Do you have a mixed-breed or mutt dog? Have you ever wondered what your dog’s heritage is? Perhaps you’re wondering if he’s part Collie, or part German Shepherd, or part Spaniel. If he’s a puppy, you may wonder how big he’ll get or what breed characteristics he’ll display, such as his herding abilities. That’s where a dog DNA test can come in handy. Recently DNA testing for dogs has become popular, and it’s even offered by the AKC to determine a purebred’s parentage and identification information, while some services look for possible genetic mutations. If you’re interested in DNA testing your dog, here’s what to know.
How much does a DNA dog kit cost?
AKC has their own kits, with one available at no charge, and a processing fee of $50, and they also offer a prepaid version for $45. Please note that the AKC testing is only available for the AKC registerable breeds. You can order the kits from the AKC Online Store.
If you’re using a service for DNA testing of a mixed-breed dog, you can anticipate paying $45-$60 for a kit. You can find them at your local pet store, or they can be purchased online. Two popular DNA dog testing companies are Wisdom Panel and DNA My Dog. Wisdom Panel sells several versions of their DNA kit, with the Wisdom Panel 3.0 and Wisdom Panel Optimal Selection versions only sold online; Wisdom Panel 2.0 is sold in PetCo and Petsmart locations.
How is the DNA Tested?
Wisdom Panel uses two cheek swabs from your dog to test, then has users activate the kit online and mail in the swab. The sample is then processed in the lab by looking at the dog’s genotype, also known as the genetic makeup, and comparing it to the 10,000 breed samples in the Wisdom Panel database. This DNA tells the researchers your dog’s ancestors and the traits he inherited.
Why Test Your Dog’s DNA?
The availability of testing your dog’s DNA also has a practical reason besides general curiousity. If a dog owner lives in a certain co-op or district, there may be rules for DNA testing of dogs because certain breeds aren’t allowed in the area. The tests are also useful for mixed breed puppies at shelters, because they give the shelter staff a better idea of how big the dog will grow and well as more identification information for the various breed characteristics; they can then pass this information to potential adopters. Breeders can use kits like the Optimal Selection DNA kit from Wisdom Panel to reduce their chances of producing litters of puppies with diseases because they’ll be able to determine what dogs they have that are carriers. This matchmaking tool helps with the genetic makeup of puppies by revealing health information before you breed. Finally, a DNA dog testing kit lets you determine if your breed matches the guidelines set out in the breed or kennel club. Some organizations, such as search and rescue organizations, use the kits to determine what dogs are good candidates for search and rescue operations.