So many of my friends have mixed breed dogs and one thing is for certain; as our dogs leave adulthood and enter into seniorhood, we inevitably wonder…Is a Dog DNA Test worth it and which are most recommended by amazon and reddit contributors?
Whatever the reasons for why we might be asking for the best dog dna tests my vote is: YES.
In this article, I will share with you how I came to perform a DNA test on my dog, which one I selected based on good feedback from reddit forums, how the DNA results blew my mind a little and how “knowing,” definitely changed things for the better for my now 12 year old senior dog.
So, let’s travel back in time to when my dog was just a young lad and what got me thinking too; is a dog DNA test worth it?
Pre Dog DNA Test
Here is a picture of my dog Frodo BEFORE the DNA Test. The year is 2010; he’s 3 years old and full of life.
According to his previous owners, I’m raising a dog whose mother is a Siberian Husky/Lab mix and whose daddy is a Rottweiler.
Generally speaking, I accept these breeds as participating in his genetic makeup. I can definitely see the Husky in him: that one blue eye, his extra thick coat, his love of snow and insatiable desire to lead the way on our walks.
I’m also very accepting of the Labrador part; because hey…he’s yellow and yellow fur had to come from somewhere.
Now as for the Rottweiler bit, I’ll have to admit; I never did fully embrace this claim and had a sneaking suspicion that, unbeknownst to the owners, momma had a secret love affair. But for years, I put that aside because it didn’t matter.
And as years went on and he grew up, I could definitely attribute his watchdog skills, protective nature, big chest and square head to that of a Rottie. Case closed….sort of.
Even though I enthusiastically introduced him as a Husky, Lab, Rottie mix, still, something didn’t quite add up. Frodo has a handful of traits that could absolutely NOT be tied to any of these three breeds.
Traits That Didn’t Add Up
You can see in this picture that Frodo has a long pointy nose attached to his rather square head.
On top of that, he’s so tall! He towers over Rotties and Huskies and is only small when standing beside our neighbor’s Great Dane.
Another mysterious trait is that Frodo is lightning fast. He runs circles around all the dogs in the park and catches up to them with ease.
When given room to run, it’s a remarkable sight. He has the smooth, effortless strides of a racehorse and no dog can keep up…except the occasional greyhound. And when he’s chasing something, forget trying to call him off. Nothing else exists in that moment and he has absolutely zero road sense.
And when Dog DNA Testing became popular in 2013, I wondered too: is a dog DNA test worth it? I mean I didn’t really care what he was so what did it matter? And that’s true, it didn’t matter. Until I took the advice of a handful of reddit contributors, took the plunge and received this in my email:
My Husky/Lab/Rottie Mix is actually a German Shepard, Siberian Husky, Boxer, Borzoi Golden Retriever mix. I KNEW IT! No Rottweiler at all! His big square head and huge chest comes from being part boxer. I used this company:(link to product) Wisdom Panel and it comes in 3 Different offerings to suit any budget.
Needless to say I was just as stunned to learn about my dog being German Shepard and Borzoi. I didn’t know much about the Borzoi breed, but after a little research, I felt that even though Borzoi wasn’t as dominant as some of the other breeds, it described my Frodo to a T:
The borzoi is best described as a large greyhound robed in a long, silky coat.
Like a typical greyhound, it has family traits of long, slender legs, relatively narrow body, deep chest, tucked abdomen, arched loin and long tail. The borzoi’s grace is evident in his every move. They are very large, and especially tall, dogs. They are happiest with entertainment involving running. True to their heritage, borzoi are avid hunters, and will chase any small fleeing animal. They cannot be called off the chase, and they are oblivious to cars.
Borzoi know they are aristocrats, but they also hide a bit of court jester. They are good-natured, gentle and calm, seemingly amused at whatever entertainment comes their way.
Wow, wow wow! If ever a description matched my Frodo, this was it. And the feeling I experienced from learning more about my favorite dog on earth was absolutely worth every penny.
What the DNA Results Inspired
In the end it didn’t matter that his daddy wasn’t a Rottweiler or his mother wasn’t a Husky/Lab. But learning that Frodo had all of these other breeds changed something rather significant.
In February 2013 just prior to his 6th birthday based on the new knowledge that a he had a predominate breed of German Shepard, we started him on a Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM regimen to (hopefully) lessen the effects of hip dysplasia.
He takes the highest dose recommended, has been on it now for 6 years and I absolutely attribute this to his current level of mobility. At 12 years old, Frodo suffers from arthritis in his spine and hips but he is still mobile and relatively agile all things considered.
Had I not taken the plunge and tested his DNA, I can honestly say that he would not have been given these arthritis supplements at 6 years old and where he’d be now, is anyone’s guess. We document our journey through arthritis medications here: Arthritis help for dogs: our results.
Benefits of Knowing Your Senior Dog’s DNA
Here are just a few benefits that come to mind when considering if a dog DNA test is worth it.
Gauge their Estimated Lifespan
As you probably already know, generally speaking, smaller breed dog’s average lifespan can be twice that of giant breeds. If you don’t know how old your dog is, finding out her DNA might help in estimating her lifespan and at what age she’ll become a senior vs. an adult dog. (See Post When is My Dog a senior?).
Learn Their Motivation
Some dogs will do anything for a treat and others require a more convincing reason to do as you ask. Knowing your dog’s breed might help in training because you can learn what motivates him, genetically speaking. This can be especially helpful when bringing a senior dog to a new home with a new set of rules.
And finally the reason nearest to my heart:
Identify Pre-Disposition to Disease & Illness
This is probably the best reason to finally learn your dog’s genetic makeup and why a dog DNA test is worth it.
Knowing your senior dog’s breed can absolutely help guide you as you become their advocate and pillar of their health care. For instance:
- Beagles, Labs and Retrievers (to name a few) are prone to seizures
- Hip Dysplasia is almost a certainty in German Shepards while Mastiffs, St. Bernards, Retrievers, are highly prone.
- Daschunds, Beagles, Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, Corgis are prone to suffering with back problems as they grow older.
These are just a few examples of problems associated with certain breeds. Once you know the genetic makeup of your senior dog, you can do thorough research to better understand dietary needs and supplements that you could start early.
My Final Opinion: Is a Dog DNA Test Worth It?
When all is said and done, I’m glad I went ahead with the DNA testing. Learning years ago that my senior dog was significantly pre-disposed to hip dysplasia sparked his Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM supplements. Today, I do attribute his amazing mobility at 12 years old to receiving these supplements early.
Learning that he has Borzoi & Boxer explained his big chest and has me very much tuned into lung and cardiac symptoms. These breeds also helped me understand his hypothyroidism (which Frodo was diagnosed with at 6 years of age) as both these breeds are highly prone. And a direct link can be made between these breeds and my dog’s gastrointestinal sensitivities.
In conclusion, if spending money on a DNA test is not a stretch for you then I highly recommend it. If that’s too big of a bite out of your budget, but you really want to know, then maybe asking for the Wisdom DNA kit (product link) as a gift is the answer.
Learning what the future holds for your senior dog could absolutely help direct your decisions and perhaps you too will get an early start on recommended supplements. Performing a dog DNA test is worth it.
If nothing else, you will finally have the recipe for making the best dog in the world.
Thanks for stopping by!
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