We first knew about dog DNA tests when we found a kit in the local pet shop. We were interested to try it but I wanted to do some research on the subject first, so went online and found that the number of breeds they tested for was quite limited and didn't include Jack Russell Terriers. As we have two JRTs, one pure and one a cross (got from a rescue centre), I looked for similar tests and found this one from Mars. Their breed list contains many more breeds than all similar tests I found, so we decided to give it a go.
The actual kit arrived quickly in a small white envelope. It contained two swabs and the instructions. If you've ever watched CSI, you know the drill with the swabs! Insert the end of the swab (no crime scene tape or gloves included, sadly) into the dog's mouth between the gums and the cheek, and then rotate the swab gently to scrape off some of the cheek cells. You are supposed to do this for 30 seconds, and the swabs aren't the cotton bud type as seen in CSI, but have mini bristles like a pipe cleaner or bottle brush. My dog (Jasper) is pretty laid back but he didn't like the swab at first, although he got used to it quickly enough.
Once you have finished, you need to let the swabs dry for 5 minutes, and then put them back in the packets they came in (don't seal them up). Then just pop in the supplied envelope and send off for analysis. This took a while, and there wasn't much feedback to keep us updated of the status. There is a website where you are supposed to be able to check the progress, but it just has three stages and stayed at "Processing" for much of the time.
When the results came through, I was initially disappointed, as they didn't seem to match our preconceptions of what we thought Jasper was! Our guess was he was part collie, or perhaps corgi, as well as JRT; the report said that he isn't a Jack Russell at all! In fact he is a total mix of Staffie, Labrador, various Terriers, Maltese and Lhasa Apso! The breed report you get is an eight-page PDF file that explains all the different characteristics of the various breeds, and as we read through it, most of it did make sense.
We still don't see any Maltese/Lhasa Apso in him, as he does look like a big JRT for the most part. He does have the build and gums of a Staffie though, and walks like one. He has no interest in chasing things like our pure JRT, and he is just calm and chilled 99% of the time. The dog he most resembles in the report is the Smooth Fox Terrier, but apparently he only has 6.28% of that in him!
Overall you can debate the accuracy of these tests, but it was certainly interesting and I can see most of the breeds in him. The test is a bit on the pricey side but if you love your dog and just want to find out a bit more about them, it's worth it :)