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Ask the Westie:
Can a DNA test tell me which breeds are in my mixed breed?

Friday, January 08, 2016
Can a DNA test tell me which breeds are in my mixed breed?

DNA testing has become very popular, thanks to all the curious people who want to know more about their ancestry. But DNA testing isn’t just for us humans. If you’ve ever wondered what breeds are mixed up in your mixed-breed pooch, you should consider DNA testing. It’s easy to do and you’ll love knowing more about your four-legged family member’s family background.


With this simple test, you just collect cheek cells from the inside of your dog’s mouth with the two provided swabs. Then mail the test to the lab. The experts at Mars Petcare® will study more than 1800 markers—covering more than 200 breeds—in your dog’s DNA sample to determine its ancestry going back three generations. A few weeks later, they’ll e-mail you a report that lists your dog's genetic background. To get started, go to www.wisdompanel.com.

Why is it good to know about your genetic background?

Knowing the breeds that make your dog so amazing and unique can help you and your vet better understand his character and plan for his health and nutritional needs.

Ancestry information can be especially helpful in your training routine. If your dog loves to herd, dig, protect you, retrieve—or any number of breed-specific behaviors—that behavior may just be in his genes! Dogs were originally bred to do specific jobs, such as terriers for ferreting out rodents in barns, or collies for protecting livestock. Armed with the results of a DNA test, you and your trainer can positively affect your dog’s behavior by understanding and working with his natural tendencies. DNA test results can also guide your vet in recommending the correct diet, exercise, and preventive medicine regimen.

If you think you know your dog well now, imagine how much wiser you’ll be when you discover the wonders of his genetic heritage.

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