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The At-Home Dog DNA Test Results Are IN! We Finally Know What Oscar And Buttercup Are Really Made Of:)

At some point in my early childhood, I was told that I was Scottish. Or maybe I was told I had some Scottish in me. Whatever the case, I ran with it, and by the time the movie Braveheart hit theaters in 1995, I was telling everyone I was a full-on Scotsman. This was before we found out that Mel Gibson was a total racist piece of trash who should be forever shunned and never make movies again. But at the time, I was obsessed with being William Wallace – the long hair, the accent, the blue stuff on his face. He was a true son of Scotland, just like me.

Sure, my mom kept telling me I was mostly English and German, but that’s beside the fact. I mean, come on, my last name was Henderson, I had bushy eyebrows, and I liked plaid. How much more Scottish could one guy be? I clung to my kilt and have kept up the rouse to this very day. I still tell people I’m Scottish, which I know is probably not totally accurate. But I’ve never seen a DNA test that proves otherwise, and I’m not going to take one, because a DNA test could crumble my very identity. 

That’s why I had mixed feelings when we decided to give our dogs a DNA test. See, when we rescued Oscar and Buttercup, the shelter told us that they were Huskypoos — a mix of Husky and Poodle. The Poodle part makes sense, they’re curly blonde fluff monsters that don’t shed all that much. They’ve got little black button noses, puffy facial hair, and when we groom them they look ever so fancy. But Husky? Have you seen them? Other than their tails that gently curve upward, and the fact that they love to run in the snow, there’s absolutely no indication that they have any Husky in them. Of course, a doggy DNA test would tell us once and for all, if they did. 

But wait, I thought. What if being Husky to them was like being Scottish to me? What if they had already told all their doggy pals that they were big strong Huskies? What if they built their identities around the belief that they’re brave Arctic canines? Were we going to take that away from them and break their little doggy hearts? 

That’s when Emily told me how stupid I was being, and we gave them the tests.

We ordered a couple of different options to see if there was any variance between them. There are a few brands out there, but we went with Wisdom Panel and Embark.

Administering the tests was much easier than I expected, just a little swab on the cheek and done. If you’ve ever done an at-home COVID test, this is easier. You just swab, pack, and ship.

We did have to register both test kits on their respective websites, but even those were easy to set up and pretty user-friendly. The dogs got yummy treats afterward and we got sloppy dog kisses.

The hardest part of the whole process was waiting for the results. The Wisdom Panel came back first, within a couple of weeks. The Embark results were posted to the website and either we missed an email about it or they didn’t send one, but we didn’t see those results for about a month. User error? We don’t know. 

But we finally got all the cross-referenced results, and it turns out that our dogs are…

Drum roll…

Get ready…

Keep reading like one of those recipe blogs that makes you scroll for two hours before revealing the recipe…

Oscar and Buttercup are…


The shelter was right! According to Wisdom Panel, these little shooshies are 34% Husky and 25% Poodle, with some other breeds in there as well: 10% Shih Tzu, 9% Aussie Cattle Dog, and 8% Chihuahua. Wait, Chihuahua??

Embark has the Husky/Poodle percentage flipped: 37% Poodle and 29% Husky. It also picked up Australian Cattle Dog (12%), Lhasa Apso (6%), and what they call Supermutt (15%) 

And there’s more! They have siblings! There’s a sister out there named Brie and another named Lana, who lives in Long Beach! 

Should we invite them all up to the farmhouse and have a Huskypoo reunion? I think so! Would it be like a normal family reunion with watered-down lemonade and awkward small talk between relatives who aren’t close? Or would it be a fluffy dogpile of siblings? Who knows! 

One thing’s for certain, we can finally sit our dogs down, that is, if they’ll sit on command, and inform them that they are, without a doubt, Huskypoos. And if they want to keep telling other dogs that they’re full Husky, we’re fine with that too. It’ll be our little secret.

Photos by Kaitlin Green


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63 thoughts on “The At-Home Dog DNA Test Results Are IN! We Finally Know What Oscar And Buttercup Are Really Made Of:)

  1. It’s nice to know for certain. I, on the other hand, did not do a DNA test but when strangers on the street argue with me saying, “he looks just like a rotty!”, I confidently argue back, “SHE is not… she is a shepherd/lab, we had her tested!” After years of street debates, I find lying to work best.

    1. I always say ” its a dog, what does it matter” or make up some super BS name (heigenshnegel) and say they are super rare, only 10 in the country.

