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Analyzing Your Dog’s DNA: The Canine Heritage Breed Test

Basenji, Designer Dogs, Mixed Breed Dogs, Saluki, Shetland Sheepdog

Mutt owners, rejoice! Now you can have an answer when people ask you “What kind of dog is that?” The Canine Heritage ™ Breed Test from MMI Genomics can analyze a sample of your dog’s DNA with state-of-the-art technology to tell your dog’s heritage. A quick and easy test kit can be purchased from their website that allows the owner to collect a DNA sample from their dog painlessly at home.

The DNA Cheekswab kit includes a soft bristle brush for collecting cells from inside your dog’s cheek and instructions for collecting the sample. The cost of the kit and analysis is $64.95 plus $6.95 for shipping and handling. The sample is mailed back in a prepaid envelope by regular US mail, and in four to six weeks you will receive the results. You will receive a “Certificate of Breed Analysis” which can include your dog’s photo if you wish.

Knowing your dog’s genetic makeup can have definite advantages besides satisfying your curiosity. Some breeds of dog are predisposed to certain genetic conditions, like dysplasia, cancers, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, and epilepsy. Being aware of potential health problems and working with your veterinarian can give your dog a longer and happier life. You may gain a better understanding of your dog’s temperament and behavior. And if you really love your dog, his looks, and personality, knowing what his genetic makeup is may help you find another one just like him!

The Canine Heritage ™ Breed Test can identify 38 common breeds. The certificate will state whether a particular breed in your dog’s family heritage is primary, secondary, or “in the mix.” Primary means that your dog is at least 50% of a recognized breed. Secondary means that a breed is easily recognized but less than 50% of the heritage. In the mix” refers to a particular breed DNA that is low but in measurable amounts. MMI Genomics is developing a process that may soon identify 101 breeds.

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The 38 breeds of dogs that may currently be identified by their DNA are in this list:

Afghan Hound
Basset Hound
Belgian Tervuren
Burnese Mountain Dog
Border Colllie
Chinese Shar-Pei
Chow Chow
Cocker Spaniel
Doberman Pinscher
English Setter
German Shepherd
German Shorthair Pointer
Golden Retriever
Italian Greyhound
Labrador Retriever
Miniature Schnauzer
Shetland Sheepdog
Siberian Husky
Saint Bernard
Yorkshire Terrier

Recently, on the Today Show, Meredith Viera had her dog Jasper analyzed with the Canine Heritage Test. She bought her dog at a pet shop and was told that he was an “Aussie-Poo,” an Australian Shepherd/Poodle mix. The test showed that Jasper was actually a Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, and Borzoi mix! (Since the test does not recognize all breeds, it is possible that Jasper did contain some Australian Shepherd).

Designer pet owners, beware! “Designer” dogs are not recognized breeds, just fashionable mixed breed dogs for which people are willing to pay exhorbitant prices. Since cross bred puppies (with parents of two different recognized pure breeds) have characteristics that are not always predictable, unscrupulous breeders can sell you a good old mongrel that resembles a “designer” dog that may grow up to look like nothing that you bargained for! With the Canine Heritage ™ Breed Test, you can verify that your cute little Yorkie-Poo is what the breeder claims it is.

Take the guesswork out of establishing the uncertain parentage of your dog. Understanding that your dog belongs to a herding dog breed, or a guarding dog, will make the difference in how you train them. Knowing that your new puppy really is a Shih-tzu and not some other breed will encourage breeders to deal fairly with their customers. This exciting new trend of dog breed DNA analysis can only benefit the dogs and their dog-loving community!

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