Ever been curious about your mixed breed dog and wondered whether she's really Corgi-Dachshund like you've believed all these years? Fortunately there is now a low-cost and accurate way to find out with a simple genetic test that involves just a cheek swab and a few days’ wait. No visit to your veterinarian, no blood sample. Easy.
Why Knowing Your Dog's Breed Heritage Is Important
Why would you want to know your mixed breed dog's makeup? Aside from just plain curiosity, knowing your dog's “heritage" breed can help you understand health and wellness issues related to that breed. The urban myth that mixed breed dogs don't get genetic diseases is not true. So, for example, if your dog is found to be primarily Labrador Retriever then you and your veterinarian might keep an eye out for joint-related health problems (hip dysplasia).
Another valuable benefit is that you gain a better understanding of your dog's temperament and behavior. Every dog breed has a different overall temperament so when you discover that your gentle mixed breed is great with kids it's because she's primarily Golden Retriever!
The Canine Heritage Breed Test
The Canine Heritage Breed Test (www.canineheritage.com ) analyzes your mixed breed dog's DNA against 38 breeds that represent about 75% of dogs. What you get back is a certificate stating, in order of genetic influence, what your dog's primary breed, secondary, and “in the mix" breeds are. Your dog will only have a primary breed listed if one of his parents is purebred. It's important to note that the Canine Heritage test may not be accurate for mixed breed dogs outside of North America.
The Canine Heritage Breed Test currently costs $65 plus a small amount for shipping the test kit out to you.
The Mars Wisdom Panel Test
Another similar test that will be available shortly is the Mars Wisdom Panel (www.whatsmydog.com ). The Wisdom Panel test requires a visit to your veterinarian and a blood sample. This test detects 130 AKC-recognized breeds and thus is more precise than the Canine Heritage test. But it is a much more expensive test and is harder to administer.
Pricing is determined by the individual veterinarian but is expected to be around $130. The Mars Wisdom Panel is slated for release July 2007, ask your veterinarian for more information.
Alex Krooglik is the co-founder of Embrace Pet Insurance (our blog ) based in Cleveland, Ohio. Embrace Pet Insurance was founded in 2004 and its mission is to convince responsible pet parents that pet insurance can and should be an integral part of maintaining every pet's good health. Alex is pet parent to a cheeky black kitten rescued from the Geauga Humane Society.