Anyone who has had a mixed breed dog has likely wondered: Just what type of
dog do I have?
Now, it may be possible to answer that question. Companies specializing in
dog DNA testing are enticing owners who are curious about their mutt’s
background. Owners may also decide to test so they can take the information to
their veterinarians to discuss potential health issues about their dog’s
Your pooch is your pal. Give him what he needs to stay healthy and happy at
every stage of his life.
Priced from $60 and up, the tests are available online and at many pet
supply retail stores. All of the kits test DNA via a cheek swab sampling,
except for the most expensive, Mars Veterinary’s Wisdom Panel Professional,
which requires a blood test at a veterinarian’s office (call your local
veterinarian for pricing).
Not surprisingly, like most products, not all dog breed DNA tests are
created equal. The more breeds in a company’s database, the greater the chance
for accuracyin their results, says
Nathan Sutter, PhD, assistant professor of medical genetics at Cornell
University. And generally, the more dog breeds the company has in its database,
the more expensive the test.
Sutter says such dog DNA tests can typically identify the majority breeds in
a canine with great accuracy. “But if a dog is mixed breed and comes
from a great many breeds, each with just a small contribution to the total,
then the breed test may be unable to identify most or all of the breeds
contributing to the dog,” he says. Sutter says that if a dog has a purebred
parent or grandparent, the results are highly accurate.
Testing the DNA Tests
James Belzer was always interested in confirming his suspicions that
13-year-old Girl was a Husky/German Shepherd mix. So the Manhattan executive
agreed, at the request of WebMD, to try three brands of dog breed DNA tests:
Canine Heritage, DDC Veterinary, and Mars Veterinary’s other option, Wisdom
All of the dog DNA tests Belzer tried use a cheek swab sampling to compare
DNA against a number of major breeds. These dog DNA test kits were created to
identify dogs of mixed heritage. Purebred confirmation is available through
Here are the DNA tests Belzer used and their cost at the time he did the