Hi, Reddit!

We're part of the Wisdom Panel R&D team of geneticists and veterinarians. (If you don't know already, Wisdom Panel makes dog and cat DNA tests for both pet parents and for breeders).

Two years ago, we recruited leading experts in population genetics from 23andMe and Ancestry. And right away, this crew began assembling reference datasets, running experiments, and building algorithms that would result in the most accurate dog breed detection system.

Powered by the world's biggest breed database (>21,000 samples), this new breed detection system can analyze 40x more genetic data points per sample. And based on rigorous and controlled testing using thousands of known purebred samples, it's over 98% accurate—the most accurate available.

In fact, benchmarking tests using mixed-breed samples showed our breed detection system's error rate was consistently 2-4x lower than the industry standard. It's also 1,140x more efficient and will only improve over time.

Ultimately, this means Wisdom Panel can now scan your pup's DNA for more breeds than any competitor and give you the most accurate answers about their ancestry. We're excited to answer any questions you have about the science behind this industry milestone and what it means for modern pet care. So, ask away!

-- Becca, Dan, Jason, and Casey (members of the Wisdom Panel R&D team, bios below)

About us:

Becca Foran, head of R&D at Wisdom Panel

Bio: After earning my PhD in genomics from Oxford University, I spent a decade building products that helped women make informed health choices based on their genetics and clinical metrics. Now at Wisdom Panel, I lead a team of data scientists, veterinarians and geneticists building the world's most accurate pet DNA tests.

Ask me about: Lessons coming from human DNA to pet DNA.

Dan Garrigan, senior scientist of population genetics at Wisdom Panel

Bio: After gaining my PhD in biology, I studied human population genetics as a postdoctoral fellow at both the University of Arizona and Harvard University. Before joining Wisdom Panel in 2020, I worked at Ancestry as a senior scientist in population genetics.

Ask me about: Building the world's most accurate breed detection system.

Jason Huff, senior scientist of computational biology at Wisdom Panel.

Bio: After earning a PhD from the University of California, San Francisco, I studied genomics as a postdoctoral fellow and later ran a computational core facility at the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining Wisdom Panel in 2020, I worked at Ancestry as a staff scientist in bioinformatics.

Ask me about: Applying the latest genomic science to improve pet lives.

Casey Knox, manager of veterinary genetics at Wisdom Panel.

Bio: After receiving my doctorate of veterinary medicine (DVM) degree from Oregon State University, I practiced in both small animal and mixed animal hospitals until joining Wisdom Panel in 2013. These days, I contribute to research and collect data from pet parents through sample curation and community science. I take special interest in the human-animal bond, immune and endocrine disease, and behavior.

Ask me about: Dog and cat breeds and how pet parents can help in genetic research.

EDIT: Thank you for all the questions! We're answering them as fast as we can :) and adding proof so you know who we are

EDIT 2 @ 4:45 p PT: WOW. These questions have been great and we're having so much fun getting to chat with all of you! We're going to sign off in a bit for the weekend, but please keep the questions coming and we will answer the rest on Monday/early next week!

EDIT 3 Monday 10/18: We are answering remaining questions as we're able -- just want to say thank you so much and we hope to do this all again soon! If you want to keep in touch with us, you can follow us on Instagram and/or sign up for our emails & newsletter (at the bottom of the homepage)! 🐾🧬

Comments: 160 • Responses: 59  • Date: 

PetsForEveryone43 karma

What percentage of the DNA used to create the breed algorithm came from the US vs Europe or international? Particularly thinking about the differences in breed standards in US vs UK and whether that would then result in different results?

WisdomPanel_Research28 karma

Wisdom Panel originally started in the UK, so we’ve always had significant UK representation of breeds in our database. We definitely see genetic differences between many UK populations of breeds vs. other countries because for many years the UK had very restrictive import requirements as a rabies-free nation, and the cost of import/export is so high. Breed standards definitely influence genetics, but so also do breeding goals, such as use, and more practical factors, like the cost of breeding out to an unrelated line.
For example, we see differences in English vs. American Labrador Retrievers, which as you point out, also have different standards and priorities in breeding. We currently try to be inclusive of as many of these differences as possible and report them out as a single breed, simply Labrador Retriever in this case. In the future, we are looking to report out such differences, where they can be accurately distinguished.
In general, we aim to have an excellent representation of dogs from that breed’s region of origin. This means we have large numbers of international dogs in the breed reference panel, but it depends on the breed and how differentiated the breed is between regions -- for example, the majority of the individual dogs for Jindo are directly from Korea.
-- CK and JH

nymphetamines_10 karma

This is a cool question, and it's especially relevant to APBTs & AmStaffs, which were the same dogs (just in the UK vs US) when they were first registered. I hope they answer this one!

PetsForEveryone3 karma

Yes! That is exactly in line with what I was thinking!

WisdomPanel_Research9 karma

For some additional reading specific to the APBT and AmStaff bit, we published a blog post about the process behind including APBT in our new breed detection system

SeasDiver35 karma

Since you are saying you do better than competitors, can you explain the following results when we first did a Wisdom Panel (last summer) on our foster fail Mochi, and then did Embark (because we were not satisfied with the Wisdom Panel results)? We had previously done Wisdom Panels on our other dogs.

Wisdom Panel (Pre-2020)said:

  • 25% American Pit Bull Terrier
  • 12.5% Basset
  • 62.5% other

Embark said:

  • 23.1% American Pit Bull Terrier
  • 17.9% Australian Cattle Dog
  • 11.6% Basset Hound
  • 10.4% Boston Terrier
  • 9.0% Lab Retriever
  • 5.9% Chow Chow
  • 5.3% German Shepard
  • 16.8% Supermutt where Supermutt contained traces of Toy Fox Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, and Collie.

Edit 2: As noted in their response, there was an update profile when we logged in. The new Wisdom Panel Genetic Profile is:

  • 18% American Pit Bull Terrier
  • 14% Chihuahua
  • 13% Australian Cattle Dog
  • 7% Boston Terrier
  • 7% Basset Hound
  • 5% American Staffordshire Terrier
  • 4% Catahoula Leopard Dog
  • 4% Chow Chow
  • 4% Dachsund
  • 4% Labrador Retriever
  • 3% German Shepard
  • 3% English Springer Spaniel
  • 2% Bluetick Coonhound
  • 2% Border Collie
  • 2% Boxer
  • 2% Golden Retriever
  • 2% Miniature Pinscher
  • 2% Poodle (Toy & Miniature)
  • 2% Tree Walking Coonhound

Edit 1: will your current version tell us if two dogs are related? We are maternity fosters and it has been fun watching when adopters DNA test and prove that there were two dads in the litter.

WisdomPanel_Research15 karma

First off, Mochi is ADORABLE and the name is perfect. We updated our breed detection system in July 2021 and are now proud to say that we offer the most accurate breed prediction available on the market (at more than 98% purebred accuracy!). Part of our mission is to bring the best and most accurate science to our pet parent community, so we are working on updating as many reports as possible (if you tested after November 2019 and purchased a Wisdom Panel 3.0 or 4.0, your results should already be updated).

We had a peek and hope you’ll like your updated results! We are working on a feature that shows related dogs in our database. In the meantime, if you need to know about likely parent/offspring relationships, we have on-demand tools to help, if requested by contacting us. We definitely see instances of multiple sires to a litter -- the current record is three sires!

--BF, JH, CK

SeasDiver5 karma

Thank you for the information, looks like I was only 2-3 months before the update. Based on the Embark results, we know his litter had at least 2 fathers (3 of the pups were tested, 2 showed as full siblings to each other but only half to the 3rd). Based on appearance, there may well have been a 3rd dad for his litter.

