Every dog is different, and since dogs still haven't evolved to speak to us, sometimes it's very hard to determine what are the natural tendencies, requirements and behaviors of a certain breed. My Wisdom dog DNA test kit review below should explain how to use this product to find out the breed and then cater to your dogs' exact needs, use the most suitable behavioral training approach and come up with the best diet.
Updated on October, 2016: Wisdom Panel used to be the most popular dog DNA test kit for dogs. However, a new company called Embark Vet has entered the canine gene testing scene and developed an improved version of DNA testing kits for dogs.
If you want to learn more about dog DNA tests, how they work, how effective they are and how the whole process of testing your dog's DNA looks like, I recommend you watch and read our review of Embark‘s new canine DNA testing kit using the below link. For more information, listen to our podcast interview with Embark CEO Ryan Boyko.
WATCH & READ MORE: Embark Dog DNA Test Kit Review & Testing the Kit
Why is determining the breed that important?
There are two models of this Wisdom Panel Insights DNA testing kit and both are very effective: one is the original (you're reading about it now), which is more popular among dog owners, and the other one is a newer model (stay tuned – review of Wisdom Panel 2.0 is coming soon), a slightly less popular option.
A dog owner can never be too sure of the breed of his dog, especially if the dog has any mix in him/her. If you have a pedigreed animal, then you might be fine without this tool, however, most of us don't (not recorded, or not fully recorded dog's purebred lineage).
When dog owners aren't 100% sure what breed their dogs are, this can make it very difficult to determine reasons for dog's eerie behavior, find most fitting training approaches or even structure their diets so that it would benefit their “lifestyle”. In this instance, animals are very much like us: a lot of their personality is influenced by their DNA.
Once we can get a hold of our dogs’ DNA and determine the breed as well as many other factors, there will be no more guessing games or unnecessary experiments with the animal. We learn about how our dogs’ appearance and behavior is affected by their genetics and family tree.
In short, the DNA you'll collect using the Wisdom Panel kit will contain all the necessary information you need not only to turn your dog's life for the better and prolong it, but also to make the whole process of “being a dog owner” that much easier on yourself. Sounds good in theory, but does the product actually work?
Manufacturer: Mars Veterinary and Wisdom Panel Insights
Wisdom Panel mixed breed DNA test kit is made by an American company Mars Veterinary, based in Maryland, USA.
“Not surprisingly, like most products, not all dog breed DNA tests are created equal. The more breeds in a company’s database, the greater the chance for accuracyin their results,” said Nathan Sutter, PhD at Medical Genetics at Cornell University [source]
And the manufacturer Mars Veterinary has a huge database of validated dog breeds.
If you own a mixed breed dog, you can use Wisdom dog DNA test kit in accordance with their directory to identify your pet's breed. Everything related to your furry friend, including breed's history and genetics, can be found on the website.
This is still the most accurate method that dog owners use today.
WebMD.com, one of the most reliable online experts in health, explain why determining your mutt's breed is actually important; one of the products they recommend is in fact Wisdom Panel dog DNA test kit we're discussing here today.
Key benefits of the Wisdom dog DNA test kit
- 1,000 reviews on Amazon already!
- Very simple to use: It will not take you more than 15 minutes to go through the whole process.
- Accurate: Mars Veterinary are taking this very seriously and their breed database will provide you with the most accurate info on your pup.
- Easy-to-determine health issues: You would get a better idea as to the kind of health problems your dog is likely to develop over time, or possibly what s/he might be suffering from already.
- Various physical traits can be traced back to your dog’s ancestry.
- When mating is concerned: Very useful for breeders – allows you to “predict what kind of puppies you're most likely to receive”.
- Behavioral traits: You will learn how your dogs’ DNA affects his/her behavior; you'll finally know how to make your dog happy.
Wisdom dog DNA test kit review
I was going into this blind.
After a bit of research, I went ahead and bought the kit, presuming that I would have to put a lot of effort into collecting that DNA sample. But since I knew very little about the dog I recently adopted, this was somewhat necessary.
So my first fear was the complicated process of “collecting dog's DNA.” Sounds scary, right? Well, it wasn't; not by any stretch of imagination.
Much to my surprise, not only was the kit easy to use, but I was done with the entire process within 15 minutes. There's an instruction sheet that comes with the package, and it explains you how to go about collecting DNA samples in a very dummy-proof way.
This means that those of you who have never collected your dog's DNA samples (which is pretty much all of us) won't have any trouble whatsoever as long as you can read in English.
Wisdom Panel Insights' packaging itself consists of everything you need for the process (see below for the list of what's included in the package) – no need to buy anything additional, which is convenient.
My second “fear” was that I might need to get in touch with the manufacturer for some reason, which is often the case these days. Fortunately, I didn't have to do anything of the sort. In fact, let me put it bluntly for you…
All you need to do in order to get the results is to follow the instructions on the sheet and fill out the labels. Everything else has already been done or will be by the manufacturing company.
The way this pet DNA testing process works is like this: you get two q-tips which you use to get some saliva (DNA) from behind your dog's cheeks.
This process is extremely simple, however, there is one rule you must be very aware of: do not contaminate the DNA. Contaminated DNA might not bring you the most accurate results, but it's very easy to avoid making this mistake – follow the instructions.
To give you a better perspective of the instructions: do not feed your dog 2 hours prior to testing (I would suggest even longer).
Do not let them chew on absolutely anything and essentially try to make sure that your dog's mouth doesn't come in contact with anything throughout those 2 hours (this will require close monitoring).
My strategy was to give the dog some water 2 hours before testing and then spend the rest of the time with him.
