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Healthy Dogs

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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...

Here are the DNA tests Belzer used and their cost at the time he did the tests:

Wisdom Panel (301-444-7900)

  • Cost: $79.99
  • Tests dog’s DNA against 170 different breeds
  • Findings: Made up of at least 50% Siberian Husky and 25% Border Collie

Canine Heritage Breed Test (800-362-3644)

  • Cost: $99.95
  • Tests dog’s DNA against 105 different breeds
  • Findings: Siberian Husky as a secondary breed (Canine Heritage only lists a primary breed if the dog has a purebred parent), with German Shepherd in the mix

DDC Veterinary (800-625-0874)

  • Cost: $68
  • Tests dog’s DNA against 62 different breeds
  • Findings: Level 1 Siberian Husky, made up of at least 75%, level 4 German Shepherd, made up of between 10% and 19%

“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 were emailed.

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.

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