On a slightly more depressing follow-up. We have a donated DNA test for a rescue litter that we had this spring, before we could use it, we lost all the pups and momma to hookworms, anaplasmosis, and distemper. After an appropriate quarantine period, we got a new rescue litter, but decided to hold off a couple weeks on using the test. It turned out to be a good decision as we lost that entire litter to CHV, Canine Coronavirus, Canine Parainfluenza, Bordetella, Mycoplasma Cynos, and Distemper. Those poor things never had a chance. Another quarantine period and we have a new litter. We are now outside the parvovirus and CHV incubation periods, but are still afraid to use the DNA test lest Distemper raise its ugly head yet again. If we used it and then ended up losing everyone yet again (we have lost more this year than our previous 8 1/2 years of fostering), would your customer service consider replacing a kit? I realize that it something that could unfortunately be abused, but we are afraid to use them now in a timely enough manner to show results to potential adopters.

WisdomPanel_Research10 karma

Wow, I am so sorry to hear you’ve been battling so much contagious disease in your foster pups. That must be really emotionally draining, but so glad you’re sticking it out. Yes, we would certainly consider replacing a kit, especially since you’re a non-profit rescue group. Hopefully, this wouldn’t happen, but if it did, reach out to our customer service team and explain.
-- CK

WisdomPanel_Research2 karma

Replying to your edit! We're currently working on a feature that shows related dogs in our database and it's coming soon!

Boobies_are_cool34 karma

Hey thanks for doing this! 3 years ago I did a Wisdom Panel on my rescue and the results came back 62.5% “breed groups” which is very broad and was a bit disappointing. Have you made any new strides that could bring more clarity to these results?

WisdomPanel_Research26 karma

We know that receiving a report with less breeds in it can be frustrating, and we are constantly working to improve our science. We’re happy to say that our pet parents no longer see “breed groups”, but rather breed breakdown all the way down to 1% with our Essential and Premium tests.
Back in July, we launched a brand new breed detection system that is >98% accurate, uses the full extent of our customer DNA genotyping microarray chip and reports >350 breeds (including village and/or street dogs). We are also in the process of updating all results from samples that were submitted after November 2019. If you happened to test before then, we will be emailing you soon with a special option to retest your pup at a significantly discounted rate.
--BF and CK

PeaInAPod11 karma

If our Wisdom Panel tests came back with "super mutt" will this updated test break that down into more breed groups? Or is the new test more for converting "breed groups" into distinct breeds of dogs?

WisdomPanel_Research7 karma

Our newest tests (Essential and Premium) both break down your dog's ancestry to 1% so there's no "super mutt" or "breed groups" designation in those results.

Nezrite17 karma

Ha! We got the same result for our dog - 12.5% Parson Russell terrier, 12.5% golden lab, 12.5% miniature schnauzer, 62.5% shrug.

I do keep going back to see if they've managed to narrow it down as more tests are done, but it's been three years...

Edit: a word

nymphetamines_29 karma

They've actually gone too far the other direction; now they insist on assigning every single percentage to some breed, no matter how completely improbable. Many mutts come back with a few dozen exceedingly rare breeds at 1-2%.

WisdomPanel_Research3 karma

We’ve heard this from some of our pet parents and want to let you know that we absolutely take these concerns seriously. Our previous breed detection system did occasionally output rare breeds at low percentages, and we agree that in many cases those breeds were unlikely to have directly contributed to the dog that was tested. We’ve gone to great lengths to make these low percentage calls more reliable and believe it is important to report them all out - sometimes they highlight unique traits or health conditions in your doggo. Please read more about the approach we took under the “Business focused” point #2 in this answer.

Alakritous12 karma

Do you ever partner with rescues and give access to tests to aid in adoption?

How do you determine the accuracy of your samples?

Thank you so much for this AMA!

WisdomPanel_Research7 karma

  1. We do partner with rescues and shelters! In fact, we're currently working with three organizations during Adopt a Shelter Dog Month (every October). Through this partnership, we're providing adopters from our three partner organizations with Wisdom Panel kits for their new pups. We also regularly provide test kits for long-term residents at partner shelters and rescues (to improve their odds of getting adopted).
  2. We start with the world’s largest database of dogs and then curate a set for the breed reference panel (currently >21,000 dogs and counting). We use dimensional reduction techniques to identify how each dog relates to every other dog, which allows for extensive quality control. And then we use our novel algorithm to predict the ancestry of each dog. Using rigorous validation techniques, called cross-validation, allows us to fairly assess the prediction accuracy. When we do that, we find that ancestry predictions for purebred dogs are >98% accurate, the most accurate on the market. If interested, you can find more details on our latest breed detection system here.
    -- JH and CK

Alakritous2 karma

Thank you so much! I am involved with a nonprofit rescue that focuses on helping disabled dogs, specifically those caused by being a double merle. Is there any way you would partner with more rescues?

WisdomPanel_Research2 karma

Hi! We're certainly always trying to support as many rescues and nonprofits as possible. If you send a note to [email protected], they can direct you to our marketing team :)

badriver10 karma

Are there ways your work can be used to reduce the prevalence of genetic disorders in the various breeds?

WisdomPanel_Research6 karma

Yes!!! This is an area of passion for our veterinarians and geneticists. We report out disorders in all of our test types, and publish peer-reviewed papers on them often to increase the community’s knowledge about genetic disease. Our team of veterinarians write most of the content for reports so pet parents who receive any type of result are given the information they need to make informed decisions for their dog’s health, and genetic risks for their offspring, if applicable. This is especially important for breeders, as they must sometimes make difficult decisions about breeding their dog, knowing that no dog is completely free of genetic defects. Our veterinary team provides genetic counseling to those breeders, who must balance the immediate question of whom (or if) to breed their dog based on genetic results, along with results of other health and temperament screening, and how to keep in mind the goals of the breed population as a whole. For example, it can be very difficult to slowly decrease the prevalence of genetic disorders in a breed to retain as much genetic diversity as possible, as most people’s natural tendency is to avoid using dogs with any detected disorder variants, which may actually be worse for the breed in the long term.
But if you’re interested, we are regularly featured in studies and publications, and we add links to them here on our site.

bassman13248 karma

Semi-related question: are you familiar with the company PooPrints? (https://www.pooprints.com/)

They take a DNA sample from a dog's cheek swab and match it with fecal samples sent by apartments complexes, HOAs, etc. when don't pick up after their dogs!

Two questions I have about that tech: 1) what they're actually sequencing to make a definitive match (specific chromosome regions?) and 2) are there enough SNPs/unique genomic identifiers such that you can discriminate between members of the same breed? E.g. can you definitively tell one standard poodle from another via sequencing?


PS: Are you hiring? I use a lot of NGS (Illumina, mostly) tech in my work, have a Master's degree, and love animals :)

WisdomPanel_Research5 karma

No comment on PooPrints, but we are definitely hiring -- check out open roles here :)

Worried-Minimum12618 karma

Why did you use unverified dogs for samples as Korean Jindos? Now everyone thinks they have a Jindo mix.

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

Our reference panel for Jindo is primarily from dogs recognized as representative of the breed by Korean researchers, followed by dogs that are registered with FCI as purebred. It’s worth noting that at this time we don’t have a Korean street dog type, and the Jindo is itself a landrace, so it’s possible that some Korean randombred dogs are cross-matching Jindo due to shared DNA segments from common ancestry. On the other hand, you may consider the possibility that there are actually Jindo mixes ;) They aren’t reported out that frequently.
-- CK and JH

demosthenes837 karma

With the increasing availability of genetic health testing for pets, are you aware of any pet insurance companies that are looking at those results when determining premiums? Have you considered offering this service yourself or partnering with an insurance company for this purpose?

