Did you know that the American Kennel Club website, dogs have about 20,000 to 25,000 genes that are located along 78 chromosomes (compared to 46 in humans)?

The AKC site says, “In 2005, an international research team led by MIT’s Broad Institute published a paper in the journal Nature, describing the sequencing the canine genome. This complete set of dog genes gave scientists, breeders, and owners a powerful tool to better understand and care for dogs. The research was based on the genetic sequence of Tasha, a female Boxer. This breakthrough gave researchers a tool for identifying genes for specific traits, including diseases, in addition to pinpointing genes and parentage.”

So why are people jumping on the doggy DNA testing bandwagon? People ask me all the time should they test and my answer is always the same. Would you love them any less if you found out they were a breed type that you previously thought dangerous or annoying? “And the answer is always, no, I love my dog. What they are doesn’t matter!”

Pedigree Tracking

The number one reason DNA is used is to confirm parentage for accurate pedigree tracking and confirming parentage. That makes sense if I am on the road to the Westminster Dog Show. Like Human DNA, testing a dog’s DNA could also alert owners to possible genetic diseases.

Pet Waste Identification

Okay, what is the big deal about walking your dog, carrying a poop bag, picking up said poop, and tossing it out! In my neighborhood, I guess it’s not a big deal. There are laws enforcing pet waste but how do I know which of my neighbors is a poop jerk? Or was it a random dog walking through unleashed? It’s a tough law to enforce. I don’t see Oshkosh and surrounding areas doing it, but this technology allows a service to create a pet registry of, yes, poop DNA. If waste is found somewhere then fines can be levied. I hate that it might come to this one day. Just pick up after your dog!

Breed Determination

This next one is the one that really relates to those of us adopting rescues from NEW PAWSibilities. There’s not one day that goes by when we don’t have multiple people asking questions such as what is he mixed with and how big will he get. The answer is usually not sure and maybe this big. When our dogs come to us from our Kentucky shelter they are already breed determined based on several factors. Someone has a purebred and surrenders it. Pretty easy. A mom gives birth in the shelter. They kind of know based on our thoughts about what they think mommy is. Shelters do not give doggy DNA tests to assure you that what you are adopting is what you want. Many breeds have traits that are easily recognizable so that they can attach a breed. But the true answer goes like this.

What Really Matters

We want you to choose a dog based on personality and compatibility. If you’re a couch potato or anticipate being away from home all day then as much as you might think you want a Husky, trust me, you don’t. If all you want is a running partner and someone to experience the great outdoors with then that Husky could be your best option. Paw size is a good start when it comes to guessing how large a dog will be, but unless we know the breeds it’s only a guess. And even with the breed mix we still can’t be 100% sure what characteristic of which breed will come through anyway

Should you do a DNA test for your dog? It’s up to you. For most people, it’s in the fun facts to know and share category. There are several different companies who provide tests. The American Kennel Club likes a company called Wisdom Panel, which covers all the registered breeds as well as some rarer ones. I’m sure there are other brands.

And The Answer Is

Rebecca adopted a dog from us and decided to get definitive answers as to her dog’s DNA. “I thought you would get a kick out of this. We adopted Seke (then Tony) back a number of years ago. We just did his DNA…”

After I saw his picture, and oh my goodness that coat is shiny, and saw the chart I was stumped as to the listing of his original breed.

So, let’s play a game. Rebecca gave me permission to show his picture and the DNA result chart. What breed do you think he was listed as based on his picture and the analysis? A larger picture of Seke and the DNA chart is at the top of the page. Make sure to check out the second picture.

Ready, set, go!

Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing it. If anyone else wants me to post the results I will. For the record, I am not endorsing Wisdom Panel. I used that as an example and if you’ve used other companies please let me know.