Do you often find yourself asking, "What breed is my dog?" or maybe more appropriately "What breeds are my dog?" You may be able to answer your question with a dog DNA test. Dog DNA testing will help you discover which breeds are present in your dog's DNA. For many dog lovers this is more than just a matter of satisfying their curiosity. Different breeds have differing temperaments and characteristics that make them unique. Knowing your dog's genetic makeup can help you, its owner, to better understand your dog's behavior and idiosyncrasies allowing you to better interact with and train your pooch. More importantly, because certain breeds of dogs are more susceptible to specific canine illnesses and medical conditions, possible health risks associated with the breeds that make up your canine's heritage can be identified and prevented against.
Who's your daddy?
A dog DNA test can also be a way to verify your purebred's pedigree. It's no secret that there are unscrupulous breeders out there who are more than willing to prey upon an unsuspecting consumer shopping around for a purebred. Canine DNA testing is a way to ensure that your dollars were well spent. DNA testing for dogs is the only way to know for certain who is in Fido's family tree.
Shopping for dog DNA testing kits
There are several quality kits that can be bought online, but I am not here to endorse one over the other. Different companies have different claims as to the accuracy of their particular tests. I will leave it up to you to shop around and find a product that you feel comfortable with spending your money on. I would recommend finding one that bases its analysis on as many AKC registered breeds as possible.
Get cheeky with your Chihuahua
While some DNA testing requires a blood sample taken by a veterinarian, most home kits that can be ordered online require only a cheek swab sample. Be sure to withhold food from your dog for about an hour to ensure that the sample does not become contaminated by any food particles inside your dog's mouth. It is a good idea to do a visual check before swapping just to be sure. When collecting the sample rotate and rub the inside of the cheek vigorously for 10 to 20 seconds. Avoid contacting the teeth and any food debris. You will then place the swab back in its sterile sleeve or similar receptacle provided with the kit. Some kits include only one swab and some have up to four. If your kit has more than one, swab an equal number of times on the left cheek and the right. Once you have filled out the required paperwork you can ship the samples to the lab for analysis. This is just a brief overview. Be sure to follow the instructions for your particular kit explicitly.
Dog DNA Test Results
When you receive the results of the dog DNA test in the mail you should also receive a certificate of DNA breed analysis which will show you how much of each breed was found in your dog's DNA. Some companies will even print your dog's picture on the certificate. So, the next time you are out walking your dog and someone asks you, "What kind of dog is that?", you can enthusiastically whip out your dog DNA test certificate and engage in a conversation about your best friend.