DNA Testing in Dogs

DNA testing in dogs

Do You Know What Your Dog Really Is?

Have you ever wondered what breed or breeds your dog is? A pedigree dog must have papers to show that he is purebred for three generations. However this is based on the breeder’s information only (unless the breeding was supervised and can be verified by a vet.) So let’s just say accidents can happen. Maybe your dog isn’t what you think. I know someone who had their dog’s championship title stripped because the dog was not purebred. The dog was being used as a stud and a DNA test was requested. Imagine the surprise when the owner found out! So even a “pedigree” dog may not be the purebred pooch you thought he was!

What your mixed breed dog might be depends on the information you are given by the breeder or from where you adopted the dog. Again, it’s probably a guess at best. Most of the time we just say, well that dog looks and acts like a certain breed. I have a long coat Chihuahua who is supposed to be pedigree. In fact he has a very impressive background. Well he looks like a ten pound Golden Retriever and not anything like a Chihuahua. My dogs, Penny, Terra and Frasier are rescues from the shelter and are supposed to be Chihuahua mixes. Who knows what they really are; they don’t look that much like Chihuahuas.

A friend of mine recently adopted a mixed breed puppy. She was told it was a Pomeranian Chihuahua mix. As the little guy grew he looked more like a baby German Shepard than a toy dog.

So she decided to get a DNA test for her dog and find out. It turns out the pup was mostly a Pomeranian with Maltese and Shih Tzu, not a Chihuahua at all. But you certainly could not guess what he was by looking at him.

Is the canine DNA test accurate? Apparently so if the dog has some dominant breeds in its background. If the dog has many breeds the test is less reliable.

So if you are interested, the test is quite easy. Just like in humans, a cheek swab is all that is necessary. Or a blood test can be performed by your vet. Both are accurate and the cost is reasonable. DNA tests usually cost under $100.

So other than curiosity, why bother? Your dog is beautiful in your eyes no matter what, right? Well there are some good reasons. Certain breeds do tend to have certain traits and possible health issues. So that information is good to have to better understand and care for your dog.

And in certain areas there are strict dog laws, especially if you are renting. Some breeds are frowned upon – sad, but true. My niece once had to verify that her sweet rescue mutt was more Lab than Pitt Bull in order to bring the dog into her apartment building. So why not find out, you may be surprised, hopefully in a good way.

I am looking into getting the test for Penny and maybe one or two others. It should be interesting. I’ll let you know!

For more info. check out these resources:


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