As a responsible pet owner of a GSD, it is annoying that even though my dog comes from responsible breeding (hips/elbows all good for 5+ generations, genetic testing of parents, grandparents, etc.), and that she tested negative for any genetic predisposition to health conditions that can currently be tested for - I still pay the same amount in monthly insurance premiums as I would if I'd gotten her from a backyard breeder with all the common problems that brings.

WisdomPanel_Research2 karma

Great question, and GSDs definitely have a long list of available genetic and non-genetic health screening tests. Veterinarians love it when owners get pet insurance early - the decision to treat if an emergency should arise is then no longer a question of cost, but of the best treatment for the best outcome. So happy you knew to look for that in your puppy.

Insurance companies are certainly aware of veterinary genetic testing, and we have been approached by several of them on the topic. We’ve discussed with them how to use health findings to provide the best care to the dogs, without penalizing owners with “undesirable” health results, but to our knowledge, none of the health insurance companies have formalized policies around genetic health testing and premiums/coverage. Additionally, your DNA results are always confidential and private to you and anyone else you designate on your account. Hope that helps!

rustyangle5 karma

Do you guys update the pets breed information as you get more research and results back over time similar to how 23andme does? Or once the results come back, are they never updated?

WisdomPanel_Research4 karma

Great question! We are actually right in the middle of a massive update. Every pet parent in the US that tested with us post-November 2019 should receive an update to their results to our most accurate and up-to-date breed detection system within the next few months. Those who tested before that date will also be contacted with an opportunity to upgrade to our new “chip” through a retest at a significantly discounted rate. We are committed to bringing our community of pet parents the most up-to-date science and will therefore continue to update results as we build out our breed reference panels and the systems we use to detect breed.

neuromorph5 karma

What sequencers are you using?

WisdomPanel_Research8 karma

We use a custom Illumina Infinium BeadChip genotyping microarray (aka “array” or just “chip”).
-- JH

sedahren4 karma

We did a DNA kit for the rescue we adopted last year! Unfortunately it was only able to positively identify 3 of her great-grandparents. Is there likely to be any advance in this regard, IE identifying older generations?

WisdomPanel_Research2 karma

We know it can be frustrating to receive results like those you received, and we are doing our best to update them as soon as we can. Since you tested last year, you should be receiving an update to your results in the very near future (if you haven’t already). We’ve actually shifted our technology so that we are not directly predicting your pup’s family tree, but rather mapping small sections of his/her genome to the breed that sequence most closely matches.
-- BF

michelleyness3 karma

I just got an update on my dog's test from 2 years ago, and now she has a little tiny bit of chihuahua in her, how did that testing change? It makes me giggle but for real.. ?

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

Ah, the Chihuahua! A very polarizing breed :) Our reference samples of Chihuahua come from both show dogs and Mexican indigenous-type Chihuahueno. We find Chihuahua in a lot of mixes in the US (not so much elsewhere in the world), which is not so surprising since many people leave them intact, either thinking they can’t ‘get the job done’ due to their size (they can!) or due to cultural norms. If it’s any consolation, the majority of the Chihuahuas we see in mixes are most consistent with the Mexican indigenous type, which is often larger (10-15 lbs) and with a “deer style” head, rather than the apple-headed variety, which is the show dog standard.
-- CK


What do you think about pet breeds that have been hideously deformed to their own detriment, like pugs that can't breathe or weiners whose stubby front legs are too distant from their stubby back legs?

WisdomPanel_Research22 karma

In general, we’re in favor of breed standards that promote the health and wellbeing of the dog or cat. We do not support ear cropping or tail docking for that reason as well, and don’t depict that on our website. Short-faced breeds, called brachycephalic breeds in the veterinary profession, like Pugs, Boxers, and French Bulldogs, as well as cat breeds like the Persian, have been the subject of a lot of controversy in recent years. We test for some of the genes that influence face shape, which some breeders have been using to create less extreme face shapes.Dachshunds are actually a different subject - their backs are not actually longer (they have the same number of bones in their back as a Beagle does), but their legs are shorter, giving that impression. The reason short legs have been selected for is not just for looks - short legs were thought to allow terrier breeds to fit into holes better when chasing prey, to make companion dogs smaller so they could be more comfortably held in their owner’s lap, and also to allow a hunter to keep up with their scent hound when on foot, rather than on horseback. We now know there are two primary genetic variants that cause this, called dwarfism in people, or chondrodysplasia in dogs. One is called “breed defining chondrodysplasia,” or CDPA for short, which is the same variant found in Shih Tzus, Corgis, and Basset Hounds, and it has not been tied to disease. The other is ironically the same gene, but pasted into a different spot in a dog’s genome, and it causes less leg shortening, but also predisposes the dog to back problems, namely intervertebral disc disease and herniation. The discovery of that gene was made in the last 5 years. It’s commonly referred to as CDDY, or CDDY with IVDD risk. Some breeds have one of the two variants, some have both.

Dachshunds unfortunately always seem to carry both variants, which is why they are known for having problems with their backs. However, Beagles only carry CDDY, which is why although they are “stocky” rather than “stubby” dogs, they are prone to back disease like the Dachshund. With the discovery and reporting of these genes, several proactive breeders are using this information to optimize the health of their dogs and prioritize good breeding practices. At Wisdom Panel, we have reported CDPA for some time, and are working to report CDDY in the coming year, in partnership with Dr. Bannasch, the researcher who discovered it.

-- CK, BF, and JH


Wow, that was a really detailed and informing answer, thank you

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

We don't mess around! But, on a real note, we're all pet parents/pet obsessed ourselves so we're always working on science that improves the health and lives of as many pets as we can.

forbiddenmachina2 karma

Will you be continuing to update the cat DNA test with more specific genetic breakdown and traits? I had my cat tested with both you and Basepaws and, while I understand cats are not breed mixes in the same way dogs are, there were some major differences in the results that I am curious about.

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

Hi! Thanks for your patience -- wanted to make sure we got to this one. We plan to update our cat genetic testing just as we have with dogs, as new disorders and traits are discovered and existing ones are validated. We’re also working on additional sampling of regional cats and rare breeds to provide more information to cat owners regarding domestic shorthairs.
-- CK

EmberTheDog1 karma

You should post your differences on /r/DoggyDNA! We got our cat tested with BasePaws before Wisdom Panel had a test. I'm interested if we should do both.

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

When will there be a KittyDNA subreddit? Asking for a friend (and a team of cat people + feline geneticists)

EmberTheDog2 karma

I agree, there needs to be!

Unfortunately, not too many people are interested in cat DNA for reasons your team already knows (cats don't come from long lines of breeds, breeding is relatively recent, most cats are >70% cat mutt).

I think the Wisdom Panel traits section for cats is the highlight compared to competitors. We have a Maine Coon looking cat, so I would love to see if he comes back positive for the long-haired gene seen in Maine Coons. We know he is mainly American cat mutt, so the trait genes are cool.

I hope your team expands the traits section over time! It's already a huge draw for cat (and dog) obsessed people like me.

RyanTheDesignLion2 karma

One of the Wisdom Panel designers here: So glad you like our cat product, and especially the traits feature! We put in extra work on traits for cats, because of the reasons you mention and also because we have some really amazing cat researchers and a lot of cat people on the team.

My cat Nemu was our first model for designing the cat ancestry and traits features. One of the coolest experiences was when one of our scientists looked at her raw traits results and described exactly what she looks like (gray and white tuxedo with short hair — oh and she’s perfect).

