Do you know what breed your dog is? Are you sure, or is there an element of doubt? And why would it matter? Perhaps a dog DNA test could be the answer for you. I can think of a few different scenarios in which dog owners might wish they could be more certain of their dog’s breed.
Perhaps you have recently bought a puppy from a breeder. A few weeks later, the puppy’s physical traits are starting to make you wonder if he is indeed a pure breed.
On the other hand, perhaps you have adopted a dog from a shelter and want to understand the lineage in order to provide the best possible care and training.
Or, maybe, you are just fed up with not being able to tell people your dog’s heritage. Remember those other dog owners you meet in the park; conversation invariably leads to “So what is your dog?” Of course, there are referring to his/her breed.
However, if you are unsure exactly what breed or cross-breed your dog is, then there are a few solutions you could try.
How to Identify My Dog’s Breed
There are different options available when determining the breed heritage of a dog.
- If you are in the market for a puppy and want to be sure that you get what is advertised, you can ask for paperwork from the breeders on the lineage of the dog. In this case, it also helps to see both parent dogs.
- If you have a rescue dog from a shelter, the breeding can be more difficult to determine. There will be some physical traits, such as head shape, tail, coat markings, etc, that can point you in the right direction. Comparing your dog to AKC breed standards is a start.
- There are also apps that claim to determine the heritage of a dog based on a photograph. However, be a little wary unless you find a very highly rated app. There is no guarantee of accuracy here. A photo doesn’t always guarantee an accurate idea of heritage.
- A vet has a better chance, than a phot app, of figuring out a cross-breed based on experience.
- And then we have dog DNA tests. Yes that’s right, not only are DNA tests becoming very popular among people tracing their family tree, there are now DNA tests for dogs too.
Using Dog DNA Testing
DNA testing is probably the best way to fully determine the breed heritage of your pet. A good DNA testing service should be able to provide results based on percentages rather than just a simplistic answer.
This is great for verifying the validity of some designer cross-breed, as well as rescue dogs that may have a mix of various breeds in their DNA.
The more information you have from a test result, the more it can benefit you and your pet.
A detailed understanding of DNA traits doesn’t just show parentage. You can use that information to get a better idea of possible temperament traits, behavioral issues, common health problems, and more. This could make it easier to set up care plans and training programs for your new pet.
How Can A Dog DNA Test Reflect Breeding?
There are two different approaches that you can take when it comes to giving a dog a DNA test.
Are They Accurate?
- The first is to buy a kit and carry out the process at home. You can swab the inside of your dog’s mouth, send the saliva sample back to the company, and await the results.
There are benefits to this method as it is less invasive and stressful for the dog. You can also find companies with user-friendly kits at a fair price. However, accuracy varies between companies, so it pays to research the best choice.
- The alternative is to go into a vet’s office and have staff take a blood sample and send this to a professional lab. The benefit here is that you have a skilled technician dealing with the samples and advising you based on the results. There is no need for you to interpret data. The downside is the short-term discomfort for the dog.
How Much Do Dog DNA Tests Cost?
Prices will vary depending on the path you take.
Some companies have more kits that are more affordable than others.
You might find some kits around the $70 mark but many are significantly higher than $100.
It is all about value and the results gained. Don’t opt for too much of a budget solution where the testing process may be more inconsistent or less detailed.
Vets may charge a little more, but this of course varies considerably. However, then you are sure of that professional service and aftercare for your pet.
Is a DNA Test for Dogs The Answer?
So, should you get a DNA test for your dog?
In short, there are advantages to using dog DNA testing to understand your pet’s heritage. You can learn a lot from one quick procedure and thus be in a position to provide a better lifestyle for your pet.
Doing so via your vet is a good solution.
If you prefer the at-home alternative, make sure you research dog DNA testing kit companies carefully so that you can make an informed final choice.