Even though some people might consider a mutt less desirable than an expensive purebred dog, there’s no denying this type of canine is unique. With thousands upon thousands of different combinations of doggy bloodlines possible, a mutt can result in a dog that possesses the most endearing traits of a variety of breeds.
And the benefits don’t stop there. These mixed breeds are thought to be healthier than purebreds, according to PetMD, because they contain fewer purebred genes than a purebred dog does.
Mutts are also cheaper to acquire. For example, according to PetMD, shelters often only ask for a donation of $50 to $200 and include spaying or neutering and vaccinations, whereas purebred dogs can cost up to and over $1,000.
Among the few drawbacks of adopting a mutt is that it can be hard to determine its roots, especially when your choice is to adopt a shelter pet. But there’s a solution: dog DNA tests.
Click through to learn more about these tests and how they can help you discover valuable information about your four-legged friend.
Dog DNA Testing Explained
Similar to the DNA testing done on humans, dog DNA testing reveals a mutt’s breed-specific markers. A variety of companies exist that sell and complete dog DNA testing.
Each company maintains a data bank of breed-specific markers, which it runs against each dog’s DNA sample against to determine the different breeds that are present in each dog’s background.
Discover Your Dog's True Lineage
Once you get your results, you can research each breed found during DNA testing of your dog to understand your furry friend better, like Hilary Reiter, who had her two dogs’ DNA tested about two years ago. After receiving the results of the tests, Hilary was surprised to learn that Jackson, who looks and acts very much like a Labrador Retriever, has Rottweiler in his mix.
Reiter’s other dog, a shaggy brown mutt named Rusty, came back with a mix of Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Australian Shepherd, Australian Cattle Dog and Labrador, which gave Reiter some valuable insight. “This helped me understand his [Rusty’s] protective and herding behavior, plus extreme loyalty,” she said.
Find Out How Big Your Dog Will Get
Although you might live in one of the best cities for pet owners and that adorable mixed-breed pup you picked out seems perfect for your one-bedroom apartment, it’s possible your canine pal could outgrow its surroundings in time.
Giving your dog a DNA test can give you insight into the physical traits it will possess once it’s grown. For example, a mixed-breed dog might have the appearance of one breed but grow to the size of a totally different breed — which is good to know if you have space constraints or a strict dog food budget.
Find Out if Your Dog Is at Risk for Certain Diseases
Some dog DNA kits offer a genetic health screening analysis, which isolates specific genetic mutations found in a dog’s DNA. The presence of such mutations can indicate whether your dog is more likely to develop a hereditary canine disease.
Although these genetic markers don’t confirm that your dog will develop a disease, your knowledge of them will allow you to be aware of and watch for symptoms, which can possibly help you head off the crazy costs of dog healthcare.
Discover if Your Canine Is Comprised of an Offending Breed
In case you’re planning to move to a rental property or a neighborhood that has breed restrictions, you could use a dog DNA test to prove that your mutt doesn’t have any of the so-called “offending” breeds in its makeup. Though all dogs are worthy of love, some properties do set down constraints on German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, Doberman Pinschers and other breeds.
Different Services That Offer Dog DNA Tests
A variety of different services exist that offer doggy DNA tests. Click through to learn about some of the more comprehensive offerings available, which range in price between $68.99 and $199.99.
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Wisdom Panel claims it maintains the world’s largest breed database.
The service offers two types of tests. First is Wisdom Panel Health, which retails for $149.99 and offers canine breed and disease detection. The other offering is Wisdom Panel 4.0, which retails for $84.99 and offers canine breed detection only.
After your dog’s DNA sample reaches the lab, you’ll receive online results in two to three weeks.
Embark’s test is the most expensive, priced at $199.00. The company claims that it offers the most accurate breed identification available because it tests over 200,000 genetic markers, whereas other tests on the market only test around 10,000 markers.
Embark also tests for over 160 diseases within its offering, contributes to research to end genetic dog diseases and provides free updates to your dog’s profile when possible.
Once Embark receives your test kit, typical turnaround time for results is three to seven weeks.
Orivet offers three different breed identification tests. The most inexpensive option is a dog breed identification test for $84.95. The test which includes a basic health schedule and LifePlan, which will help you keep your dog on a wellness schedule.
The next level up is a dog breed identification test plus a more advanced LifePlan for $129.95. This version of the LifePlan is personalized to your pet’s breed, gender, age, weight, location and lifestyle profiles. The plan includes information for implementing the plan that you can share with your dog’s vet.
The third offering is the dog DNA health screen plus breed identification test for $175.00, which identifies your dog’s breeds, offers a personalized wellness plan and determines if your dog is at risk for over 180 hereditary diseases and traits.
Once your samples are received, Orivet will send you an email confirmation. Results will be available within 10 to 14 days.
DNA My Dog
DNA My Dog offers the most extensive variety of breed identification tests. The DNA My Dog breed identification test retails for $68.99, whereas the DNA breed identification test plus full genetic screening is $188.99.
Other breed identification tests include the DNA My Dog breed test plus Wolf Canid/Hybrid test for $88.99, the DNA breed identification plus health plan for $99.99 and DNA My Dog deceased dog breed testing for $157.00.
This service offers a custom photo certificate that states your dog’s breeds and an exclusive life plan service that assists you in managing your dog’s health and wellness throughout its life.
DNA MyDog promises results in just two weeks.
Why Dog DNA Tests Are a Great Idea
Although the phrase “all you need is love” seems appropriate to those who have bonded with their mutts, it can be helpful to know more about your mixed breed’s genetic makeup. The ability to understand and address certain behaviors, provide a more suitable environment and prevent health problems are all valuable aspects that can result from giving your dog a DNA test.
Click through to find out how your pet can enjoy vacation, too.
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- 30 Most Expensive Dog Breeds
All images are representational.