Wisdom Panel 3.0 and 4.0 are two of the best dog DNA tests for breed identification.
If you need to know whether your dog is a purebred, a designer dog or a mixed breed, then Wisdom Panel the right choice.
Both of these tests – in addition to their newer Mixed Breed test – provide a comprehensive breed breakdown as well as a genetic health screening report for your dog.
Some of Wisdom Panel’s best features include:
- Genetic health screening. Wisdom Panel 3.0 screens for MDR1 (Multi-Drug Resistance 1) while the 4.0 kit tests for both MDR1 and EIC (Exercise-induced collapse).
- Wolf and coyote detection. Both panels can test for the presence of Wolf or Coyote ancestry in your dog.
- Trait analysis. Both panels will analyze your dog’s physical traits based on his genetic makeup.
- The most comprehensive breed-identification analytics in the home-based testing market.
Wisdom Panel uses a database of more than 15,000 DNA samples representing over 250 breeds to provide you with a detailed breed analysis of your pet. Because they have the largest DNA database, their test is more accurate and produces a more detailed report compared to other tests.
By looking at more than 1,800 genetic markers, they drill down into your dog’s ancestry to the third generation.
How It Works
The first step is to choose your preferred test panel between the 3.0 and the 4.0.
There isn’t much difference between the two. The only update Wisdom Panel made in the 4th version is the introduction of an EIC (Exercise-induced collapse) genetic mutation test.
When it comes to breeding identification, the two panels are the same.
You can even see the similarity between the two tests in the pricing. The 3.0 kit costs about $80 while the 4.0 kit goes for $85.
If you want to know what breed your dog is, Wisdom Panel 3.0 is good enough. But for just $5 extra, you can also get an analysis of whether your dog is at risk of EIC, a potentially fatal condition.
If you decide to go with the 3.0 kit, you’ll have to get it from various retailers such as Amazon. It’s not available on the official Wisdom Panel website.
If you want the 4.0 kit, it is available exclusively on WisdomPanel.com.
Note: If you are from the UK, you’ll notice that the UK official website only carries the 3.0 panel. That’s because the latest kit is not available over there yet.
Once you order the kit, it will arrive in your mail in a few days.
You need to swab your dog’s cheek as instructed to get a good quality sample. Here’s a brief video showing the process.
The kit contains two swabs. One acts as a backup in case the other one doesn’t contain enough DNA. If the swabs are damaged or compromised in any way, contact Wisdom Panel, and they’ll send you replacement swabs for free.
Activate your kit online then repackage the swabs and mail the samples back to Wisdom Panel for testing.
You’ll get an email notification to confirm that the samples have arrived.
After that, it takes 2-3 weeks before the results are ready. You’ll get an email when the report is ready with a link to where you can log in and view it.
You can easily share the results with your vet for further analysis.
What’s In the Report?
The final report is very comprehensive, covering mostly details about your dog’s breed and ancestry. It also touches a bit on your dog’s health, specifically in regards to two genetic mutations: EIC and MDR1.
Here’s what to expect from the report.
- Breed Identification
This is the main part of the report. It breaks down your dog’s ancestry into the different breeds identified in the DNA sample.
Wisdom Panel uses a specially designed IlluminaTM InfiniumTM chip to genotype the DNA sample. They study over 1800 markers and compare them to the more than 15,000 DNA samples they have in their database.
These samples represent more than 250 breeds of dogs.
An algorithm compares the genetic markers with what is already there in the database and comes up with the closest breed estimation.
The breed breakdown is represented in a beautiful and easy-to-understand pie chart. You don’t have to read any technical data.
Note that the test only identifies breeds up to the third generation. This is for accuracy sake. Beyond that, the results are too broad to be definite.
Wisdom Panel will provide estimate percentages for all the breeds they find in the DNA within the first three generations.
If there are other breeds beyond that, they represent all of them as a single percentage and then break them down into breed groups.
Several dog breed groups are encompassing many different individual breeds. They include Toy, Working, Herding, Sporting, Hound, Non-sporting and Terrier Groups among others.
Your dog can have her ancestry descending from more than one group.
The report contains details for each dog breed or group identified, explaining their history and common features.
How accurate is all this?
I guess that’s the big question for dog owners. How much can you trust what the report says?
