Usefulness of Wisdom DNA test for Basenjis

  • We've adopted a 1 year old-ish presumed Basenji mix from a local shelter. At 40 pounds, we knew there was something bigger in there somewhere, and when we got the results back found she was 25% German Shepherd, 25% ChowChow and .... the puzzler, 50% "Breed Groups", a not very helpful gemish that they went on to say maybe something from the Terrier, Sporting, Middle Eastern and African, or Guard groups. She's the most mischievous dog I've ever met, only a little aloof, baroos rarely, super soft, little dog smell, tail curls more when excited, races up trees, runs with leaps and bounds, white tipped paws and tail, with only half a wrap-around white collar, wrinkled brow. In short lots of Basenji characteristics. Can certainly see the Shepherd, and not the Chow, but wondering if the $150 DNA test to see how much Basenji she is was well spent.
    So my question for the group is what kind of details have others gotten from Wisdom Health's DNA test? A real number like 100%, 50% or 25%? Or the vague info I got?

  • She is cute as a button! Enjoy her for who she is (not what she might be).

  • Sure looks like a Basenji! And yeah, looks are totally deceiving. LOL Without a size reference I would think your pup was more like 30 pounds. Also very cute and definitely mischievous looking. (You can see the gears turning).

    I think it's a personal decision whether you do a different DNA test. Some people care. Some don't. I'd likely do it just because I'd be curious. I've never had a DNA test done for a dog but it should be fairly accurate. Basenjis don't share much DNA with other breeds so you wouldn't expect much confusion. (Rat terriers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Azawakhs). That might in fact have been the "African" part of the results.

  • Oh my, that face! You can almost see the gears turning in that head of hers! She's like a basenji mix to me, but what do I know? At any rate, enjoy her. The mischievousness is going to come out sooner or later, and you will have your hands full.
    She is adorable.


  • I also did Wisdom for my presumed basenji mix and also got German Shepherd, Chow Chow, American Eskimo, Boston Terrier and the rest breed groups. According to his DNA he is 62.5% large, long haired breed and he is a whopping 32 pounds and short hair. He sure acts like a basenji, which I've had all my life, so we choose to believe that he has some in there somewhere!

  • Thanks, all. I guess I can always contact Wisdom directly in hopes they'll help with the interpretation. I'll post their response. Not sure how long they've been at it or how big their database is, but I'll see if they periodically re-run things to refine the results like AncestryDNA does for humans.
    Happy Holidays!

  • I have used Embark DNA tests. It does come back with basenji as expected. The health content has also been very helpful. When I was testing, the reviews on Wisdom were not as good. Perhaps you might want to try another test someday (it is on sale now, $145 includes health - there has been a sale for even less, but not sure if they'll do that again).
    She really has great eyeliner!! Beautiful!

  • @ngbass said in Usefulness of Wisdom DNA test for Basenjis:

    Sporting, Middle Eastern and African

    While they didn't come right out and say "Basenji", these general descriptors do not rule it out.

    • Sporting: yes ☑ Basenji's are "sight hounds" which were/are trained to accompany hunters. They are The AKC defines "Sporting breeds" as those developed to work closely with hunters.

    • African: yes ☑ The history of Basenji's indicates that they came from Africa where the Congo and Sudan tribes have been using the breed to hunt/track Lions (yes, Lions) for thousands of years.

    • Middle Eastern: yes ☑ 'Long, long, ago', Basenji's were shipped to Egypt as presents for ancient Pharohs, which would add their DNA to the gene pool of Middle Eastern canines.

    It might have been more comforting if they had said "50% Basenji", but what they did say was essentially "50% of things that make a Basenji". And, yes... she sure does "look" Basenji. Very pretty! Love her... even the Shepard/ChowChow parts. 😉

  • @ngbass said in Usefulness of Wisdom DNA test for Basenjis:


    She definitely looks part BASENJI to me. Some of the characteristics you mention also are typical basenji. Beautiful Dog! 🐾

  • Well, I got back with Wisdom with very pointed questions about our dog's test results, and was super impressed by the thoroughness of their answers. My hope was that given the fact Basenjis sprouted off the wolf tree so much earlier than other breeds, their DNA pattern would be distinct and hard to miss. I was right ... but regrettably they found no traces of Basenji in our Ella (aka H032342). The picture below shows the kind of data they can send you on request, and I hope that others who use this test for this purpose get in the green! Thanks for all the advice from the group ... but I guess I need to quit hanging out here and go loiter around one of the Mongrels-R-Us sites.

    PS Don't worry about Ella. She's one of the family and we're all having a blast.

    0_1578538088955_Ella's PCA.png

  • I guess the take away message is that many dogs can have the phenotype (looks/acts like one) without having the genotype (is one). Which is interesting given how many dogs that appear to be Basenji mixes turn out to not be, and why you really need to test to be sure. Maybe sometimes ignorance is bliss? 🙂

  • @ngbass said in Usefulness of Wisdom DNA test for Basenjis:

    no traces of Basenji

    Surprise!! I have to admit, I was certain she had "B" in her. Regardless, she is a pretty princess and we know she's loved. If you ever have any questions about this little impersonator, feel free to ask.

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