Saturday, June 18, 2011

DNA Testing For Dogs

Everyday newspapers and online ads are offering up dogs for sale. Dogs of every breed shape and size are available for a price. If you look closely and are an astute negotiator sometimes you can find what seems to be a bargain. You may be offered a 'non-papered' purebred, which means getting the dog you want at a reduced price.

But are you getting what you ordered? What looks like a purebred may, not be a purebred after all. Papers can be falsified or, as noted above, there may not be papers at all. If only you could see into your dog's DNA would you be able to tell what breed he actually is.

Alternatively, you may be looking for that ideal mixed-breed. You may specifically seek out a combination of breeds that will be the perfect fit for your lifestyle. A solid hunting dog, a running companion, a calm complacent dog for your elderly mother or a delicate portable pet to be the child you never had. Regardless of what you are looking for it's not always obvious to confirm that that is what you've ended up with. Animal shelter and rescue organizations know full well that some breeds are more popular than others and the dogs that can be categorized as 'part' of a favourable breed will likely find a home sooner that a dog who's DNA may suggest a less popular breed affiliation.

In any case, whether you've purchased a puppy, adopted a young dog or been to a shelter and rescued a dog, as the dog ages, its mannerisms and behaviours may not suit the breed characteristics that you had anticipated. An option that is now available to dog owners everywhere is dog DNA testing. There are multiple websites offering this service.

There are many benefits to dog DNA testing. Dog owners know that particular breeds can have particular strengths and weaknesses whether it be in regard to training, behavioural mannerisms or possible future health concerns. Knowing what breed or breeds are in your dog's make up will allow you to take preventative health measures. A greater understanding of your dog's DNA make up may also impact your approach to training or at least greater patience if you're dealing with a more challenging breed.

Conversely, some dog owners undertake dog DNA testing simply in the spirit of fun and interest. Giving a breed name to your faithful family pet only adds to their appeal. Instead of answering the inevitable question with 'oh he's a mixed-breed', dedicated owners will revel in telling people he's a 'Labraspanhound', or a 'Huskpomtzoodle' instead.

Undertaking the actual test using the online kits available is a very simple and painless procedure. Contrary to popular belief, a blood sample is not required. The process simply involves taking a cheek swab (using the materials provided by the testing company), and sending the swabs in for testing. It is important to follow the exact steps in the kit to ensure accurate test results. Results take from four to six weeks depending upon the lab you are dealing with.

I'm a Canadian dog lover, dog blogger, and dog enthusiast, living life to the fullest on Canada's west coast.
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