Genetic Testing and Your Mixed Breed Dog
The Westminster Kennel Club has classified mixed breed dogs into the new breed “All American Dog.” This gives our mixed breed friends a real place in competition such as agility, dock diving and other sporting events and adds a patriotic twist.
Oftentimes, these dogs do well because they carry genetics from many breeds. If those genetics come from two breeds that are both good at the same sport, we may be seeing super-mutts in the near future!
Mixed breed characteristics can help with competition and home life alike. Recently, many people have adopted dogs from shelters which, thankfully, are giving many homeless dogs homes. Most shelter pets were abandoned or were born without a home, which makes them more likely to be a mixed breed dog. This means that more mixed breed dogs are in homes than ever before and their new pet parents want to know how to best care for them.
Some dog breeds have genetic predisposition to certain diseases, sensitivities or allergies and personality traits. Knowing this information can be extremely helpful to you and to your veterinarian in case your mixed breed carries genetic sensitivity to certain medications such as the MDR1 gene. Genetics like this come from specific breeds of dogs. It is standard to test most purebred dogs with this genetic propensity, but mixed breeds usually go untested.
Benefits of Doggy DNA Tests
In addition to sensitivities, knowing about your dog’s potential long-term health issues before they arise can give you a leg up when it comes to testing and early detection. For example, if you have a mixed breed dog that has predominant Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, then you will want to stay on top of his or her cardiac function as this breed is predisposed to Mitral Valve Disease. Checking the heart via echocardiogram can give you information about the status of the heart which can tell your veterinarian if medication is needed. Starting medication can help support the heart for longer periods of time which allows your pet to live their best and longest life.
As for overall health, you may be curious about what breeds make up your newest addition. Genetic testing can help illuminate why your dog looks and acts the way he or she does. It can give you predominant breeds which can help identify and hone in on your pet’s needs such as exercise, training and grooming.
Many herding breeds are highly intelligent and need regular exercise to keep them from becoming destructive out of boredom. Other breeds desire companionship overall and like to accompany their pet parent everywhere they go. Some breeds need regular grooming to keep their coat knot free, others only need a good grooming twice a year to remove their dense undercoat. Knowing exactly what breeds make up your pet may not determine anything health wise or personality wise, but it may lead to understanding their coat type and/or coloration.
Finding out what makes up your new pet is a fun and exciting experience. It can also be helpful for their immediate and future care as well.