DNA testing and analysis have never been an exact science. It’s all about close estimations. Wisdom Panel does a lot to get as close as they can to a definitive analysis.
They use the latest technology including a custom-designed chip to get the most accurate data from a DNA sample.
There is also the fact that they have the largest DNA database compared to other pet DNA test providers. With more samples to compare your dog’s DNA to, they can provide more accurate and detailed breed information.
They still have a lot of work to do when it comes to diversifying their database. They admit that their database is skewed towards breeds with US ancestry.
Their database consists mostly of pure breeds registered by the American Kennel Club.
If your dog has foreign roots, the breed identification report is not going to be as definitive.
But they are working on adding more breeds to their database.
Overall, it’s a fairly accurate test. Most pet owners found that the breeds uncovered by the test closely matched the characteristics of their dog including temperament and physical characteristics.
The family tree is part of the breed identification report. It gives you a clearer snapshot of your dog’s ancestry.
To identify your dog’s family tree, the DNA algorithm matches your dog’s genetic markers against possible pedigree family trees.
It starts with a simple tree consisting of pure breeds on both the mother’s and father’s side. If your dog matches that tree, then it is a purebred.
If it doesn’t, the algorithm moves on to a tree consisting of two different purebreds. If it matches your dog’s DNA, your dog is a designer dog.
If it doesn’t, the algorithm continues matching the genetic markers to millions of other possible family trees until it finds the one that closely matches your dog’s DNA profile. The final tree may contain as many as eight different breeds.
Here’s a video that explains how Wisdom Panel creates a family tree.
Remember this is just a close estimation and not a definitive representation of your dog’s ancestry.
To make it as accurate as possible, Wisdom Panel limits the tree to three generations. That is, until the great-grandparents level.
3. Basic Health Results
One of the new features introduced in Wisdom Panel 3.0 is genetic health screening for multi-drug resistance or MDR1.
This is a genetic mutation that causes increased sensitivity to the side effects of certain medications. Dogs with this mutation do not tolerate some drugs as well as normal dogs.
MDR1 is potentially fatal. In some cases, it could result in severe symptoms like seizures, loss of balance (ataxia), lack of coordination and blindness.
The health report will tell you whether your dog is at risk, whether he is a carrier or if he is in the clear.
Wisdom Panel 4.0 added another health test in addition to MDR1 screening: the EIC mutation test
Exercise-induced collapse or EIC is a very serious mutation that causes dogs to become intolerant to prolonged periods of strenuous activity.
After 5-25 minutes of exercise, the dog will suddenly show signs of strain including loss of balance, incoordination, and weakness. Some dogs have died after experiencing an episode of EIC.
The Wisdom Panel report will tell you if your dog is at risk, if he is a carrier or if he is in the clear.
It’s important to share your health results with your vet (there is a sharing button in the report) especially if the test determines your dog is at risk or is a carrier.
Note: If you want a more comprehensive health report, Wisdom Panel has a health + breed identification package that they sell for $150. It screens for more than 150 genetic health conditions.
4. Traits Analysis
From your dog’s genetic markers, Wisdom Panel predicts your dog physical characteristics and explains each.
Some of the characteristics they explain include ear shape, facial hair, coat color and leg length.
This part of the report is an excellent way to determine how accurate the test was. If you have an adult dog, you can match its actual characteristics to those predicted by the report.
If the test was for a puppy, you get a picture of what it will look like when older.
5. Predicted Weight Profile
Before they put away the DNA data from your dog there’s yet one more thing they glean from it; your dog’s ideal weight range.
You can then manage their nutrition to stay within this range. But it’s a good idea to talk to your vet first before you act on this information.
This is because there are many other factors like pregnancy, the environment and overall health that determine the ideal weight range.
The report also includes a digital certificate certifying the test and showing the breed breakdown for your dog.
Pros of Cons of Wisdom Panel 3.0 and 4.0 Tests
- Comprehensive breed identification test.
- Detailed and easy-to-read report.
- Includes basic genetic health screening.
- Easy-to-use kit with clear sample collection instructions.
- Health screening only covers two diseases.
- Limited breed information for dogs with foreign ancestry.
- No genetic age prediction.
Where to Buy
I recommend shopping on Amazon to buy the Wisdom Panel 3.0 test kit, the Mixed Breed test and most other Wisdom Panel tests. There are thousands of verified pet owner reviews there, plus great discounts.
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