By: Shannon Gould.
After doing a DNA test myself and having recently adopted a pound puppy that had a somewhat unknown breed, the idea of doing a “doggy DNA test” seemed more and more interesting to me.
There are plenty of DNA tests available on the market, each with their own levels of accuracy. If you’re interested in doing one with your dog, I will recommend doing your research before settling for the first one you see. Different tests also test for different things. The test that I choose tested for, breed, family tree, genetic characteristics and, health risks.
Why should you give your dog a DNA test?
There are many reasons to give your dog a DNA test, one of them being simply out of curiosity. I would especially recommend doing one if you are like I was, unsure of your dogs’ breed.
This is Snoopy. I adopted Snoopy from the shelter where he was advertised as being an “Aussie Shepherd Mix.”
We now know that this isn’t the case and while he is loved regardless of his breed, different breeds carry an array of different physical trademarks, personality traits and, talents. So it can be fun to look at each breed your dog has in him and be able to pinpoint that he got his “friendly personality” from his golden retriever side or his “curly tail” from his pug side.
DNA tests can show health risks your dog may face in the future.
In addition to each breed possessing their own unique traits, different breeds of dogs also carry their own health risks and likely-hoods of carrying certain diseases. Being knowledgable about which diseases and illnesses your dog could be genetically predetermined to get, could help prevent disease later on in life.
This is something that I wish that I would’ve done with my previous dogs. One got cancer and the other got arthritis, both of these can be tested for. Catching her cancer earlier on would have saved my dog and taking proper precautions to avoid arthritis could have helped shrink my other dog’s chances of getting it.
While it is difficult to submit the DNA test, knowing in a few short weeks you will know what diseases your precious dog may get in the future. It is also a blessing to be well informed of the potential harms he could face. Many common diseases are very much avoidable and you could save your dog from a premature death or disheartening illness.
Knowing this encouraged me to give my newly adopted dog a DNA test to not only discover his breed and family tree for fun but to be aware of health risks that he may get.
The test results.
After deciding on a test that would tell us what breed Snoopy is and what health risks he may face, I ordered the test online. The test arrived with a little tube to collect the sample in, afterwords I shipped it back to the company.
As you can probably imagine, those four weeks that I waited for the results to come back were agonizing but worth it. Here’s what I found out about Snoopy’s DNA:
As I mentioned earlier in the article, Snoopy’s DNA was said to be mostly Aussie Shephard. So imagine my shock when I open the email containing his results, with this pie chart looking back at me:
Not only did this better explain different aspects of his personality and his appearance but also got us wondering about what his family tree might look like. Fortunately for us, the results also included details regarding his family tree.
Family tree results.
Here is Snoopy’s family tree, not a single Aussie Shephard insight.
Because he was rescued from the pound, it was fascinating to see this family tree and wonder what his life story, prior to the shelter, must have been like.
Physical charcteristics assiociated with breed.
Another interesting thing that came out of this test was, learning why Snoopy looks the way that he does. The test was able to look at Snoopy’s genes and provide an accurate description of him, which I found quite impressive as I opted out of submitting a photo along with his DNA sample.
One of the traits the test predicted Snoopy had was “base erect ears.” Which looking at his ears is simply spot on! The results also shared that this trait is common in Russel Terriers as well as, American Staffordshire Terriers; which we found out makes up a quarter of his DNA!
Genetic Health Risks
This portion of the test was the part I was understandably the most nervous about. Fortunately, Snoopy’s results were not worrying in the slightest.
He was not at risk for any diseases, nor did he inherit any copies of disease mutations however, he is a carrier of “degenerative myelopathy.”
Because he is a carrier of only one copy his likely-hood of showing any signs of disease are very slim. The good thing is that now we are aware of this and can keep an eye out for the symptoms, to be on the safe side.
While Snoopy’s DNA in terms of illness wasn’t worrying, your dog may not be the same story. Getting a DNA test to be on the safe side, is never a bad idea.
Was it worth it?
I have no regrets about doing the test. I have learned so much about who Snoopy is, his family and his health risks. To me, that is priceless.
I would definitely recomend this to anyone, especially if you are like me and have a shelter rescue that’s breed you are unsure about.
While it was a lot of fun to discover my dog’s family history and breed, the best part for me was obtaining a better understanding of his health. To ensure I am prepared and aware of the risks he may face in the future.
For these reasons I will be doing this with my recently adopted shelter rescue as well as, any future dogs I own.