Dog DNA Tests Can Reveal Your Pup’s True Heritage

– If your pup’s parentage is perplexing, a dog DNA test could reveal its ancestry. (upbeat music) You’ve hard of gene kits for humans, but what about finding out
your dog’s genetic history? Yeah, it’s a thing! If you’re looking to buy from a breeder, and want to know if your Labradoodle is in fact half-Lab and half-Poodle, or if you own a mixed breed dog and want to better understand
their genetic makeup, testing their DNA could be useful to you. I’m a pet owner, and
during this time of year, I spent most weekends at
the park with my dog Sutton. While some people enjoy
people-watching at the park, one of my favorite
pastimes is to dog-watch, but not in a creepy sort of way. When I see a dog of an unfamiliar breed, I play a private game of “Guess Who,” and try to match its features to the various breed characteristics. If you ask me, a dog’s appearance is one of the greatest
games in the animal kingdom. I mean, just look at my dog Sutton. (audience awing) The most accurate way of
finding out your dog’s breed is to look into a dog’s DNA kit. Dog DNA services provide
detailed information about your pet’s specific genetic makeup, whether it’s actually the
half-Dachschund half-Corgi you always throught it was, or if it’s something else entirely. – This is Sparky, my 20-year-old mutt. We’ve had her for about 18 years. She was originally from Puerto Rico. I think she’s gonna be
a variety of things, but mostly Corgi? Yes. – My dog’s name is Swanson. I adopted him a little over five years ago from a non-profit called
Corridor Puppy Rescue that get him from New Mexico. I’m gonna say German Shepherd. Nice. – To untangle the complex
information hidden in your dog’s genetic code,
laboratories collect samples from a subject, and load that
information onto a DNA reader, known as a chip. – The kit would come with a swab, which you put into your dog’s mouth. You get enough saliva on that. Then you package it up and
put it back postal mail, and it goes back, and
some amount of time later, you get information back from the company with whatever that kit was good for. – Then it gene-types the sample
along targeted gene points, known as DNA markers. Think of DNA markers
as random puzzle pieces in an image you haven’t assembled. So the more puzzle pieces you’ve joined, the fuller the picture gets. Ultimately, you’re still
missing a lot of information when markers are used. All dogs are the same species, and dog breeds are a newish invention dating back to the Victorian era. Thus, breed reports can
get murky real quick. – The actual technology is getting better as we get more and more markers. Gets more detailed and looks
at more spots in the DNA. – If you’re looking to
buy a dog from a breeder, free DNA kits can be useful for confirming what the seller is telling
you before dropping loads of cash on a pup. Some of the kits also
offer health assessments, and can tell you if your dog is a carrier, or is at risk for developing
inheritable diseases. Genetics experts caution
pet owners that the results from consumer brand genetics tests can leave substantial
room for interpretation. So take them with a grain of salt and consult your vet before making any life-altering decisions. No matter if they’re mutt,
mixed breed, a shelter dog, or a designer dog, a dog
DNA test can give you a clear idea of who they are by giving you a window
into their ancestry. (unintelligible whispering) (laughing) – [Man] Cool! (giggling)

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