Should I Test My Dog’s DNA?

Aug 02, 2019

Mindy Tenenbaum was working with animal rescues in Toronto when she began selling at-home DNA test kits for dogs. “I initially got involved as a way to raise money for Canine Rescues,” she explained in an interview with doggie day care Hounds Town USA. “I saw so many people wanting to understand their dogs better.” When Tenenbaum saw how the test helped bridge that understanding, she bought the laboratory, and DNA My Dog was born.

The folks at Hounds Town USA spoke to owner Mindy Tenenbaum to find out more about the dog DNA test. Here’s the scoop to six frequently asked questions.

1. Why do people test their dog’s DNA?

Many of the dogs tested are mixed breed rescues that have been found or adopted. Owners are curious to know the various breeds in their dog’s DNA. Tenenbaum admits it’s been an eye-opening experience to hear some of the results from dog owners. “Seriously we hear a surprising story every day, everything from people adopting Chihuahua puppies and learning they are actually German Shepherd mixes to dogs getting adopted after long periods of time after their results were displayed at a shelter.”

2. What exactly will the DNA test tell me?

The DNA test gives you a breakdown of all the breeds that make up your dog’s genetic composition. You’ll also receive a summary of the general personality traits and medical conditions specific to those breeds to help you better understand what makes your dog unique.

3. Is breed determination the only thing you can find out?

Nope! Think your dog might have some wolf in their genes? That is something DNA My Dog can test for if you request. They also do hybrid testing, canine allergy testing, and canine genetic age tests which are growing in popularity. If your dog has passed away, owners can even request a deceased breed dog test provided you have some old toys or toothbrushes from your pet. “We do a number of deceased tests, and in many cases the customers tell us it gives them some nice closure,” Tenenbaum says.

4. How accurate is the DNA test?

If collected properly at home, the DNA test is just over 99% accurate. The factors which could influence this percentage include contaminated samples (if the test hasn’t been collected properly) and whether the breed is in the company’s database. Most breeds found in the general dog population are in the database though, particularly those found in shelter dogs.

5. Is the test painful?

The DNA test is a simple cheek swab test, and it is completely painless. You swab the inside of your dog’s cheek, drop it in the mail to DNA My Dog, and you get your results within about two weeks.

6. What are some of the benefits of getting the DNA test?

Just like some breeds are prone to hip problems or eye disorders, knowing your dog’s genetic makeup can help you recognize a few breed-specific personality traits or identify a health concern early on with your dog. Plus, just like for humans, it’s just really interesting to just know where you dog came from. After all, it’s not like we can ask them!

Doggie daycare Hounds Town USA loves mutts! All dogs, regardless of their breed, are welcome to attend doggie daycare as long as they pass the temperament evaluation. Staff is trained to look past a dog’s breed and focus instead on behavioral and other qualities that will determine a dog’s suitability in a natural pack environment like Hounds Town’s.

For more information on Hounds Town, visit www.houndstownusa.com.