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Doggie DNA Tests: Waste of Money or Legitimate Tool?

posted by Nathalie Martin

Do mutt-lovers (with admittedly too much time and money on their hands) get anything in exchange for the $75-100 they pay to find out what kind of dog they have? It depends. My advice: before ordering a doggie DNA test over the net, do lots of research. Perhaps just have the vet do it.  If you do order a test over the internet, make sure you pick one that tests for the maximum number of breeds and that gets very high marks from consumers, and carefully read the fine print. Now they tell me, the more mixed your mutt is, the less likely you are to get any info at all from the test. I’ll let you decide if the test was worth my money. Here is the dog:Image1

And the results?

Primary breeds, none; secondary breeds, none; and in the mix, Italian Greyhound,
Beagle, and Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. I don’t THINK so, do you?

Lessons: Pick your tester wisely. I used Canine Heritage.com, because they were in Chapter 11 some years back, and I like to frequent companies that have made it through this process. When I asked for my money back, or at least some explanation for the results, the company identified two breeds they do not test for that could be in the mix, just by looking at the photo of Ringo. I wondered why they do not test for these breeds if they are so common. They offered to redo the test, but we have shaken faith now, so we said no. Again, go to one that tests for more breeds than Canine Heritage. Have any of you had better luck with this? What kind of dog do you think he is?Can you beat the test?


Is he the kind of dog that wags his tail when you get home? That snuggles up to you when you're sick? That watches the guy looking at you funny *very closely* until he goes away? IF he's that kind of dog does it matter if he has beagle, bluehound or basset in his blood?

Now that's insightful. He is indeed!!

Finnish Lapphund + Entlebucher Mountain Dog

Looks like a fair dose of border collie to me.

Lee and CaitlinO, Thank you! First Lee, I had never heard of a Finnish Lapphund until the testing company said he looked like one based upon the photo, but that they do not test for that. And Caitlin, we agree, some border collie, and a handful of Sheltie maybe? A little Australian Shepherd or German Shepherd for good measure? Unless he is a Finnish Lapphund for real. He looks like one. Not seeing the mountain dog though. Like billiecat said, we love him regardless.

Why just test DNA when you can select your breed?


(couldn't resist)

Oh Sir Wicklund, its sick! Genetically modified dogs? As your site says:

GeneDupe is able to offer pets that have had their behavioural characteristics fine-tuned. If you want a docile Rottweiler, or even an aggressive retriever, you can have one made to your exact specifications. Dr Fril, though, thinks that the most popular modification will be his tweaking of canine scent-marking behaviour so that local lampposts are no longer the preferred sites of relief and communication. Instead, GeneDupe’s pooches are pre-wired to recognise the company’s proprietary DoggieLoos, which have a distinctive odour that is perceptible to canids, but not humans.

Tempting, since he seems a bit too interested in the cat, but no, we'll stick with resucing hounds and wondering afterwards what we got!!

Cute-looking mutt, anyway.

You don't really get a good sense of scale from that picture. How tall is he? And how long from nose to tail? It would have some impact on likely breed.

But of course I agree with you and billiecat. Why does love need labels?

34 pounds, about 24" tall, not sure how long (I am at work), but very similar in size and build to an Australian Shepheard or a Border Collie. Long and lean. Bigger and leaner than a Sheltie, which many people think he is/has. Thanks for asking....

Putting aside for a moment the fun in guessing the breed, those DNA kits are a waste of money in my opinion; they do not have a complete DNA registry of the hundreds of dog breeds documented today. No wonder your results were odd!

Lady Martin, I trust you realized my link was to The Economist's April Fool article.

Note that we also have human "breed" DNA kits -- apparently ancestry.com is selling kits to help people verify their ancestry by DNA.

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