Animal rescue professionals are known for trying to steer away from breed labels, as breed discrimination is all too common. It is far more effective to treat each animal as
an individual and share behavioral observations than pigeonhole a dog due to their suspected breed. It is rare
to know the breed of dogs that enter a shelter or rescue, and studies have shown that when we guess breeds by looks it is typically incorrect. However, discovering a dog’s breed has become possible in the last few years thanks to at home DNA tests.
In addition to being fun and exciting, higher end DNA tests can tell which health issues a dog may be predisposed to based on its breeds. This allows owners to get ahead of the game and work with diet or supplements as a dog ages for preventative care. There are even options to connect with possible relatives of your pup all over the country.
The tests can be ordered on the internet, the two most popular being Wisdom Panel and Embark. Wisdom panel is a bit more
on the lower end while Embark is on the higher. Both offer base options or advanced options, it is a bit pricier to get the advanced options that can determine possible future health ailments. Both do run sales at different times of the year, and you can sign up for email notifications to be alerted when a sale is occurring.
Once you receive the kit, they do require you to swab the inside of your dog’s mouth for a certain amount of time. I was pleasantly surprised that my dog let me do this, as he can be a bit finicky for handling. You put the swab in the vial and mail it out, making an account with the company online. They will alert you when they receive it, and then it takes a few weeks to process. I tried both options over the course of about a year, and they both gave the results quicker than anticipated.
I did not choose the option which gives you health insights, mostly because my dog is bad for medical handling. I chose to be blissfully ignorant and enjoy the time I have with him without being worried about what future potential health issues there may be. Both tests showed similar breeds, though Embark was a bit more specific.
It showed six breeds with eleven percent super mutt or mystery, while Wisdom Panel showed three and fifty percent super mutt.
DNA tests for dogs are a fun splurge. They give breed information, show relatives, and can help predict health problems. Dog per- sonality is affected by much more than breed, but they may offer insight to why a dog does certain behaviors. If you are a dog lover who does not know their pup’s history, I would highly recommend making the leap.