The Basics of Dog DNA Testing
How many times have you looked at your dog and wondered, "What kind of dog are you?" We haven't done any DNA testing for Bea yet, but I've definitely considered it. My gut tells me she's mainly Miniature Schnauzer, but she's definitely mixed with something else, too!
So many people are wanting to learn more about their dog's genetic makeup through dog DNA testing, so today we're diving into the world of dog DNA tests.
How do dog DNA tests work?
A dog DNA test is relatively easy to use. Once you order your DNA test kit (which can range anywhere from $50 to $200), you'll collect a sample of your dog's DNA by swabbing the inside of their mouth. (Wait until after you've completed this step before giving your dog a treat, so you won't dilute their saliva.) Then, you mail it off and wait for the results.
How do you receive results?
Depending on which DNA test kit you use, results and services vary. Some companies will email you in a couple of weeks, while others will contact you by phone so you can speak with a geneticist in a 1:1 consultation and talk through any questions you have.
What are the benefits of a dog DNA test?
There's a lot you can learn from a simple test like this. Beyond your dog's "official" breed (or combination of them), you can learn about their physical traits (coat color, body size, shedding tendencies, appetite, etc.), possible genetic health risks, and even see your dog's family tree. Some of this information can be especially helpful for breeders.
How accurate are dog DNA tests for dogs?
Most DNA kit manufacturers assure customers they are 90 percent accurate, but veterinarians and genetic experts aren't so sure. Genetic test kits for humans, like 23AndMe and AncestryDNA, are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but the same doesn't apply for dogs. As of right now, there's no FDA approval for dog DNA tests, and with little regulation, some veterinarians have voiced concern over "the lack of standards" and possible "weak science" associated with dog DNA tests. Even The American Kennel Club says the research is still in its infancy.
Should I get a DNA test for my dog?
You do you! A dog DNA test can be a special opportunity to discover more about your dog. If you decide to get one, know that veterinarians caution against using the results alone to make medical decisions for your pet. Take the information with a grain of salt and enjoy what you can learn from this emerging science.
Have you ever done a DNA test for your dog? We'd love to hear which one you used and how it went!