  2. My mom did one and had an unknown half sister suddenly email her, so I will be avoiding! Lol

    1. Sorry, but as an NPE you’ve hit a nerve. Why is this funny to you? Your mom found a sister. Obviously it can be shocking, but why avoid this person or make it into your quip after an article about dogs. Although I do not know anything about your specific situation, in MOST cases, the relative reaching out (your aunt!) probably wants nothing more than to learn more about their family and where they come from. And whomever it was, whether it was your mom or your aunt who found out she wasn’t who she thought she was, please have some empathy for the shocking and traumatic identity crisis that one goes through in these situations. I suggest you listen to one of the hundreds of stories or podcasts detailing these experiences (Inheritance by Dani Shapiro, DNA Surprises, NPE Stories). Rejection from your new family after already learning a shocking new reality about yourself can be devastating.

      1. Jeez, Louise, my mother was adopted in the 50’s, found her birth mother through a court case, has written a novel about adoption and has a podcast about adoption, and my sister has adopted four children from various countries/situations – I am quite well versed on the many variables involved in finding previously-unknown family members. We have all attended family reunions to meet and get to know all the extended family she found through the DNA service and no one has been rejected.
        Life will be quite long and uncomfortable if you get triggered every time someone makes a joke. I am sorry I did not go deeper into her story as to soothe your ruffled feathers. This is the only blog I follow where people so often get hurt and argue in the comments over something someone else says about their own life. Really strange.

        1. I don’t have a personal connection to this issue so take this for what you will, but I also find your remark to be quite flippant and insensitive. If what you say about your own family is true, why would your mom being emailed by a half-sister be in any way construed as a negative?

      2. I agree 100%. Practice empathy. This woman’s world was turned upside down and inside out by her discovery. You have no idea how it feels unless it has happened to you. I know – it happened to me.

    2. Adoptees also know the pain of finding a biological relative only to get a response like this, Seems like we are one of the last groups it’s still OK to LOL at.

    3. I didn’t realize this was supposed to be a joke, but I had a first or second cousin contact me who’d been adopted. I got in touch with my only other cousin that I knew did genealogical research, and neither of us could figure out who our relative in common could be. That’s what we told her, and she didn’t contact us again. I felt sad. She obviously wanted to make contact, but we couldn’t be sure about what our actual connection was.

  3. did not realize this was Brian writing at first and got a good chuckle at the mental image of kiddo Emily being obsessed with William Wallace, lol. Love his witty voice!

  4. I have the same issue with Mel Gibson that you do, but it is still jarring and unsettling to hear another human being spoken about in such a vitriolic way. This easy dismissal of another person as a “racist piece of trash” is just as problematic as his racism. Both attitudes deny humanity. If we are ever going to make progress in compassion this is not the way to do it.

    1. I appreciate Brian calling Gibson out in the context of his Braveheart-worship and I don’t think that’s equivalent to racism. Hey he didn’t even mention Gibson’s vitriolic anti-Semitism, sexism and abuse. And don’t worry about Mel’s “humanity” – he’s back in Hollywood directing movies and walking the red carpet with his new pregnant girlfriend.

    2. While I have no problem with Mel Gibson suffering the consequences of his attitudes and actions, I understand the point that labeling isn’t compassionate. I’ve wrestled a little with this as well because Ideally we would eliminate racism, anti-semitism and other devastating results of white make privilege by modeling. But this isn’t the only way to enforce cultural norms, nor is it the fastest. Do I think we will change Mel’s heart or mind? No. That’s his responsibility. But if understanding people see him as a piece of trash changes his actions, it’s a win. If for no other reason that it asserts our ability to speak truth to power. And no matter how we feel about it, there just aren’t many examples of power being given up without it. And as other commenters have said, calling Mel out is not as problematic as his actions in the first place. Let’s not lose sight of that in our desires to all get along.

    3. Yes. Jarring, unsettling, disingenuously divisive. Sad to find blithely gratuitous name-calling when I came for design—or in this case, dogs. Very disappointing.

  5. Brian’s writing is so fun! I laughed out loud several times. Also now I’m picturing the dog family reunion. Heehee.
    My pup plays with a dog at the park that looks like her sibling from the rescue group photo. Old fashioned soap opera stuff there.

  6. “What if they had already told all their doggy pals that they were big strong Huskies?” LOL!

  7. Well that was even more worth the read than I was expecting!! I normally catch up on Monday mornings but I saw this and had to read it! Love Brian’s writing.

  8. Love this post and images! Brian has a talent for writing and getting to the point. My kinda writing.
    Love your farmhouse kingdom and family.
    As always, it’s a pleasure reading your blog posts.

