Dog Health & Wellness

Dog DNA Testing: Learning its many uses

Dog DNA Testing: Learning its many uses

A range of dog DNA tests are available which can provide lots of information about that which is encoded deep in your dog’s genetic makeup. Some people are indeed surprised when they hear of tests such as dog paternity testing or breed verification tests – the truth of the matter is, these tests are very common and very useful.

Paternity testing for dogs

You might have thought the issue of unknown fathers and paternity disputes only formed part of the human world. Well, this is far from the truth- in fact, many dog breeders now resort to dog paternity testing to determine exactly which dog fathered a litter of puppies. So if you have doubts about the parentage of a recent litter – this is your solution. This not only helps confirm the biological sire of the tested puppies with 100% accuracy but also helps provide dog buyers with a scientific guarantee of the pedigree of the dog they are buying.

All dog DNA tests use a very advanced method of a DNA amplification and replication called PCR (polymerase chain reaction). This method enables scientists to work with tiny amounts of your dogs DNA. What’s even better is that this type of analysis of DNA does not require any blood samples or veterinary assistance.

The results of a dog parentage test will provide very conclusive results confirming or excluding the tested, alleged sire as the biological father. To provide the most accurate results, it is important that the mother of the puppies is also included. This is because if scientists have access to the mother’s sample, they can ignore her contribution in the genetic makeup of her puppies and solely focus on the DNA that the puppies inherited from their father. The test is also extremely useful in cases of multiple sire litters, where the puppies from a single litter could have been fathered by more than 1 sire.

Having the hard evidence of dog parentage is crucial for dog breeders. It confirms that pedigrees are correct and guarantees puppy buyers that pedigrees are accurate.

The American Kennel Club relies on dog parentage testing to ensure its registry is as accurate as it can possibly be. The AKC launched its parentage testing programme in 1998 and has since compiled an impressive database.

Mixed breed DNA testing

Knowing what mix of breeds your mongrel might be is often quite a random guess. They often appear to have physical and perhaps even behavioural traits from various breeds and thus, it is not unusual for the dog’s master to simply speculate over possibilities, conjecturing that the dog may be half this breed and half that breed – but many times these guesses are not accurate. Dog owners might at times even believe to have a purebred dog. Knowing exactly the answers to any of these queries is impossible without the help of a dog breed DNA test.

Breed verification tests are in fact a great way of discovering your canine heritage. These tests basically compare the genetic profile of your dog with the DNA profiles of hundreds of other known breeds stored in a vast electronic database. This database will contain the genetic blueprints of every certified dog breed known. Mongrels will typically have a genetic cocktail of many different dogs but scientists can determine from their profile which dog breeds form the most significant part of the dog’s DNA. They refer to this as the dog’s primary breeds. They will also provide information about the genetic aspects of your dog’s DNA which form a less significant part of your dog’s DNA. They usually refer to these as secondary breeds. Some DNA testing companies also provide information about the tertiary dog breeds- these breeds form the smallest and least significant part of your dog’s genetic makeup.

How Can I collect dog DNA samples?

Dog DNA samples can be collected easily by any pet owner using mouth swabs. To collect samples from the dog using this cotton tipped applicators, the dog owner simply needs to hold the dogs head whilst rubbing the swab inside the dog’s mouth for around 10 seconds. To ensure adequate amounts of DNA are collected, it is best to use 2 swabs for every dog. Once the samples have been collected, the swabs need to be left to air dry and then sent off for laboratory analysis. Because of the accuracy and simplicity of sample collection, dog DNA testing has become a great tool for dog breeders and regular dog owners alike.

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