Dog Mix Identification through DNA Testing

Owners of mongrels can learn the dog mix through DNA testing. There are benefits to knowing exactly what specific breeds are found in your dog's genetics. Many health conditions link to specific breeds. You'll be able to watch for these conditions in their earliest, often fully treatable, stages.

Another benefit to knowing your mixed dog's breeds involve the better understanding of his traits. Every breed has individual traits. German Shepherds are known for being protective of their families. Labs are easy going and generally easy to train. Border Collies are known for being extremely energetic and needing lots of activity. By learning the traits your dog may develop, you'll understand the best way to train him and provide him with the best possible activities to keep him happy.

How DNA Dog Mix Testing Works

For years, scientists have pinpointed similar DNA patterns within specific breeds. Using that information, DNA companies compare your dog's DNA test results to the patterns found in different breeds. Each similarity to the specific DNA pattern is indicative of your dog's ancestry and breeding.

Most kits require a cheek swab to gather skin cells from your dog. In the past blood samples were required, but now companies work with skin cells making it less stressful on your pet. You place the cheek swab into the secure container and mail it to the company. It's that easy.

DNA results usually come back in a few levels. Level 1 is usually only possible if one of the dog's parents was a purebred. The next level lists breeds that make up the largest portion of your dog's DNA. These levels continue down the line to breeds that make up only a small portion of your dog's genetic make-up.

Cost of Dog Mix Identification Using DNA Tests

One of the leading companies offering DNA testing is BioPet Veterinary Labs. These kits come with everything you need, including the swab, shipping container and postage paid envelope. Expect to pay about $60 to $70 for a BioPet DNA test kit. They test for 63 different breeds. Expect results within two weeks.

Canine Heritage DNA test kits are sold online and highly recommended by professionals on Animal Planet and many rescue shelters. The kits start at $80 and test for 100 different dog breeds. The company usually mails back results within a month.

Wisdom Panel DNA dog mix tests check for 170 different breeds. This is the company most veterinarians use if you go into the office for DNA testing. The Insights Dog DNA Test comes with the swab, mailing package and pre-paid postage. You get the results emailed to you within three weeks. The cost for this DNA test starts at $80.

Accuracy of DNA Dog Mix Testing

Dog DNA tests are extremely accurate. However, some pet owners receive their results and disagree with the results. This happens when the dog's bloodlines come from breeds not found in that company's database. Instead, the computer looks for breeds that go farther back in your dog's ancestry. The dog may have a fraction of a percentage of that breed in his DNA but not resemble the breed. Choosing a test with a larger breed database eliminates that issue.