Thank you again, and let us know if you have any other thoughts!

EmberTheDog1 karma

So I'm not as knowledgeable about cat genetics, but I was wondering why some phenotypes were omitted.

One would be calico/orange coat, are the genetics more complex than looking at the two X chromosomes and seeing XB and Xb ? Obviously, there are influences by Barr Bodies in female cats, but I'm surprised to not see much about cat coat color (at least for orange cats)

The traits section for our dog was spot on for coat. It was interesting to see that she has a saddle tan combined with the piebald. We didn't notice the saddle tan due to the white markings, but it's so obvious now!

WisdomPanel_Research2 karma

Hi -- wanted to make sure we got a chance to address this! Orange was relatively recently discovered, which is why it’s not included in our current feline testing. It’s the most common question we get about cat traits. With our next cat chip update, we’ll try our best to add it!
-- CK

EmberTheDog2 karma

Will dogs tested in early 2021 with Essentials receive the updated results?

I tested my dog with Essentials and was kind of disappointed. She came back with a decent percentage of uncommon breeds that are very rare in the US (8% Portuguese Podengo Medio, 7% Azawakh). I've noticed those receiving the update are receiving breeds more common in the US.

Edit: Also, if/when you release the relative feature, will dogs tested with the older Wisdom Panel versions be included?

WisdomPanel_Research2 karma

Hi again! Yes, dogs tested with Wisdom Panel in the US after November 2019 will get updated results.
Agreed, Azawakh and PPM are both really rare breeds, and they’re rarely reported. Is your dog a rescue from outside the US?
Also, we’re hard at work on relatives now! It will be available for dogs tested from late 2019 onward.
-- CK

michelleyness2 karma

How can I help in genetic research? I have two dogs that I have submitted already?
One of the dogs is a big wonderful lovey. The other is just learning how to bond with humans because she roamed the street for 3 years before living in my house. We paid for her to get transported here from Texas so she would not be killed.

I have a cat that has diabetes? Not sure if giving you a sample from him would help.
He is so special. He tries to act like a dog and like a bird. He chirps like a bird when he sees one out the window. He meows when the dogs are barking but in a different volume. He found me outside when he was an outdoor cat and I think he knew he was going to die because it was just getting so cold and his "owners" did not care about him.

WisdomPanel_Research3 karma

We’re excited you want to help with our research! We’ve got a new project on citizen/community science in the works, so look for an email later this year about how to get involved! We’re especially interested in the genetic underpinnings of complex disorders and behavior. Cats will be included soon, but we’re not there yet. So glad you rescued your kitty and got him the care he needed!
-- CK

Codadd2 karma

We live in Kenya and plan on getting a Boerboel puppy and a Kenyan bush mutt, is there a way to send in our samples from Kenya? Based on your reviews and replies here it seems like your DNA testing doesn't actually provide quality information even after years, what would be your biggest argument in opposition of these naysayers?

WisdomPanel_Research3 karma

We actually have a number of Boerboel samples in our database, it’s a very cool breed! Caution that there’s a lot of passionate groups for the Boerboel, they all feel they have the one true Boerboel, and they all have different standards. We have tried to sample dogs from several of the major groups to account for this. Yes, we can receive samples from Kenya, although the postal system can be challenging; for a purebred like a Boerboel pup MyDogDNA is the best option. It’s our European breeder product, so it will give you information on your dog’s diversity, disorders, and traits, but not ancestry, since you know their pedigree already.
For your Kenyan bush pup, we have street dog signatures for Liberia, Namibia, and Uganda, but not Kenya (yet). However, if you would like to submit your dog to kick off that process, please submit a request for a research test here, and we’d be happy to consider it! https://wisdomhealth.typeform.com/to/Nn2qZf7o

Codadd3 karma

Would you consider doing a free or close to free option for the KSPCA (Kenya Society for the Protection and Care if Animals) to send you dozens if not hundreds of samples to help your database? My wife also has a good relationship with the managers if their partner org in Kampala, Uganda.

WisdomPanel_Research2 karma

Yes! That sounds awesome! Please send a note to [email protected] with something along the lines of “Kenyan shelter dog samples for research” in the subject line, we can talk more about it. The biggest challenge is shipping in Africa, so we will have to figure it out together.
-- CK

Burninator052 karma

You seem to be passionate about what you're doing and have spent time and money to make it a reality but why do should I care what the exact breeds are that make up my mutts?

WisdomPanel_Research5 karma

Because knowing their breed(s) can help you personalize their care and even get ahead of breed-specific health concerns. Take for instance a dog with Border Collie ancestry is likely going to get into trouble (like chew up your favorite sneakers) if they aren't being physically and mentally challenged on a regular basis. That's because they were bred to herd, and they crave having a job to do. So, if you find out your dog is part Border Collie, you might introduce them to the world of dog sports (or at least buy them some treat puzzles).
Another example: Labrador Retrievers are predisposed to a genetic condition called POMC, which causes them to never feel full after eating. So, learning your pup has Lab ancestry could explain a lot about their seemingly endless appetite and help you plan accordingly to ensure they don't gain excess weight, which can lead to other health problems.
In short, when you know more, you can care better!

-- BF

iSayBaDumTsss2 karma

Thanks for asking this! I also thought this is cool, but how do I use that information to their benefit and care?

WisdomPanel_Research2 karma

As we said in our answer, breeds differ when it comes to things like behavior, exercise needs, training preferences, diet, grooming requirements, and more. And many genetic disorders are breed-specific. On a basic level, if pet parents or veterinarians strongly believe a dog to be of a certain breed based on appearance, they may overlook what the dog actually needs in terms of care or training. For example, a black, floppy-eared, short-coated dog may not actually be a Labrador, and they may actually have no instinct to fetch, or love of water.

Some more examples would include:

  • Finding out your pup has predominantly herding ancestry will help understand why they pick up on training really fast or why they might nip at heels, even with people they love.
  • Finding out your rescue puppy will grow to be 100+ lbs will mean that you know to start them on a giant breed diet at a young age to support their rapid growth in a healthy way.
  • If you test before a veterinary procedure like a spay or neuter and find out your dog (or cat) is predisposed to drug sensitivity due to the MDR1 mutation, you’ll want to tell your veterinarian immediately so they can adjust their treatment protocols. As a veterinarian myself, I can tell you this is really important to know because you can’t detect the MDR1 mutation using standard pre-op bloodwork, and pets can have a very poor reaction or death due to anesthesia as well as other treatments like chemotherapy if the wrong drugs or doses are used.

There are countless other examples. So, knowing your pup's ancestry allows you, and your pet’s veterinarian, to personalize their care, free from any bias that comes from guessing breeds based on appearance alone.
-- CK

takethislonging2 karma

Can you expect meaningful results from DNA tests on stray dogs (i.e., free-ranging urban dogs)? Are dogs like that typically descended from any breeds?

WisdomPanel_Research3 karma

Good question! Depends on where the dog is from, and if your primary purpose in testing is for ancestry, or for understanding your dog’s health or traits. In most of the US, Canada, and western Europe, stray dogs are typically recently descended from purebreds, as truly “random-bred, free-ranging” street dogs are not that common. In those cases, yes, typically pet parents will get a lot of reported breed ancestry. For street dogs from other regions, such as Southeast Asia, South America, or Africa, we have a number of landraces we call street dogs in our database. These street dogs come up more often in reports because they don’t actually have any western (e.g., Victorian era-influenced breed) ancestry. Free-ranging dogs from any place can also have purebred ancestry, in addition to street dog ancestry. All dogs receive health and trait information as well.
-- CK and JH

Defiant-Enthusiasm942 karma

I recently tested my Puerto Rican rescue through wisdom panel. She came back with 21 breeds, 15 of which were <5%. How likely is it that she is actually just a village/street dog? Some off the breeds seem very unlikely. If she really does have all these distinct breeds in her, that would be pretty amazing. What is the most breeds ever reported in one dog? (Also saw your comment about being able to see related dogs in your database soon. That is very exciting to hear.)

