How to Identify a Dog's Lineage Through DNA

DNA testing can reveal the parentage of a mixed-breed dog.
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Figuring out the heritage of your mixed breed dog used to be a guessing game. Today, commercial DNA tests available to the public use massive genetic databases to identify the breeds that make up your unique dog. These test kits are available from your veterinarian, pet supply store or online.

Testing Kits

Choose a testing kit that matches your dog's suspected lineage. For example, kits are available for purebred, designer crosses and mixed breed dogs. Designer crosses are the result of intentionally breeding two different purebred dogs, for example, a cocker spaniel and a poodle to create a "cockapoo." Swab the inside of your dog's cheek, following the kit instructions, to obtain a DNA sample, or take your dog to the veterinarian to obtain a blood sample. Seal the sample and mail it to the manufacturer for testing, which usually takes about two to three weeks.

Test Results

The testing company analyzes your dog's DNA sample for specific genetic markers and compares them to a database recognized breeds. Based on the results, a report is prepared listing the possible matches for each marker and the likelihood or percentage of your dog's relation to each matched breed.