Dog DNA Tests: Why Your Mutt’s Makeup Matters
Discovering your mutt’s background is easier and less expensive than you think.
Testing the DNA Tests continued...
“It was pretty easy,” says Belzer of the collection process. After he sent
the completed test kits back to each company, results came within two to four
weeks (Wisdom Panel was the quickest; both of the others took about a month).
DDC and Canine Heritage findings came in the mail, and Wisdom Panel’s results
Two of the three companies’ results validated Belzer’s hypothesis: that Girl
was a Siberian Husky/German Shepherd mix. Wisdom Panel, which tests against
more breeds than the other two, suggested Girl was part Border Collie. “That
was something I would have never considered,” says Belzer, who doesn’t question
the accuracy of the test. “The results were a little out of line with what the
other two found, but it’s certainly not a breed that I would rule out.”
All of the companies contain disclaimers that the test is for informational
purposes only, and most owners order dog DNA tests solely for the curiosity
factor. “It answers hypothetical questions and can validate your assumptions,”
Belzer says. “It’s also a great conversation piece at the dog park.”
Why Test Your Dog’s DNA?
Once predominant breeds are established, owners can take their results to
their veterinarian to discuss potential health issues associated with specific
breeds. “Boxers are prone to getting cancer, and Dobermans sometimes have
bleeding disorders similar to hemophiliacs,” says Bernadine Cruz, DVM,
associate veterinarian at California’s Laguna Hills Animal Hospital. Knowing
these potential risks ahead of time, and asking your veterinarian to keep an
eye out for them, can save lives.
Other potential reasons for dog DNA testing include wanting to know how big
your puppy will get, or knowing in advance that if a dog’s predominantly
terrier, for instance, it’s going to have an abundance of energy, Cruz
Mars Veterinary, makers of the Wisdom Panel dog DNA test, is
considering using their results to create food specialized for specific breeds.
So dogs predisposed to arthritis, for instance, might eat a diet containing
ingredients that protect against the progression of the disease, Cruz says.
In addition, the affordability factor means it’s a somewhat small investment
that will only make pet owners more informed about their pooches. “Your dog is
a member of your family, and it’s nice to know something about where it came
from,” Sutter says.