Do You Know Your Dog’s DNA?

There is undoubtedly not a single person in this world that cannot identify a poodle or a bulldog when they see one. However, the majority of the domesticated dog breeds throughout the world have become too similar to truly identify and it’s not always as simple as being able to tell the difference between an Italian Greyhound and a regular sized Greyhound.

Sometimes, trying to visually tell the difference between a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and a Pit Bull Terrier can be extremely hard! Just as hard as being able to tell a Labrador apart from a Pit Bull. Sound too hard to do? Well not if you are the Animal Control Officers who work in Sioux City, IA.

After receiving a complaint from a neighbor, the Animal Control Officers went to Josh Mapes’ house to investigate. Upon seeing ‘Zeek’ the dog, the Animal Control Officers impounded him for being a Pit Bull.

Mortified, Josh knew he had to prove Zeek’s true DNA and since Zeek was neither licensed nor micro-chipped, Josh had to find another way. So Josh went in to his local pet store supermarket where he was able to purchase a dog DNA kit.

He then took the DNA kit into the Animal Control Offices where he insisted that Zeek’s mouth was swabbed by one of the Officers at the Animal Control Office. This way, Josh explained, Animal Control would know that the test was done on Zeek and not on another type of dog instead.

Josh was very happy and surprised by Zeek’s DNA test results. Zeek did not have any Pit Bull at all in his DNA. In fact, according to the DNA test, Zeek was mostly Labrador! And since the DNA test proved that Zeek was not a Pit Bull, he was released and allowed to go home with Josh Mapes.

As Animal Laws crack down on every part of the USA, it is vitally important that you have a record of your dog’s vaccinations and of its breed. Cindy Rarrat, spokesperson for The Animal Control office in Siox City explained that it is very important to have your dog’s trait information on hand, especially for “anybody that has a bully type breed or it looks like a bully type breed. If they’re concerned and they thought that it’s not, but they may be considered one”. Cindy also says that the information obtained through a DNA test will also be helpful to the dog’s owners so that they can be more aware of any underlying health or behavioral traits.

But what if your best friend is truly a Mutt? Wouldn’t knowing your dog’s main breed make vet visits or filling out your dog’s license so much easier? Once you have learnt your dog’s true heritage you can then also learn more about the needs and characteristics of that particular dog breed.

In case you were not aware, DNA is the acronym for deoxyribonucleic acid and is also referred to as the blueprint for every life form on this planet. Such doggie DNA test kits are becoming more and more widely available and can be found either by ordering online or at major pet retail chain stores.

They are quite easy to do: simply use the swab stick that is provided in the Kit to collect DNA from the epithelial cells inside their dog’s cheek. Then mail the swab sample back to the manufacturer and within four to six weeks your dog’s DNA test results will be mailed back to you and will usually include a Certificate of DNA Breed Analysis.

When choosing a DNA home test kit for your dog, you should bear in mind that not all tests are equal. Some DNA tests only test for 50 of the most common breeds, whilst the more expensive DNA test kits will be able to detect over 130 AKC recognized breeds with 98% accuracy. Research the brand of DNA kits extensively before purchasing one as they can be quite pricey. If the Dog DNA Kit you choose can not accurately detect your dog’s lineage because the kit itself can only identify a few breeds, the test results may end up showing breeds from earlier in your dog’s ancestry.

Although knowing your dog’s true ancestry is great, there are also many benefits as well. Being able to truly understand your dog can help you train him better, care for him better by giving him a diet that is more suitable for his breed, and help groom him better as well.

Even your veterinarian will be grateful for your dog’s DNA test results as these are good indicators of whether or not your dog has any predisposition any diseases.

Another advantage to Dog DNA Testing is that by testing dogs that are being cared for in shelters, they will be able to find homes that are best suited for their specific breeds. Thereby insuring that the dog will receive the best possible care as it new owners will be able to understand it much better.

In any event, you can be quite sure that your dog will always be your best friend, no matter his pedigree.

Photo Credit: esotoril

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