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

We are really happy to say that we are partnering with the Sato Project to learn more about Puerto Rican street/rescue dogs, what health predispositions they have, and if they are genetically distinct from other breeds and types. We will also evaluate whether there appears to be any sign of DNA from the one breed/type that the academic world acknowledges as unique to Puerto Rico, the Gran Mastin de Borinquen (many also argue this breed is sadly extinct). We’ve tested quite a few rescue dogs from Puerto Rico and generally find that they are heavy mixes of European breeds, and that these mixes vary pretty dramatically. There’s evidence that a lot of new purebreds are introduced regularly into the sato population, so there is no guarantee we will find evidence of a genetically distinct Puerto Rican village dog (but that’s not going to stop us from looking!).

We hope our partnership with the Sato Project will help shed some light on the unique needs of satos and highlight the wonderful work they are doing. One output of this work will hopefully be some form of updated breed background information for dogs originating from Puerto Rico. If you are on our most up to date report (you can tell by going to your pet’s profile and scrolling to the very bottom - bcsys 1.0 is our most up to date algorithm) you should see a mixture of breeds that have portions of DNA that are highly similar to portions of your dog’s DNA. To more specifically answer your question - your doggo likely has some great great granddoggies from the breeds represented at higher higher percentages in your report. The breeds at lower percentages are likely to represent contributions from other ancestors that shared origins with those breeds. We will have to get back to you on the highest number of breeds identified in one dog, but know 21 is pretty close to the top!
-- BF and CK

edit: added link to Sato Project and this lovely pup shared with us on IG has 23 breeds, so that is up there!

Sallysaurus2 karma

So we're pretty sure our rescue is mostly Romanian mioritic shepherd - is that included in the breed testing? We were told by other people who had dna tests done that any shepherd type breeds just show as "shepherd"

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

We do not currently distinguish any of the native Romanian shepherd dog breeds, but we’d like to change that! We’d love samples from Romanian Mioritic Shepherd Dogs (Ciobănesc Românesc Mioritic), Romanian Carpathian Shepherd Dogs (Ciobănesc Românesc Carpatin), and Romanian Bucovina Shepherd Dogs (Ciobănesc Românesc de Bucovina)! However, we’d like to start with dogs who have records or recognition from Romania/FCI showing they’re likely purebred. If you know anyone with pedigreed Romanian shepherd dogs, please please have them fill out this survey, and we’d be happy to consider them for confidential and complimentary European or US testing. In the meantime, we report on a number of similar livestock guardian/herding breeds, if it’s possible they’d be one of those instead.
-- CK

KellyCTargaryen1 karma

There’s an issue in corgis currently where irresponsible breeders mix in Aussie or cardigan to get blue Merle, for money of course. Breeding back to Pems for a few generations means they can come back on tests like this as 100% Pembroke, and use it as proof their blue Merle Pems are purebred. How does your test account for this?

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

Yes, we’ve seen those sorts of dogs tested with us. Our testing looks at markers of ancestry, and Cardigan Welsh Corgis are especially genetically similar to Pembrokes. Merle is a simple (mostly) dominant trait, meaning all one needs to get merle coloring is a single copy of the gene insertion. If the cross was made several generations ago, it’s possible that the dog could be reported out as 100% Pembroke, albeit with the merle gene present. Pedigree registries generally consider a dog pure after three generations, so that may not be so different in definition. However, we are working on an analysis that considers the likelihood of purebred status based on traits that supposedly shouldn’t be present in the breed, e.g., merle in the Pembroke, which we hope to release in the future.
--CK and JH

melissakate81 karma

Hi u/wisdompanel_research! Can you please share the process you used to identify wild canid genetics, both in the new and old systems and if/how it improved?

Unfortunately, in the wolfdog community we have seen countless doggy dogs labeled as “grey wolf” by WP, but then Embark as all dog. This is a very dangerous, and often lethal, assertion to make. In verified WDs, we often see them WP as higher in content than their Embark states. For those reasons, the wolfdog community, at this point in time, only recommends Embark to identify wild canid genetics. However, with the new updates to WP, we are all eager to hear what lifting has been done to improve the grey wolf and coyote database and identification. Have you worked with any grey wolf facilities or research departments, or partnered with UC Davis to ascertain more info re: these animals?

If there has not been a significant overhaul on the wild canid side of things, would you be open to working with the wolfdog community to improve? And, if so, what would you need from us to do so?

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

Hi! Thanks for your patience as we catch up on questions.

Our wild canids have come from a variety of sources and regions (across North America, Europe, and Asia), some from fellow researchers, some from captive packs, some from government fish & wildlife type wild samples. We dramatically changed our reference database for our July 2021 reboot. In addition, we have shown that our new breed detection system (1) labels “grey wolf” far less frequently than previous versions and (2) is up to 4x less error-prone than industry standard methods.
Wisdom Panel’s veterinary team is well aware of the gravity of identifying wild canid in a dog, as we were all clinical vets prior to working for Wisdom Panel. We take client confidentiality seriously, and we do not release individual report findings to anyone but the owner of record, and any other people they specifically authorize. Prior to 2019, we did struggle with the issue of eastern North American wolves having a good percentage of coyote ancestry, despite estimation of purebred status when sampled by F&W experts, which caused issues when we used them for our reference database to differentiate between wolf and coyote (it’s not a problem isolated to red wolves).
We are always open to working with the community to improve our database, and have worked with UC Davis in the past on this subject. If the WD community would like to help, we would be happy to accept samples of known captive or wild-sampled pure wolf or coyote samples if provenance can be provided. If you’re part of a wildlife rescue facility, that’s great! You’re welcome to contact us and we can discuss a more organized sampling project if you wish, but hybrids are not as helpful as a first step. Please apply here.
--CK, JH, BF

pm_ur_whispering_I1 karma

Hey, I got the Wisdom Panel for my girlfriend's dogs several years ago as a gift! She was incredibly upset thinking she was getting an engagement ring instead! These fat mutts are sitting next to me on the couch now.

Has the accuracy of the tests improved over the years or would the results today mirror the results I got in 2016?

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

Ouch, we hope she’s forgiven you! Dogs are family, right?? Most dogs tested in 2016 and retested on our current tech receive very similar results, although with a lot more detail on breed ancestry percentages. Occasionally, the results differ, usually because the dog is highly mixed or has ancestry from breeds not in the database at the time of testing. Please look for an email later this year with options to retest your pups on our newest tech!
-- CK, BF

KellyCakes1 karma

Can you tell if two dogs are related and, if so, how they are related (like father-son, siblings, cousins)? My MIL and I adopted two miniature poodles from a shelter five years ago. They had half a dozen miniature poodles that were not in the best of health and had been 'removed from a home by state inspectors', but that's all we know about their past. One is obviously older than the other, we have no idea how old, though. The younger one seems to have been around one year old when we got him. If you can detect and/or explain familial relation, how to we go about doing that? THANKS SO MUCH!!!!!

WisdomPanel_Research2 karma

Oh wow, sounds like they’re in a much better situation with you now! Yes, from DNA testing, one can tell how related the two are. We’ll be releasing a relative feature soon for all of the dogs tested since November 2019. In the meantime, if you’ve already tested with Wisdom (or are thinking about it), you can contact us, and we can look to see how two tested dogs are related.
-- JH

Koumadin1 karma

can you distinguish btwn short haired vs wirehaired german pointers via commercially avail genetic testing?

