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DNA: What To Know Before Testing Fido’s

Lately, DNA testing has been a pretty popular topic. I have had a good handful of friends get their own DNA test through Ancestory.com and tons more say they would love to do it as well. With a quick swab of your cheek you can tell exactly the line of your heritage. But what you may not know is that you can actually DNA test your dog as well.

In fact, a few years ago a New York city co-op was making headlines when they had pet-owning residents produce documents that proved the breeds of their dogs. If they dog is mixed, the co-op would need a break down of the percentage to decide if that dog would be accepted. This had tons of residents left feeling discriminated against since the co-op bans 27 breeds.

However, dog DNA testing is now more mainstream and is used for curious owners and animals shelters.

How does a DNA test work?

Kits usually start as low as $60, but can range up to about $85. Most of the tests are available online and probably even at your local major pet store. It works pretty much the same as it does for us humans. The kit contains a cheek swab q-tip that you use to gather the DNA. Unless you want to go for the big blood test, which you can ask your veterinarian about. It’s exciting, painless and can be reported in less than two weeks.

What do you learn from it?

● Break down of genetic make-up
● Expected temperament (hyper, relaxed, diggers, hunters, etc)
● Better ways to train their specific personality traits
● Expected size
● Medical predispositions, like arthritis or diabetes
● And what breed you can proudly claim as your own

Do DNA tests work?

Overall, the answer to this is yes, they do work. Colleen Kane from Fortune.com had her dog tested by two different DNA companies. While both mostly agreed on the main genetic coding of a Labrador retriever and Beagle, it raised more questions about the smaller percentage of the genetic make-up. Both companies stood by their findings, but had different breeds when it came to the smaller make up. Meaning that it can be hard to tell exactly every small specific breed that came together to make your dog so unique, but you can definitely find out in general where their origins lie. Wondering which DNA test to purchase? In Canine Journal’s review, Embark ranked #1, Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel #2, and DNA My Dog #3.

Have you had your dog DNA tested? We’d love to hear about you results and what you thought about the experience. Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!