Dog DNA testing: every heard of this? Well actually this phrase refers to a group of testing all aimed at our canine friends. Tests to determine the genetic health of your dog, answer your questions as to your dogs breed and also your dog’s parentage.
You might be sure you have a pure breed or simple wonder what breed (or rather breeds) your mongrel is. A breed verification test will tell you whether your dog is likely pure bred (from parents of the same breed). If it is a mixed breed dog, it will give you a good estimate of the principle dog breeds but also tell you something about minor dog breeds that make up the DNA of your mongrel. You could get a result which will show the main two breeds are Pekinese and pug and after that, other minor genes associated with bulldogs. You will without a doubt be able to spot some of the characteristics of the breed identified by simply observing your dog, their physical build and their temperament.
A dog breed verification test is a fairly accurate test but is not as accurate as other DNA tests. The problem or rather the shortcomings of this test lie in the fact that the genetic data of every dog breed is not available and there is still research to be done. There is more: some dog breeds are genetically very similar and this makes it very difficult to distinguish between them unless one goes very deep into the analysis – this would indeed be too costly and not sustainable for a consumer market.
If you are the average dog owner, dog parentage testing will unlikely be needed but it does make a very interesting read not to mention it is so often used and relied upon by dog breeders. When you have kennels with so many dogs for breeding, it sometimes may be unclear which dog fathered a litter of puppies. There is also the possibility of multiple sites for one litter and this can be indeed problematic. Bitches can release multiple eggs and she can thus be fertilized by sperms from different dogs. This means that when the puppies are born, different puppies from the very same litter could well have different daddies (this is actually something that can happen in humans two – if a woman has intercourse with two different males closely together, she could have non identical twins with different fathers).
If you are wondering about how accurate a dog paternity test, we are looking at somewhere around 99% or higher (if the dog tested is the dog that sired the litter). Exclusions are 100% accurate. Other issues that could arise is in groups of dogs that are closely related – in this case, pin pointing the father of the litter could be more challenging as the DNA profiles of the potential “daddies” are very, very similar.
Why test paternity you might be wondering? Because sometimes it is the only way of providing your buyers (if you are a breeder) with an actual pedigree which can show the true ancestry of the dog.