WisdomPanel_Research2 karma

Hi! Yes, our breed database includes the signatures for German Wirehaired Pointer and German Shorthaired Pointer and differentiates between the breeds.

nymphetamines_1 karma

More business-focused:

1) Do you have plans to add testing for village dog/pariah dog DNA, since they make up over half of the world's dogs?

2) Do you have plans to reintroduce a sort of "undetermined" percentage, rather than assigning every percentage a breed?

3) Do you have plans to add newer breeds? Your recent move to add APBT was a great one, but I'm hoping you don't add American Bully, which I think was a big misstep by Embark. It's way too new.


1) How possible is it to reconstruct a family tree of particular dogs if you know they're genetically related?

2) Does the above become significantly more difficult when there's inbreeding?

WisdomPanel_Research2 karma


Business focused

  1. Yes! We are on a mission to adequately represent ALL populations of dogs. That is why we added a number of free-roaming/random-bred/street/village/pariah dogs with our July 2021 update! We are working with academic researchers, breeders, and dog enthusiasts from around the world to add to our reference panel and hope to detect DNA from even more village dogs in the months/years to come. You can check out what we have now by searching “street dog” in our breed library.
  2. Our scientists, product managers, and designers thought long and hard about the best way to help pet parents understand their pets, down to the tiny details. To help you understand why we report and feel confident in our predictions down to 1%, here’s a little background on how our new breed detection system works: When a dog DNA sample comes into our lab, we evaluate its genotypes at approximately 100,000 positions across the genome. These genotypes can be mapped across their respective chromosomes and then evaluated in “chunks” or windows that are typically composed of 200-300 markers. Each “chunk” of the sample sequence is compared to the corresponding sequence in every one of our >21,000 reference DNA samples from verified breeds. The reference population with the highest density of matches is selected as the “raw” breed assignment for that portion of the DNA, and we then move on to the next chunk. Once all of the chunks have been labeled, we have a “rough draft” which we then feed into a mathematical tool called a “Hidden Markov Model” (HMM) that “smooths” errors (such as unusual assignments in a string of similar assignments). Benchmarking studies have shown that our system is 4x less error-prone than the industry standard (the algorithm widely used among academics and other companies). Translated, this means that each “chunk” we label is 4x less likely to be incorrect compared to if we used the industry-leading computer program.
    To give you a more concrete example (and as a way for me to shamelessly share pictures of my dog, Peanut), take a look at her results. When we adopted her, we thought she was a cross between a long-haired Chihuahua and a squirrel. Lo and behold, she came back mostly Shih-Tzu and Bichon. To the average dog enthusiast, this seemed improbable - she has a naked face whereas her dominant breeds are known for furry faces. When we took a look at how her breeds were “painted” across her chromosomes, we discovered that the two chunks of DNA at the end of her chromosome 13 pair that coincide with the “furnishings” genetic variant were labeled with Pekingese (a breed that does not have furnishings, just like Peanut). This is just one example of hundreds, and I bring it up to show the importance of showing the whole picture to our pet parent community. Importantly, breeds that are called at very small percentages do not necessarily correspond to purebred ancestors in the tested dog’s family tree. They rather highlight unique patterns in the DNA indicative of ancestors that share family lines with the modern equivalent of the breed we test.
    Science is always changing for the better. Since our new breed detection system update in July 2021, we feel confident our breed calls down to 1% are the best representation of the DNA pieces that come together to make your dog your dog.

  3. Yes, we’re always adding new (as well as old, but uncommon) breeds! The limit is really only in what people submit for research and whether the breed is genetically distinctive enough to differentiate from other breeds in our database. Some breeds accomplish that in 30 years! American Bully is frequently requested by customers, but as you already know, it’s a challenging one with an open studbook and four varieties, which early analyses suggest are quite different, and not just in size. We have a FAQ on that breed. We encourage pet parents who have documented (vs. estimated) purebreds of a breed we don’t currently detect to fill out a research submission form. If they qualify, we provide complimentary testing so we can add the breed to our testing in the future for all to benefit.


  1. It’s possible. (And you will see a new feature soon!) But can be pretty challenging because even if the relationship (e.g., parent-offspring) is clear, the directionality — that is, who is parent and who is offspring — can be less clear. It gets harder as you get further out in a tree, for example, distinguishing which side of the tree a relative is on or whether a particular amount of relatedness represents, say, a great uncle vs. a cousin.
  2. It does complicate things if there’s inbreeding — either inbreeding in a general sense (because purebreds can have strong population bottlenecks further back in their lines) or, unfortunately, between close family members more recently. With inbreeding, some ancestors and relatives end up on both sides of the family, so the same individual occupies more than one spot in the tree. Also with inbreeding, because the same pieces of DNA can be inherited from both parents, it becomes more difficult to tell the exact amount of family relatedness from the DNA.

-- CK, BF, JH

nymphetamines_1 karma

Thanks so much for the detailed answer! I didn't know village dogs got added as well, excited to see some on r/DoggyDNA soon. The explanations about relatives make complete sense as well.

I have a two-part follow-up question, and was reminded since you mentioned furnishings: my dog is 50% Saluki, and I'm curious if the gene for Saluki feathering (not furnishing) has been identified? It's my understanding that it's believed by breeders to be a simple-recessive single gene, but I'm not sure if it's been genetically identified.

How does the inheritance of breed-specific recessive genes work when the trait doesn't appear in the other parent's breed mix? Are the same genes/loci present in all other breeds and just always homozygous dominant?

To illustrate what I mean, if my dog's dad was a feathered Saluki (ff), but his mom was a Doberman/Golden (no feathering in either breed), what would he inherit for the other allele? Would it be Ff or something entirely different (Xf)?

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

Hi! Thanks for your patience as we catch up on questions :)

Salukis are a very cool ancient breed, and we’ve found they carry unique gene variants, such as Grizzle/Domino, which is found primarily in Middle Eastern breeds. Based on your question, I’m not totally sure you’re referring to coat length, or to feathering.
To date, several gene variants have been found that contribute to coat length, almost all in the FGF5 gene. In general, long coat is recessive, so if you cross a Golden Retriever to a Doberman, the offspring will be completely short-coated (not medium-coated) but will carry the long-coat allele. So if bred back to a purebred Golden, they would produce 50% long-coated puppies. However, feathering is a gray area - geneticists don’t know what causes it, and its relationship to overall coat length is unclear as we see short-coated and long-coated dogs with feathering. Feathering seems to persist more frequently in crosses than long coat, so some geneticists believe it’s a dominant modifier to long coat allele(s) present, while others think it’s an independent trait. F/f letter designation is not used for that reason, usually that refers to furnishings, which we do know the genetic basis for.
-- CK

ariesfrost1 karma

I had my dog tested in 2015 or 2016, but she is now deceased. Would it be possible to take another look at her DNA on file for a more updated result? If so, how do I go about requesting that?

WisdomPanel_Research5 karma

I get it, wanting to know more, and it’s a way to reconnect with them. I retested my own deceased dog recently, my first test back in 2008. We only offer that as an option if the dog is no longer with us to re-sample. If we still have archived DNA, we can retest for an additional fee, but there is a risk of failure if the sample has degraded. You’d want to request a special retest from [email protected] and provide the sample ID of your pup so we can see if there’s any DNA still available. If so, yes, we’d be honored to provide a new report to you in her memory <3

Ratmama21 karma

Is there a way for the testing of deafness? I breed Australian Cattle dogs and had an Oops litter, 1 had full hearing, 2 were Unilateral hearing and 1 was completely deaf. They come from 2 hearing parents. I do the BAER hearing test at 6 to 7 weeks. I know deafness runs in dams line just from my research of her parentage. I am completely honest with my puppy buyers and they know exactly what they are getting. I believe honesty is the best policy. If there was a way to detect the hearing as there is with the other genetic problems (PLL, PRA, RCD4) that would be awesome!!!