    1. This pseudo scientific journalism makes me cringe. What CBC fails to note is that genetic ancestry is a different question than what does my dog look like. It’s a surprisingly small percentage of DNA that determines visible traits, like size, coat, ear and tail shape. It’s also fairly know that people are terrible at decoding those attributes accurately. The test saying a Great Dane had a percentage of chihuahua is not “inaccurate” just because it seems contrary to what we see. It’s just telling a story people don’t care as much about. Which is the fact that older breeds, like the chihuahua which is named for a type found in central America, was a huge influence on the dog breeds in North America. Just like being Scottish is not related to your genetic code, it is a cultural history, people do their own DNA tests and are shocked to learn they have African or Asian or Middle Eastern genese. I guess we all ignore the anthropology theories about how Homo sapiens populated the earth because it’s more fun to know if we can wear a tartan. I say this with no judgement as my Dutch American heritage is precious to me. I just understand it’s not the same as my genetic background and underneath our superficial differences we all have more in common than not. Same is true for dogs. People also don’t realize that the chihuahua may not always have been as small as it is today. We selectively bred them that way and most breeds have only been standardized in the past 200 years. Golden doodles are bred for popular characteristics, but it doesn’t change their genetic history. For reporting on the actual science of dog dna testing I highly recommend the Off Leash podcast by Freakinomics. Specifically the episode called Genes.

      1. While I appreciate the thorough response, the part of the article that stuck out to me is where the tests identified a human, Travis Dhanraj, as part basenji and part beagle! I am 100% not an expert in genetics nor do I claim to be, but I think they probably shouldn’t have identified Travis as a dog? I’ll check out the Freakonomics podcast.

  9. Aaaah! Finallllllly! 💓🤗💓
    I’m surprised and happily bemused.

    “Lhasa Apso”? Whether I’ve been ‘led’ there or not, I can see a little bit of that.

    When I saw the baby, I mean, puppy pics on the first post about having new family members, I can see possible huskiness there.

    At the end of the day, it’s a bit of fun, because all-in-all, they’re two of the four cutie Hendo kids!!!🐾🐾
    Bring on the family reunion … as long as we get LOTS of photos!! 😃

  10. Just wanted to thank you for participating in what is one of the most fascinating public participation scientific undertakings of our time. Akin to the significance of backyard observers on understanding bird migration and population, the large scale involvement of pet owners in amassing huge amounts of data about dogs is tremendously exciting. Sure it’s fun. But it’s also supporting important research. All of this data is fueling not only historic understanding of dogs, but it’s also helping identify what genes are associated with physical attributes, personality traits (harder for sure) but also potential connections to disease. Sure it’s fun to shake your head and say wow, never saw Husky in these two. It’s not a small added bonus that your dogs are now part of this grand scientific resource. I’m very excited to see what comes out of it all.

  11. Ok, now that we know what they are, my next question is where can I get one?! Seriously the cutest pups I’ve ever seen. If there weren’t so many doggos needing rescue, I’d be begging you to breed them!

  12. Love this. We did DNA tests on our dog (Wisdom and Embark) and got very different results from each of them. Only common breed was Boxer. We assume the Embark Vet test was maybe more accurate, just due to his personality and physical characteristics. Who knows. Great post, and your dogs are adorable! 🙂

  13. aaaaw a BRIAN-POST!!! The part about the recipe blogs had me laugh out loud – so true XD and the doggie pics are adorable <3

  14. Keep reading like one of those recipe blogs that makes you scroll for two hours before revealing the recipe…” CRACKED ME UP!!

  15. LOL at “Supermutt!” 😂

    I considered buying our dog a DNA test last year for Christmas, but my husband didn’t deem it “important.” Rude. I’m totally doing one now!

    Brian…you need to do a DNA test! They’re actually pretty cool. They give you characteristics, immigration patterns and matches. I was told my whole life that I was almost 100% German. But when I visited there in 2008, I’m like “nope.” My Pisces soul didn’t feel it. Nothing resonated with me. I took a test in 2021. And plot twist! I’m very English! With Norwegian, French and some Dutch. Makes so much more sense. I’ll take a deVol kitchen anyday over wieners and potaters – ya know? In the words of the mighty swoosh, Just Do It.

    1. Here’s Embark’s explanation of the Supermutt category:

      Our ancestry algorithm works by finding long identical segments of DNA between your dog and purebred dogs in our reference dataset. These long identical stretches of DNA are more likely to reflect recent ancestry.

      Many dogs descend from other dogs that were themselves mixed breed. The further in the past your dog has purebred ancestors, the smaller the identical segments matching our reference dataset are. In such cases, the best matches to our reference dataset are so small that they can no longer be confidently assigned to any one particular breed. Instead, these are assigned to the “Supermutt” percentage.

