My wife and I rescued a 25lb dog from a humane society who definitely had some papillon in him. However, the "average weight" according to a bunch of different websites of a papillon is 7.5-10 lbs... so we figured he had something else in him.

I bought my wife a Wisdom Panel 3.0 Dog Breed Identification Test for Christmas, and when we got the results back it said he was 100% papillon!

...This seems not possible, given he is 2.5 times heavier than the max range. Is the DNA test inaccurate, or are weight variations of this magnitude "reasonable"? It seems odd, especially since the Wisdom Panel people are willing to give us an official certificate of his "pure bred-ness".

  • is it only the weight or is the size wrong too,or put in an other way is the dog overweight or larger than average. – trond hansen Jan 17 at 18:24
  • The dog isn't overweight - he's physically fit and athletic... that's why it seems so weird. – Flaid Jan 17 at 18:41
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    Despite the answer provided the genetics test aren't 100% accurate and will pick the closest breeds it has. Those tests are more for fun or to rule out Pitbull in breed restricted areas. – Rebecca RVT Jan 18 at 12:45
  • When you sent in the breed identification test, did you tell them you thought he was papillon? Or did they get that without any hints? – James Jenkins Jan 18 at 12:51
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    @JamesJenkins no, the only thing we had to do was provide two cheek swab samples and register the kit number on their website before mailing it in. – Flaid Jan 18 at 12:53
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Genetics, Yes:

The genetics test you have linked shows the following: over 250 breeds. The problem is very likely in the methodology (way they try to figure out the breed). This is because all dogs, if size would not be a problem, can breed. It is still one species. Even a wolf can breed with, say a labradoodle, and produce fertile offspring (just not a good pets with that much wolf).

So, this company has taken at least 250 genetic samples from "pure breeds" and then tries to see if there are genetic differences between them. Of course there are. But those can be quite small: breeds are selected on mostly by two things: exterior and behaviour. Small you say? Yes: the amount of genes does not change, just the ones that get expressed: they are doing something with the dog. But they do not change the number of genes, or add a new functionality.

So, your lovely *Medium sized papillon had won a genetic lottery: some of its ancestry is a mix with papillon, but the papillon genes for exterior won out, except for size. Now, the other ancestry will have left its trace in the DNA of your dog, its that the company doing the testing did not test on those parts, or could not find them. But that does not exclude the possibility...

Without knowing the algorithm this company used we can only say that your lovely dog has a lot of genes from its papillon ancestry expressed. And that is about it.


Breed, No:

But as your papillon is not within breed standards, in that way it will not be considered part of that breed. It also lacks the papers to show it's ancestry, the normal way of considering "pure" breed. And it seems that size is one thing that is does not varies much from its parents. It will be useful to talk to breeders of papillons about your dog.

As for "Wisdom Panel official certificate of pure bred-ness". Don't think that will hold with the kennel club or with the breeders association for papillons.


*Poodles use at least 3 sizes: Standard Poodle, Miniature Poodle and Toy Poodle. Normal papillon seems to be the size of Toy Poodles.

disclaimer: I am no breeder nor geneticist.

  • 3
    This is pretty much what I figured, too. I've read reviews of this same DNA test where people are getting results with "25% 'mixed'" or something like that, so I thought it was odd that his result was just purely "100% papillon". It doesn't really matter anyway, since he's a good boy :) – Flaid Jan 18 at 12:56

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