You may be proud of your Heinz 57 rescue dog, but have you ever stopped to wonder what breeds he might be? Sure he looks a little like a Labrador Retriever, but has a dark tongue like a Chow Chow? And sometimes, if he’s in the right mood and the light hits just right, looks like he might have just a little terrier in him..?

If this pondering sounds familiar, there is great news! With the advent of dog DNA testing, pet owners can find out once and for all what breed(s) their dog may be. At Union Lake Veterinary Hospital we are offering this type of testing to our clients so that they can satisfy their curiosity and be more proactive in their pet’s health care based on breed.

How Dog DNA Testing is Performed

There have been several types of methods for performing dog DNA testing that have hit the market since about 2007. They differ in the type of sample they require, how many breeds can be identified, cost of the test, and turnaround time.

DNA for testing can be obtained by a cheek swab, however it can be difficult to collect an adequate sample and there is opportunity for contamination. We prefer our method which  involves drawing a blood sample from your pet. Your dog’s DNA is then compared to a database containing the DNA of many breeds of dogs, and those that match most closely are reported to you by percentage.

While these tests are not 100% accurate, especially if your pet has a small amount of many breeds in his or heritage, they certainly can shed a lot of light on where he or she came from.

Knowing what breeds your dog is can be fun, but it can also be important when it comes to health. Certain breeds are predisposed to certain conditions, and knowing that your dog has a certain breed in his or her ancestry can help us when screening for certain diseases.

What’s in a Breed?

Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to having or developing certain problems. When we know what breed(s) your dogs is, we can keep an eye out for conditions that your pet may be at risk for. The following are just a few breed-specific predispositions to be aware of:

  • Dobermans are more likely to have several conditions including hypothyroidism, heart problems, a certain bleeding disorder, and a spinal condition called Wobbler’s syndrome
  • Boxers are prone to cancer as well as an underactive thyroid
  • West Highland White Terriers are more likely to have skin allergies
  • Poodles frequently develop skin tumors and can suffer from a collapsing airway
  • Yorkshire Terriers are more likely to have heart disease, dislocating knee caps, and dental disease
  • German Shepherds are at increased risk for digestive disorders, hip dysplasia, and spinal cord degeneration

No breed is exempt from problems, but knowing that your pet may be more likely to develop some of these issues can help us to recognize them and intervene sooner.

Dog DNA testing is certainly a newer technology. And, while the results are not always perfect, they can lend valuable insight to your pet’s health and well-being. Besides that, who wouldn’t love to know more about their pet’s ancestry?

Union Lake Veterinary Hospital can provide a DNA test for your dog. Find out who your mutt really is.