Next, follow further instructions on how to send the samples to the company and wait for the results.
My report for this Wisdom Dog DNA test kit review went into great depths of details. It explained everything there was to know about Elise’s family tree and I got a clear picture as to why she didn't act like a typical, pure-bred German Shepherd, though she looked like one.
This will help me in picking a friend for Elise sometime down the road and I feel like I know her better now and can find the best approach to behavioral training with her.
One aspect that I initially disliked (and was surprised by!) was that the Wisdom dog DNA test kit comes with only two (2) swabs, which means you only have two chances not to screw up. Naturally, I started panicking about not doing this right the first time, but all that was for nothing.
I still have the second swab. Another complaint could be directed at the fact that we need to wait about 2 weeks for the results, however, given that they test this in the lab and have quite a few customers, this is totally understandable.
Amazon customers' rating
You don't need to trust this one single Wisdom Dog DNA test kit review – take a look at what others are saying. Amazon has over 1,000 customers who bought it and reviewed this doggy DNA testing kit.
For additional information from other customers, you might want to check the Q&A page where some of your questions might have been answered already. If not, you always have the comments section below this review – ask away!
Happy Vegan's review (read the full Amazon review): “I chose Wisdom Panel for their large breed database. Of the North American companies, WP is the only to include Australian Cattle Dog in their database. This was very important to me…“ 5 out of 5
Amanda's review (read the full Amazon review): “So in summery, DNA sample taking turned out to be a snap, from ordering it off amazon to getting my results took 13 and 14 days respectively and I believe the results to be 100% correct…” 5 out of 5
Review by a biologist (read the full Amazon review): “I thought it might prove beneficial for people to read a review from someone who essentially does genotyping (this test) as part of his job. […] So that is my two cents on the subject…” 4 out of 5
What's in the Wisdom Panel's package?
I bought mine from Amazon, so I can't vouch for other retailers. Wisdom Panel Insights mixed breed DNA testing kit consisted of:
- Instruction sheet/manual
- 1 pre-paid shipping Label (receipt)
- 2 DNA cheek swabs
- Protective sleeve for dry swab
Instructions on how to use Wisdom Panel Insights kit
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to properly collect your dog's DNA using these cheek swabs.
1. Take the swab out of the sleeve. DO NOT touch the tip of it!
2. Roll the swab’s bristles behind the dog's cheeks for up to 15 seconds
3. Insert the swab handle into the hole in the carton
4. Activate the test on the website
5. Fill out the details on the label and apply it on to the swab sleeve
6. Insert the dry swabs into the swab sleeves and DO NOT reopen
7. Place these into the package
8. Mail the product to the company after filling out shipping label details
As mentioned above in the Wisdom Dog DNA test kit review, make sure that your dog hasn't eaten or chew on anything for at least 2 hours. I would recommend a longer period as well as giving your dog plenty of water before you “start the timer.”
What will the report tell you?
1. It will show all the data on the ancestry of your dog by breed
2. Breed's profile page that will describe the kind of breeds detected in your pet
3. Results of different principle component analysis
4. Supply a certificate of your dog's ancestry breakdown that can be framed
5. Information page with all the necessary contact details
For more detailed review of the actual DNA testing report, please see below.
Find out your dog's breed and ancestry!
To the right you can find one page copy from the mock report. Please see the full example of “What's inside my report” by clicking here (PDF; opens in a new window).
Based from what I found when doing my research for this Wisdom Dog DNA test kit review, there are no reported side effects after using this kit (difficult to imagine how can it actually impact anything).
Price. Some people find the price to be too high, however, considering the fact that the company is actually doing the test for you in their own labs, I see it as a fair price. Not the best, but not the worst either. Label it “Worth It,” please.
You've got 2 chances. I'm repeating this for the third time now because I want you guys to understand that you've only getting TWO swabs to perform the test. One to actually do it, and the other one “just in case” or if you have another dog. You must be very careful when collecting your pet's DNA and follow the instructions to a tee.
Important to note: some people advise to perform the test early in the morning. I personally would advise against that. Why? Because if you do it in the early morning after you (and supposedly the dog) have just woken up, you don't really know what s/he was chewing on just a moment ago. It doesn't necessarily have to be food – any substances in the mouth can alter the results more or less.
I would advise to perform this later in the day, after you closely monitor your dog's activity for at least 2 hours. Ideally, just spend some quality time with him/her indoors, minimizing any chance of your dog putting anything in their mouth.
VIDEO: Customer's experience with Wisdom Panel's DNA testing
So is it worth it?
Let's sum up this Wisdom Dog DNA test kit review. I personally found the whole process of collecting my dog's DNA using the Wisdom dog DNA test kit pretty straight forward and easy, as long as you follow the instructions. They are clear and cover every step in enough detail.
Mars Veterinary's customer service is also excellent – I had an opportunity to talk to one of the vets there before they sent me my results and learned a great deal about the process. The whole thing took a bit less than 2 weeks, which I consider pretty fair.
Last thing I want to mention is that you shouldn't come to this with greatest expectations. While you will most definitely receive some information about your canine that will be valuable to you as a dog owner, I have seen some reviews where people claimed not to agree entirely with the results.
This can happen if your pet is, if I can put it this way, very mixed. One thing is for certain though: you will love the results regardless, if only because it's curious to learn what your dog's family tree is.
In any case, if you'd love to learn more about your pet so as to create a better life for him/her and for yourself, or you're just curious to know where your dog comes from and what class/breed they actually belong to, feel free to buy the Wisdom dog DNA test kit without any fear. The product works great, and is most definitely worth the price!