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

Yes, and no. We are actually helping with a study on deafness in the Border Collie right now, in partnership with the University of Helsinki; the disorder is called Early Adult Onset Deafness, or EAOD, but that disorder seems to only occur in the Border Collie. We also have a test for genetic deafness, most commonly seen in the Rottweiler, but not all genetic causes of deafness are known.As you likely know, risk of deafness is increased in dogs with non-solid color around the ears. Pigment is necessary in the inner ear for normal hearing development, and pigment on the ear leather gives a suggestion as to whether there was pigment expressed in the inner ear. Roaning/ticking are actually only possible in the presence of white spotting, which is a localized lack of pigment, so that’s a common cause of deafness in ACDs, Dalmatians, Bull Terriers, white Boxers, etc.However, if you have dogs that are deaf and they don’t have roaning/ticking over the ears, our research team may be interested in linking your BAER and other clinical information with your genetic testing data to look for genetic associations. You can fill out information here. Research projects of this type are usually most successful when several breeders with unrelated dogs with the problem test with us and provide clinical information -- that way we can identify if this is a trend in the breed as a whole. Even better to have someone from the breed community to act as coordinator as a more formal study. As an aside, we’re giving away two free Optimal Selection Canine kits at the ACD specialty raffle happening this week :-)-- CK

ob_mon1 karma

How long before we have RePet? Asking for a friend.

WisdomPanel_Research2 karma

How many PhDs do you have to have to share a reaction GIF? Anyway, this.

TremulousHand1 karma

I'm curious about whether there is a way to see what breeds are contained in your database. We tested our dog a couple of years ago, and the results came back husky, blue heeler, and Russell terrier, with some broader things specified. At the time, I had just learned about Catahoula Leopard dogs, which she is practically physically identical to. More broadly, to what extent is dog genomics based on traits versus breeds? Will a dog with blue coloring always come back as partially a blue heeler?

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

Thanks for asking! The dog breeds we detect are listed in our breed library here. We use neutral SNP markers (DNA mutations) located throughout that dog’s genome, and the dog’s unique markers are compared to that of the breed populations in our database. Genetic mutations that predict a dog’s traits (physical appearance) are not directly evaluated with our breed detection system, but several traits segregate across breed lines in predictable ways. Indeed, many breeds were developed with strong selection for certain traits (mostly behavior in dogs, and physical traits in cats).New breeds are developed by mixing breeds together that already have desirable characteristics, so evidence of breed development can be seen in the relative similarity of markers and shared haplotypes between breeds, and certain traits are more common in genetic groups of dogs (e.g. long coat in spaniels and setters). Visual identification of breeds, which is based almost exclusively on a handful of simple Mendelian traits, is typically very inaccurate, as those traits are usually shared across hundreds of breeds. For example, the “blue” in Blue Heelers/ACDs is dominant black with white spotting, and roaning/ticking. That’s the basis of the coat pattern in the Dalmatian, English Cocker spaniel, and English Setter, and it’s a combination found in easily 50 additional breeds. There’s even a study from professionals that could only identify a dog’s breed correctly 25% of the time based on visuals alone.

--JH and CK

gedden8co1 karma

I had a wisdom panel done about 5 years ago on my dog, and the results for his mixes came back as inconclusive. Do you think I might get better results if I did it again? Here is what we received at the time.

WisdomPanel_Research4 karma

Wow, that is one of our very early reports! First, thanks for being a long-standing customer. Second, the science is always evolving, and we’ve made a lot of improvements since five years ago. New reports look more like this (the lovely Tilly on our marketing team!)

Unfortunately, based on the image you linked, we could not locate your sample information. We’d recommend you contact our customer service team to discuss retesting options, so you can benefit from the technological and reference breed database improvements!


muddy6511 karma

We got our dog dna tested by you 18 months ago. How big was your dataset back then and how accurate were our results likely to be? If I tested her again now would you expect the outcome to be different?

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

If you tested in the US after November 2019, then great news… you’ll get the update to our latest, greatest breed detection shortly for free! (If not, we will email soon with a special option to retest your pup at a significantly discounted rate.) Our database has certainly grown, now with over 2.7 million dogs and a breed reference panel of >21,000 dogs and counting. The science also has improved a lot with >98% accuracy. If you’re curious, read more about the new breed detection system here.
-- JH

dachinabox1 karma

Has test accuracy changed? I got my dog tested 6 years ago.

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

There have been a lot of scientific improvements in the past six years, but the biggest leap is our newest breed detection algorithm we just released a few months ago. We noted this in another answer, but here's a little bit about how we determine accuracy for our testing process:

We start with the world’s largest database of dogs and then curate a set for the breed reference panel (currently >21,000 dogs and counting). We use dimensional reduction techniques to identify how each dog relates to every other dog, which allows for extensive quality control. And then we use our novel algorithm to predict the ancestry of each dog. Using rigorous validation techniques, called cross-validation, allows us to fairly assess the prediction accuracy. When we do that, we find that ancestry predictions for purebred dogs are >98% accurate, the most accurate on the market. If interested, you can find more details on our latest breed detection system here.

dalek_9991 karma

What happens when you get a purebred tested? My Corgi, for example - would she come up 100% Corgi, or do purebreds show any percentage of ancestor breeds?

WisdomPanel_Research2 karma

Purebreds like Pembroke or Cardigan Welsh Corgis are what’s called a “closed” population -- this means there are no new introductions of unpedigreed dogs -- and they’ve been influenced by western-style kennel clubs for 150 years. So they pretty much come back as 100% of one breed (or the other Corgi, in this case).
However, there are other breeds where the registry’s definition of purebred (usually three generations breeding records) and the genetic findings don’t agree. We see this most commonly in breeds not under the influence of western-style kennel clubs, or ones in which the studbook is open. For example, some breeds from the Middle East have been carefully kept and bred for hundreds if not thousands of years, but are called a particular breed based on location and phenotype (appearance), rather than kennel club pedigrees.
There’s also a strong component of time when considering purebreds because it takes generations for a population to become sufficiently genetically distinct to reliably distinguish them from their founding breeds. So a much more recent breed like American Bully, for example, even if pedigreed, will still get founding breeds reported out, such as APBT and other bully breeds.
-- CK and JH

ItsAllFunAndGamess1 karma

I've done wisdom panel 2.0 for both of my dogs back in 2017 or 2018. Is it worth retesting them? Why?

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

Yes. As we've mentioned in other responses, the science is always evolving, and we’ve made a lot of improvements since 2017/2018. For instance, in July, we launched a brand new breed detection system that is >98% accurate, uses the full extent of our customer DNA genotyping microarray chip and reports >350 breeds (including village and/or street dogs).

We are in the process of updating all reports from November 2019 onwards - if yours hasn’t been updated, it should be soon! Since you tested before November 2019, you should receive an email soon on how to retest your dogs at a discounted rate.

edit: to add a bit more science behind the improvements :)

Hopscotch71 karma

Hello! I used a Wisdom Panel DNA kit for my rescue dog several years ago. Has there been any updates to them that would provide additional accuracy? I ask, because at the time my dog was determined to be a Labrador x Coonhound mix, with trace amounts of Jack Russell Terrier at lower confidence levels. Would her profile be updated, or would a new test provide more details? 23&me provides new details regularly for myself without having to have submitted a new sample.

