After being somewhat underwhelmed by the transparency behind the dog DNA tests we did for Clover and Tori, we used a different dog DNA testing company (Embark) to check Mr Stix's health markers and breed mix. The results just arrived. I'm happy-bawling and laughing at the results.
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Dog DNA Test Results
I know it's all automated, but it's a lovely touch that the company creates a reveal video. Totally made me cry.
Yep. It looks like Mr Stix is mostly American Foxhound and Border Collie with a little German Shepherd and other funny things mixed in, including "super mutt."
From the get-go, the shelter listed Mr Stix as a border collie mix. His face looks JUST LIKE Clover's, and he stalks the girls like a herding dog. Goodness knows he is wicked smart too, so it's fun to have that confirmed.
It's especially sweet today of all days ... the 6th anniversary of the death of our original canine heroine, Lilly.
And, based on how he barks like a hound dog sometimes -- baaarooooof! I guess it's no surprise that there is indeed hound in there.
Nope, Not Terrier, Not Pointer!
He is relentless and persistent in a way the girls just aren't, so I was convinced that he also had some terrier in him. I was totally wrong. I guess the wiry parts of his coat probably come from the German Shepherd genes.
As he got bigger, he started to look more like a small Pointer, but there is no Pointer in there at all. Ha!
Maybe Relatives Via Dog DNA Tests?
One of the things I like about Embark tests is that if you make your results accessible to the public, then there is a chance they can tell you if any of your dog's relatives (parents, littermates, even) have been tested as well (assuming they make their results public too).
Alas, so far the closest they have in their database are a couple of dogs who share like 11% of their DNA with Mr Stix.
Who knows, though. Maybe more will be found in the future!
Health Results Too!
We're thrilled that Mr Stix tested clear for more than 180 potential health risks with genetic markers, including the all-important MDR1 marker (which can make dogs scary-susceptible to bad reactions to certain drugs).
Unlike the company we used for Clover and Tori's DNA tests, Embark does provide the full list of genetic markers they tested.
The only thing they found is that he has one copy of a variant that may make one of his liver values look low in blood tests. Here is what the report says:
Alanine Aminotransferase Activity result: Low Normal
Mr. Stix has one copy of a variant associated with reduced ALT activity as measured on veterinary blood chemistry panels. Please inform your veterinarian that Mr. Stix has this genotype, as ALT is often used as an indicator of liver health and Mr. Stix is likely to have a lower than average resting ALT activity. As such, an increase in Mr. Stix’s ALT activity could be evidence of liver damage, even if it is within normal limits by standard ALT reference ranges.
We'll be taking all of this info as well as Mr Stix's full medical records from the shelter, including way too many x-rays, to our veterinarian in the New Year. We shared a bunch of his x-rays on our Facebook page recently. They are pretty wild!
So, that's the big news, I guess.
We'll leave you with our darling boy dressed as Santa.
I like mixed breed dogs, so your blog was very interesting to me.
What were the results as far as the mixes from the first DNA company? Did you do that too, or have anything to compare? I ran a dog with the other company and he came back half Chihuahua and Half Toy Poodle…which was a joke on a 30 pound dog that looks like an Aussie X and howls like a Beagle…and has a long body, shorter legs and a white tip on his black tail. If fought them and got my money back. I do have a toy poodle mix in the house…but it’s not him! Sigh. They gave me a hard time getting my money back. Haven’t tried Embark yet.
He is also definitely a herding dog too.
Hi, Kristyl — We used Royal Canin/Wisdom Panel only for the girls, and Embark only for Mr. Stix. We did not do both for any of the dogs. I cannot find it right now, but a friend shared a video a while back that talked about the strengths of both tests, and I decided that I’d try Embark — both because I think it’s a better test but also because they provide a strong level of transparency that I just did not get from Wisdom Panel folks. I’ll share the video if / when I find it.
This is so interesting, Rox. He is an adorable dog and probably extra smart because of his unique ancestral mix. Good on you for having this done. Cindy W.
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