IF you’re like most people with a mixed-breed dog, you may sometimes be surprised at certain behaviors and wonder just what breeds make up his ancestry. After all, experts on genetics contend that the dog is, at this point, the most diverse species of mammal. The many breeds recognized today are the result of careful selective breeding for functional attributes deemed beneficial to their human owners including hunting, guarding and herding, and desirable physical characteristics such as skull shape, size, and coat variation.
Genetic analyses across closely related breeds have suggested that a given breed represents a distinct genetic unit; consequently, relative genetic similarity within breeds makes the construction of definitive breed signatures a realistic proposition.
Fortunately, whether yours is a designer dog, a purebred or a mutt, the guessing game of just what breed it is can be over, thanks to a convenient 3-in-1, do-it-yourself dog DNA test, owners can now identify breeds that make up a mixed- breed dog; inform the parental ancestry of a “designer” dog; or certify whether a purebred is a purebred.
The test kit offers improved accuracy by testing for more than 200 breeds and varieties, covering 100 percent of American Kennel Club registered breeds. Once you’re armed with breed insights, this test can finally answer those nagging questions and may help you take better care of your pets.
What the vet says
Dr. Angela Hughes, DVM, Ph.D., veterinary genetics researcher, explains: “A dog’s ancestry can be influential in surprising ways. Obvious and not-so-obvious physical traits plus behaviors like digging, herding and barking can all come from the various breeds in a dog’s family tree. Once an owner understands a dog’s natural tendencies, it makes it possible to create a tailored training, exercise and nutrition program to fit his one-of-a-kind needs, plus it may help owners work with their veterinarians to be on the lookout for certain diseases they never would have expected.”
The state-of-the-art test is based on more than 15 years of extensive research, drawing from the expertise of leading scientists, veterinarians, universities and breed organizations throughout the world. Their development included the analysis of more than 19 million DNA markers from more than 15,000 dogs covering over 200 breeds and varieties. As a result, the tests are the most complete and comprehensive products on the market and are able to detect the breed composition of a dog with unprecedented accuracy. Called Wisdom Panel® 2.0, the test comes from Mars Veterinary, a global leader in pet care and canine genetic breed identification.
How it works
All it takes is a simple cheek swab. The kit includes all you need to administer the test at home, and you then mail in the samples in a prepaid package. You can also upload a photo of the dog for inclusion in his or her report.
What you get
Within three weeks of receipt of the swab sample, you’ll get an e-mail of an official Ancestry Report revealing the dog’s genetic background, including:
• Breed ancestry identification back to great-grandparents for mixed-breed dogs
• Breed certification and level of genetic diversity for purebred dogs
• Illustration that a dog is a true 50/50 hybrid of two purebred parents for designer dogs
• Adult weight range prediction to help make appropriate nutrition and diet choices
• Breed insights to help provide a better training program, understand behavior and create an effective care and wellness plan.
What else you can do for your dog
The experts at the American Veterinary Medical Foundation say there are several steps you can take to be a responsible dog owner:
• Avoid impulsive decisions when selecting your dog. Get a pet that’s suited to your home and lifestyle.
• Keep only the type and number of pets for which you can provide appropriate food, water, shelter, health care and companionship.
• Provide appropriate exercise and mental stimulation.
• Properly socialize and train your dog.
• Make sure your dog gets preventive health care (vaccinations, parasite control, etc.), as well as care for any illnesses or injuries.
• Budget for emergencies.
• Clean up after your dog.
• Make sure your dog is properly identified (tags, microchips, tattoos) and keep the registration up-to-date.
• Make alternate arrangements if you can no longer provide care for your dog.
• Recognize any decline in your dog’s quality of life and make timely decisions in consultation with a veterinarian.
The test and further facts are available at www.wisdompanel.com. North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.