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

Hi! This past July we launched a brand new breed detection system that is >98% accurate, making it the most accurate on the market and using the full extent of our customer DNA genotyping microarray chip and reporting >350 breeds. We are also in the process of updating all results from US samples submitted after November 2019. If you tested before then, we will be emailing you soon with a special option to retest your pup at a significantly discounted rate. (PS -- Lab x Coonhound mix sounds pretty adorable!)
-- BF and JH

hukep1 karma

I guess I missed it. Are there any applications of your research in human medicine ?

WisdomPanel_Research3 karma

Definitely! Dogs as our “best friend” applies here. Some researchers argue that dogs are the best model for human disease, as they have a lot of the same spontaneously occurring genetic diseases, they share our environment more than any other species (except maybe cats), and their response to treatment is often more predictive of a human’s, compared to mice or rat models. There’s a Comparative Oncology Department at NIH developed around this idea, and they welcome pet parents of dogs and cats to work with them. It’s a win-win-win because the pets benefit from treatment, people benefit from this early learning, and the researchers can often target their research faster where it counts.
-- CK, BF

sadeasement1 karma

Another question -- I always hear that you're 98% accurate, but how do you assess accuracy in this case?

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

We noted this in another answer, but here's a little bit about how we determine accuracy for our testing process:
We start with the world’s largest database of dogs and then curate a set for the breed reference panel (currently >21,000 dogs and counting). We use dimensional reduction techniques to identify how each dog relates to every other dog, which allows for extensive quality control. And then we use our novel algorithm to predict the ancestry of each dog. Using rigorous validation techniques, called cross-validation, allows us to fairly assess the prediction accuracy. When we do that, we find that ancestry predictions for purebred dogs are >98% accurate, the most accurate on the market. If interested, you can find more details on our latest breed detection system here.

sadeasement1 karma

I noticed that your reports tend to have a lot of matches, whereas Embark will usually have like 6 maximum and everything else is "supermutt". Do you think your low-percentage matches are accurate? If not, do you think it's something that will be improved on as you get more data?

Example from the fabulous r/doggydna sub

(Edited because my original phrasing didn't make sense)

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

Hi! Hope you don't mind the crosspost, but this answer pretty much sums it up (though very long-winded!)

zachalicious1 karma

I did Wisdom Panel 2.5 back in 2016 on our previous dog, and he came back 37.5% American Staffordshire, 25% GSD, 12.5% Chow, and 25% other/mixed breed. The other appeared to be mostly herding and/or sporting, with some hound mixed in. I suppose there could be some extra large breed lurking in the other/mixed, but given that he was 130 lbs he was way bigger than the 75% of known breeds, and really didn't resemble any of them. You mentioned sending updated results to those from 2019 and later, but will there be any updates for people that submitted further back?

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

Interestingly, like in people, adult body size in dogs is a mix of both nature (genetics) and nurture (environment, nutrition, health history), so it’s very complex. Body shape is also determined by many factors. GSD/Chow mixes are a great example - combine those two breeds, and you often get what looks like a Labrador’s head! My last dog was GSD and Boxer, and those mixes are frequently labeled as “ridgeless Rhodesian Ridgebacks.” Of the size genes in dogs, many known are for what makes dogs small, with fewer known for what makes them large. It’s a bit of a blind spot in our body of knowledge, but we’ll improve the weight predictions over time as the science progresses. Wisdom Panel’s weight range predictions are for a healthy “body condition score”, so there’s also the possibility that dogs can be overweight.

We just introduced detection of the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) among other updates, so it’s possible your dog would have additional breeds detected that help explain his large size if you could retest. We also know that breeds and lines not primarily bred for the show ring tend to have more variability in size -- AmStaffs and APBTs are particularly known for this. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to automatically update results for dogs tested prior to November 2019, but look for an email later this year for options to retest your pups at a discounted rate.
-- CK

olivemor1 karma

Are English Shepherds a breed that can be tested for with Wisdom Panel?

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

Yep! Added in July of this year. Check it out!


beepboopbopem1 karma

Hello! I recently got my rescue dog's results back, and we honestly had no idea, but were surprised she didn't come back as an Australian Kelpie at all (she looks identical to the breed). Here's her breakdown:


26 % Australian Shepherd

16% Miniature American Shepherd

4% Border Collie

4% Australian Cattle Dog

3% German Shepherd Dog

3% Collie


13% Norwegian Elkhound

5% American Eskimo Dog


16% Labrador Retriever

Golden Retriever


4% Doberman Pinscher

3% Rottweiler


1% Lancashire Heeler

My question is do you do testing for Australian Kelpie? I can definitely see most of these breeds applying to their ancestry. Thank you!

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

Australian Kelpies are pretty rare in the United States, but we see tons of them in our Australian testing, and we definitely detect the breed. However, they are a herding breed closely related to the Border Collie, and to some degree, the Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), the Miniature American Shepherd Dog, and Australian Shepherd Dog, so if your dog inherited short coat from the ACD or Lab, and the coloring of the Australian/Mini American Shepherd Dog, your dog could easily look like one, and even have the same herding behaviors!
-- CK

Cmpetty1 karma

How accurate can result categories under 5% be considered? I have a mixed breed dog that is 50% one breed, and the rest broken into very small percentages.

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

Crossposting our answer to this question (business-focused, question 2) to explain the small percentages piece. Otherwise, not sure when you tested but every pet parent in the US that tested with us after November 2019 should receive an update to their results to our most accurate and up-to-date breed detection system within the next few months (if you don’t have it already). If you tested before November 2019, you should receive an email soon on how to retest your dogs at a discounted rate.

WorkStudyPlay1 karma

How different are pet DNA testing from human DNA testing for ethnicity/nationality? Or are they practically the same?

WisdomPanel_Research1 karma

The testing part is quite similar: Wisdom Panel uses the same chip technology that human companies use, but instead optimized for dogs and cats.

We often contextualize cat and dog ancestry results by comparing to human populations, because ancestry is basically about shared population history, regardless of the species. However, dog populations often had very strong bottlenecks, due to their relatively long domestication and the continual creation and maintenance of distinct breeds. This makes dogs a bit less like human populations -- in fact, the more random breeding patterns of cats and free-ranging street dogs often broadly resemble the patterns found in human populations. The net effect is that dog breeds are more typified and distinct when compared to each other, than say, between human (and cat and street dog) populations across the same geographies.

One big effect over the last few centuries, though, is that dog, cat and human populations have all experienced spread around the world and extensive inter-regional contact between populations, which is reflected in their genetics.
--JH and CK

olivemor1 karma

I can choose between Wisdom Panel and Embark. Why should I choose WP? What makes WP stand out?

WisdomPanel_Research0 karma

Glad you asked! To start, we've been studying pet DNA longer (20+ years), tested 3x as many dogs, and now report breed mix with the highest accuracy (>98%). We are using the world’s largest dog DNA database the power scientific research that we believe will ultimately help pets live longer happier lives.
Our defining new difference is that we're now the most accurate thanks to the breed detection system we launched in July. Using the world's largest breed database (>21,000 samples and counting) and an advanced suite of algorithms, we can predict a dog's breed mix with over 98% accuracy. And as a result, no ancestry goes unexplained (e.g., "Supermutt"). Our products are also more comprehensive (offering hundreds of health and traits tests) while being less expensive. And we're the pet DNA service most used by veterinarians.
Thanks for letting us brag a little ;)
-- BF, JH

dazedan_confused-9 karma


WisdomPanel_Research4 karma

Obviously we mean dogs and cats 🤔