Two summers ago, I adopted my dog Tico from the local Animal Care and Control shelter. The only things I really knew about him were that he was a pit bull mix, he was about 3 1/2 years old at the time, he'd been an owner surrender, and he was great with other dogs and with kids. With his big floppy ears and thin frame, I wondered what the "mix" part could possibly comprise, so I did what any curious new dog mom would do: I ordered a doggie DNA kit! I decided to go with the Wisdom Panel 3.0, given its glowing reviews and reasonable price ($75).
The process is super-simple: The kit comes with two swabs that you rub around your dog's gums to get them full of doggo DNA (okay, this part may or may not be simple, depending on how patient your pup is), then you just stick 'em back in the box and mail it in. Easy as pie. You activate your account online with a code you'll find in the kit, and results are emailed to you within two to three weeks.
As it turns out, Tico is indeed mostly American Staffordshire terrier (aka a breed that falls under the pit bull umbrella), with seven out of eight of his great-grandparents (aw) likely being one. As for the one mystery ancestor, evidence was not found that definitively linked him to any one specific breed, but the other 12.75% of his ancestry is most likely in the terrier, herding, or sighthound family — with rat terrier being a strong contender. (Which would explain his tendency to chase rats and sniff them out from nearly halfway up the block.) The test also screens your dog's DNA for multi-drug sensitivity, or a genetic mutation that's sometimes found in mixed-breed dogs and a handful of specific breeds, which limits their ability to absorb certain drugs. I'd definitely recommend the Wisdom Panel test to any dog parent with a mutt. Not only will it satisfy your curiosity, but it could also help you stay ahead of potential health issues! —Emmy Favilla
Get it from Amazon or Walmart for $74.99.