Finding out the breed of your dog is not as easy as telling the difference between a cat and a mouse. This does not mean, however, that there aren’t ways to determining the ancestry of a particular dog breed. Advancements in science and genetics have made it easier to learn this type of information in an easy and timely way.
All ethical dog breeders keep detailed information about their canines. That means if you buy a dog from a breeder, you should know details about the dog’s exact breed including lineage as well as genetic test results which test for high-risk issues. Most dogs found at animal shelters, however, will have very little information about their origin, much less a detailed breed report.
Regardless of what breed your dog is, it’s important to find out at least some information about your dog’s heritage. Whatever your reason for owning that breed – a companion, a pet, a guard – the dog’s genetic information can be useful for medical or even crossbreeding purposes. Here are some tips on how to figure out what breed your dog is.
1. Compare Looks
Doing some simple research on dog breeds will give you an idea of what kind of dog you own. Some websites provide a list of dog breeds for buyers and owners who want to either find out more about their pet or treat a health issue. Even if that’s not your case, you can still check out differences and similarities between your pet and those on the list. This will give you some basic knowledge on what category of breed(s) your dog likely falls into.
2. Ask a Vet
Veterinary doctors treat, vaccinate, and examine all different types of dogs on a very regular basis. This gives their opinions a strong amount of validity when it comes to assessing the breed of a dog. With their in-depth knowledge of the field and trained eye for unique traits, they can provide you with some information that will give you an insight into the family line of your beloved pet.
3. Visit a Dog Shelter or Kennel Club
Dog shelters and kennel clubs usually have some professional dog handlers, animal scientists, or veterinarians who can provide both expert advice and information on almost any dog, whether they are pure or mixed breed. As for a kennel club, you can always contact them to find out when they hold their meetings that you can attend with your dog. A shelter, on the other hand, is almost always open for you to go in and find any necessary information you seek. You may get many different opinions, but any line of consistency should give you some idea of what breed your dog is.
4. Carry Out a Dog DNA Test
Getting a DNA test done for your dog is arguably the most thorough way to find out your dog’s breed(s). These tests are generally about 90% accurate, even though results may vary. Samples can be easily quickly collected by wiping the inner cheek of your dog with a cotton swab. You can use the best dog DNA kit CompareDNA has lots of options to find the most complete test out there, testing for over 160 genetic conditions, 200,000 genetic markers, and includes 170 common breeds in its database. You’ll receive a report that not only tells you detailed information about the breed or breed mix of your dog, but also any health issues it may be carrying or be susceptible for, especially important if you plan to breed your dog. Although it’ll cost a bit more than an online search, results from a DNA test will undoubtedly help determine your dog’s breed more accurately than other methods. Knowing your pet’s exact breed and thus history will help you understand their needs, behaviors, and help conditions better, giving you more time and enjoyment with your beloved pet. Like they say, “a happy pet helps maintain a happy home”.
One last thing, as you’re embarking on this journey to find your dog’s breed, makes sure your dog wears a dog ID tag and is microchipped should they ever get lost and need to find their way back home.