Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

National DNA Day was on April 25, 2023 and it got me thinking. More people should get their dog a DNA test. We got a DNA test done for my dog and it was a great way to understand him better!

Dog DNA Tests? Really? You may be thinking. But hear me out. It’s one of the best ways to get to know your dog. If you adopted a pup from a shelter, you may not be 100% certain of its breed. Shelters and veterinarians do their best to visually determine what breed your dog is, but without DNA, it’s hard.

Knowing your dog’s breed is like knowing where your family comes from. I’m sure we’ve all been tempted to buy a DNA test for ourselves. Some of us probably even have. Personally, my genetic makeup is 34% English, 23% Italian, 16% German, 16% Scottish, and the rest Norwegian.

Wouldn’t it be fun to have a breakdown of your dog’s breeds like that? There are a number of brands out there who specialize in figuring out the perfect recipe that made YOUR dog. Knowing this information is actually more vital than you’d think, too.

Here are 4 benefits of getting your dog a DNA test:

  • Health

    Crufts 2023 - Day Three

    Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

    Certain breeds are predisposed to different illnesses. Breed dispositions are good to know when buying a purebred dog. But when getting a mutt, you may have no idea what you’re getting into. For example, Labrador Retrievers have a higher chance of developing Lymphoma. These DNA tests can tell you what exactly your dog is made of so you can be better prepared for their breed’s quirks.

  • Connection

    4 Benefits Of Getting Your Dog A DNA Test

    Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images for Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

    Some of the dog DNA test brands offer a service that will connect you to your dog’s relatives. Yes, really. They will compare your pup’s DNA to those that are already in their database to determine matches. You can actually set up playdates with your dog’s family members. There are stories of people finding their shelter dog’s littermates on DNA websites. How crazy is that?

  • Curiosity

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    Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for America’s VetDogs

    You may really just want to know what the heck your dog even is. That’s what draws most people to these services. There are some really unique looking mutts out there. You can guess all you want based on how they look, but a dog you may think is a Lab/Collie mix could actually be a Beagle/Shepherd mix. It’s fun to get one of these done just so you can answer the “what kind of dog is that?” question you get every time you walk Fido.

  • Ease

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    Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images

    You may think these would be a process to do, but the at-home kits are actually super easy to work with. All you need is your dog’s saliva. The kits come with mail-back envelopes and everything, so you can just pop the sample right back in the mailbox. For most kits, all you have to do is stick a swab in your dog’s mouth for a few seconds, then place it in the container they provide you with. The hardest part is activating an account on the brand’s website, but even that’s simple. In a few weeks you’ll hear back with the results via email.

  • What I Found Out...

    Gina's dog Barnaby

    Photo by Gina Cosenza

    Look at my handsome boy… This is Barnaby! He’s maybe 11 years old…maybe 13…we don’t know.

    We adopted him from a shelter in 2013. When we adopted him, they told us he was a “Lab mix.” Vague, right?  He was super crazy and had this insane bark. When we took him to the vet, they thought he may have a little Beagle in him, considering his weird noises.

    It took us quite a bit to finally get him a DNA test done, but when we did, it didn’t disappoint. His breed results were as follows:

    63.4% Beagle

    12.7% German Shepherd

    11.9% Labrador Retriever

    and the rest…”Supermutt!”

    Looking at him, would you have guessed that that was his mix? We sure didn’t. The website also told us that Beagles have a predisposition to periodontal disease, which explains his bad breath! It gave us the option to send his genotype workup straight to his vet, so we did. That way they can understand him better and treat him accordingly. We also connected with his half-sibling. Her name is Daisy!

    It was super worth it for us. Consider doing the same for your dog.


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