answer and could not wait for the results. However, there is no way the results could be right, Cocker Spaniel-Min Pin-German Shepard? Maybe the samples were mixed up at the lab. I was so disappointed as were all my family and friends.
Mariena notes that there seems to be a disproportionately high amount of Afghan blood in the US mutt gene pool:
The breeds that emerged for our dog were just really odd (German Shepherd, Yorkshire Terrier, Afghan Hound, Saluki and West Highland Terrier). Seems like Afghans come up a lot and you don’t see many of them running lose… I guess we all envision these dogs and how on earth they had opportunities to breed! The breeds in our profile didn’t make a whole lot of sense based on where she came from, her appearance or even behavior. But, highly mixed breeds may not look or act like you think they would, and environment is so important. So, not to say that the range of breeds listed weren’t detected by the test. It just seems the “known” breeds from the parentage would have come up strongly as noted in other reviews. In the end, a mutt is a mutt, and we love them just the same. I don’t think I really know more about the dog after doing the test….
Garden Girl is, however, more trusting:
I’ve always wondered what my mixed breed is. He is a pretty dog and I thought maybe he had Border Collie or maybe some German Shepherd in him. Turns out he’s mostly Chow Chow which accounts for his coloration and his curved tail & purple tongue, Afghan Hound and Pembroke Welsh Corgi which is why his body seems long for his size, and he is part Collie which accounts for his instinct for herding. Now that I know his genetic background, I better understand his personality characteristics. It’s just fun to know what my dog is made of, and I’m really glad that I had the test done!
As for me, all I can say is that when I first heard about these tests, I remember discussing them with a guy at the dog park who said, “But they could tell you whatever they want, couldn’t they?” Guess so.
Update: From the comments, Doxie Mama says, “I had a friend who did this with her longhaired Dachshund who is clearly pure bred, and the report came back with 5 different contributing breeds and Mastiff was near the top of the list.”
OK, we’ll bite, here are some Dachshund and Mastiff photos:
All this leads us to another piece of news, namely the city in Israel that last year introduced a forensic dog-poop DNA unit. The New York Times Magazine reported:
About three years ago, the mayor of Petah Tikva, a city near Tel Aviv, called the veterinarian Tika Bar-On and said, “I can fix almost everything in this city, but I don’t know how to fight dog poop.” He asked Bar-On, the city’s director of veterinary services, if it was possible to use DNA fingerprinting to identify which dogs pooped on his city streets and — most important — which owners didn’t pick up after them. As a result, this year, Bar-On introduced the first-ever forensic dog-poop DNA unit.
Let’s just hope the unit’s tests are better at distinguishing between wiener dog and mastiff poop than BioPet is at identifying wiener dog and mastiff genes.