As dog adoption and mixed breeds become more popular, dog owners are more interested in DNA tests for their pets. There are many different companies catering to pet owners that offer plenty of valuable information. So, why order a dog DNA test for your furry friend?

DNA, also known as deoxyribonucleic acid, is very similar among all dogs. But there are certain genetic markers that are unique to each breed. You can retrieve a sample of a dog’s DNA by doing a simple cheek swab or a blood test. More extensive tests offer more specific information about health risks and different breeds, but these are more expensive.

Results usually come back within 2-4 weeks digitally, so you are able to access the results anywhere on a phone or computer. Tests cost anywhere between $60-$170 and can be easily ordered online or in a vet clinic. But why are so many people opting to pay for their dog’s DNA?

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For the fun of it!

Getting a new dog is exciting, and pet owners are often bombarded by one common question: What kind of dog do you have? I am proud to report the results of my dog’s DNA when someone asks. It is what makes each dog’s personality and physical appearance unique.

While at the dog park, people love to start a conversation about dog breeds and where they came from. A complete ancestry profile will help you get to know your dog better, and will enable you to unfurrow any brows.

Disease Prevention

Dog DNA tests often report back some genetically linked diseases that are associated with the breed. MDR1, multidrug sensitivity, is a genetically linked issue seen in herding dogs. Even the most basic kits will test for this disorder and help owners understand what to do next.

Some of the more expensive tests will analyze for more than 150 genes linked to diseases. Remember that just because a dog is carrying a gene linked to a disease, does not necessarily mean that it will be expressed and affect your dog. Environmental factors also play a huge role in whether or not the disease manifests. Veterinarians may be able to break down the test results for dog owners to understand.

dog dna test

Proof of Breed Certificate

Breed restrictions in apartments and breed bans in cities make it very difficult for some owners to keep their pets. When it comes to apartment restrictions, many ask for an official rabies certificate from a veterinarian that proves what breed they are. If the dog is mixed with a breed that is allowed, a breed certificate from a DNA company may be a way around the restrictions.

If the dog’s DNA comes back half German Shepard and half Labrador retriever, you can simply say that the dog is a Lab mix to apartment complexes. People are always moving and leasing new homes, and this is another option to make sure they get to bring their pets with them.

Cities like Denver, Colorado have a breed ban on all pit bull breeds. If a complaint is made about a mixed breed that may look like bully type breed, citizens are able to show a dog DNA test to prove that their dog is less than 50% pit bull. This is a great way to get around the ordinances that prevent people in these cities from keeping their pets.

To Predict Size and Behavior

After adopting a young mixed breed, it is often difficult to predict how big they will get and how they will act. The DNA offers an owner insight about what kind of qualities their pet might show later. For example, a family looking for a calm, friendly pet may not be the best match for a high-energy breed like the Border collie or a guarding breed like the Akita. The DNA results also give a weight bracket to show owners how big their dog may get.

A dog DNA test can give veterinarians and dog owners helpful information for the future. If you think that your dog may benefit from a genetic assessment, check out each company and what they offer to see what would be the best fit for your dog. Comment below and tell us what breeds your dog is mixed with!

Author

Caitlin is originally from Vermont and has been working with animals since she can remember. She studied Behavioral Neuroscience and is now Mastering in Animal Shelter Management in Colorado. Her hobbies include horseback riding, fostering animals, and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. She has volunteered at five different animal shelters and worked in three different vet hospitals. Her passions include animal health, behavior, and enrichment. Caitlin lives with her Chihuahua-Terrier mix, Norman, and currently works for a non-profit helping the pets of elderly and disabled: Pets Forever.

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