      1. That makes sense! We’ve adopted 2 dogs that I’m sure also fit that category. 😉

  16. I knew it! I knew Lhasa apso would be in the mix cause that’s what my first dog looked like! 🐶

  17. Busted a gut laughing. We rescued a dog and were told she was full maltese. Did a DNA test (my husband thought I was nuts): She is on order: toy poodle, chihuahua, rat terrier, jack russell terrier, pekinese (?spelling) and cocker spaniel. Our vet said that explains her ‘hair’. Chihuahua explains her personality (very needy). But we 100% adore her.

  18. Eheheh this was fun. And so great for people to know their roots! HIGHLY recommend that PBS show. Incredible.

  19. My rescue has not been tested but I have been surprised by how much Chihuahua is in a lot of dogs tested.

  20. Our Max very recently crossed the Rainbow Bridge. We got him from dachshund rescue. We’ve had dachshunds all our lives, and when we first met him, we said “He’s not 100% dachshund.” So, we did the DNA. We thought he might have some terrier in him, but he was essentially a chiweenie, with a stronger dachshund weight (60%) and only 20% chihuahua. He also had a trace of Shih Tzu, and of all things, Pekinese.

  21. I did a DNA test a few years ago just to learn how Irish I really was (so similar to your Scottish story!). I did learn I am about a quarter Irish (yay! Validates what I grew up believing!), but I also inadvertently learned who my dad’s biological parents were (he was adopted in 1940 and had absolutely no desire to learn who they were). It was interesting (a first cousin, as identified from the DNA site, reached out to me and was able to conclusively piece together the one bit of info I had – my dad’s biological mother’s name), but it was also a little unsettling as I knew my dad did not consider this his family or want anything to do with them (he passed long before I learned this. He would have been angry about it, even though it was accidental.). Anyway, I got to meet a couple cousins and learn a bit of history about my biological grandparents, but we did not keep in touch. Super interesting experience though!

    1. I’ve had a proper, medical DNA test for legit purposes.
      I donated some blood to research and it was sent to Germany from Australia within 12 hours!!
      I’m pure northwestern European.
      I thought I might find something ‘interesting’, but not so.

  22. Loved everything about this post – your pups are the cutest and it’s great to hear from Brian again!

  23. As a Black woman, I would love to do some type of ancestry DNA test (even knowing all of the issues with testing in terms of accurately mapping ethnic heritage) but there’s absolutely no way I trust these companies with my DNA! As a Bermudian, I love your sweatshirt!

  24. What a delightfully funny post. I really enjoyed the writing style and the wonderful prose. GREAT JOB! Years ago we had a mutt that we decided to call a Basque Sheep Dog. There really isn’t such a breed, but the Basque people are great sheepherders and they have well trained great dogs. Since this puppy came from sheep country in Wyoming and was being given away outside a grocery store and looked like a mangy sheep dog, we determined that her breed must certainly be something more exotic than mutt, so when she had puppies, we put a wonderful ad in the paper and successfully gave away six beautiful Basque sheep dog puppies.

  25. More posts that make proper use of paragraphs like this, please. So much easier to read!

  26. I know Brian was telling the Gibson story as kind of a joke about DNA testing, etc., but i didn’t see what it had to do with being part Scot! An actor playing a Scot has nothing to do with actual Scotland. (I’m a Henderson, too. Actually my DNA testing confirmed British, Scottish, and a bit of other stuff, so I gladly claim our ‘clan’s’ tartan.)

  27. We did the Embark test, too, & it identified one my dog’s littermates who had also taken the Embark test–& we later met by chance another littermate who had taken the Wisdom Panel test (with similar results) & we all had a reunion playdate! That owner even had a photo of all the dogs together at the shelter before they were separated! The dogs enjoyed playing together & I enjoyed meeting their owners, all very interesting folks who I likely would not have met otherwise. We still occasionally keep in touch or send one another photos & it’s been great!

  28. Always love a Brian post. I had actually passed over this one since I don’t usually read on the weekends and wasn’t exactly on the edge of my seat waiting for the dog DNA results (I LOVE the pups; just know from my own dog’s DNA results, they’re exciting for a hot second, then life goes on). Glad I circled back to get caught up! I would have guessed they had some terrier in them with those shaggy coats; they look a lot like Wheaton terriers. I’m sure you know by now, huskies are notorious escapees and can figure their way out of any house or fenced enclosure if they’re bored enough! Hopefully the poodle genes override the husky bad manners! 🙂

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