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DNA testing for dogs

It is estimated that there are currently over 1 million mixed breed dogs in the UK. As DNA testing has increased in popularity among humans, in order to determine ancestry and give us clues about our health, so have similar tests among mongrel owners keen to know what cocktail of breeds have gone into making up their beloved pup.

DNA testing is particularly popular with those who have adopted a rescue dog from a shelter and were given very little information about its previous life, upbringing and genetic line. Testing your dog’s genetics can help you look for any potential warning signs when it comes to their health as some dog breeds are more susceptible to inheriting certain diseases than others. It can also help to determine what kind of behavioural traits you can expect to see in your pet.

DNA testing kits are now extremely advanced and some claim to be over 90% accurate. Many kits are available to purchase online or from Amazon. Testing involves taking swabs from your dog’s mouth, posting them back to the laboratory and then awaiting results in the post. You then receive a comprehensive breakdown of the breeds that make up your mutt and usually a family tree that spans a few generations to give you some more detailed information. It’s often noted that the breeds listed don’t necessarily line up with how your dog looks. This is due to the fact that physical appearance is controlled by a very small number of genes and the mixture of recessive and dominant variants in the combination of breeds that make up your dog will vary greatly.

Although mixed-breed dogs aren’t usually in as high demand as pedigree breeds, there are some that are unusually sought-after such as Yorkiepoos, Goldendoodles and Sprockers to name just a few.

It’s unlikely that the results of a DNA test will change how you feel about your beloved pooch but if you have any health concerns about your dog then it’s a good way to help you put your mind at ease.