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Canine Heritage Test: DNA Reveals Mixed Breeds’ Makeup

By: Renae Hamrick, RVT

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What kind of dog is that?! Mutt owners are quite accustomed to the frequent guessing of their dog's breed composition. It can be fun to imagine what breeds are in a mixed breed's family tree. However, for many families with a "Heinz 57" dog, truly knowing their canine companion's history would be very satisfying. Thanks to DNA testing technology, this is now an easy question to answer.

MetaMorphix, INC. Genomics has developed a test called the Canine Heritage Test which can genetically reveal the breed composition of your mixed breed dog at any age. This exciting advance in technology will allow mixed breed owners to learn more about their dog's health, behavior, and family history. For those who own a mysterious, loveable mix and want more dogs like him, this test can help in the search for similar dogs.

The first test they produced tested fro 38 breeds which has been replaced by the current version that tests for over 100 breeds.

How Can You Test Your Dog?

For $119.95 plus shipping and handling, you can order a test from the company's website, www.canineheritage.com. In three to seven days, the test will arrive at your home. Without pain or the help of a veterinary professional, you collect the DNA sample in the comfort of your home.

You will receive a soft-bristled brush which you rub on the inside of your dog's cheek to collect cells. There is video footage of this procedure on the website. You will also receive written cell collection instructions with the test. The swab is simply mailed back to MetaMorphix in a pre-paid envelope, and results will be returned in four to six weeks.

Results

The company has genetically identified and certified over 100 common, canine breeds. If any of these validated breeds are present in the composition of your mixed breed, they will be listed in one of three categories: "primary, secondary, and in-the-mix". Primary breeds make up 50% or more of the dog, secondary breeds are easily recognizable but not part of the majority, and breeds "in the mix" are present at a very low but measurable percentage.

Perhaps the only con of this exciting scientific development, if your dog has DNA of a breed that is not yet validated, it will not be listed. However, MetaMorphix's compilation of validated breeds is quite extensive and covers most breeds commonly found in mixes.

The results will be printed on a frame-quality "Certificate of Breed Analysis". This certificate can also include a picture of your dog if you email MetaMorphix a digital photo in .jpeg format. Visit the website for complete instructions on emailing a photo.

Validated Breeds

The validated breeds are the following:

1.        Afghan Hound
2.        Airedale Terrier
3.        Akita
4.        Alaskan Malamute
5.        American Eskimo Dog
6.        American Water Spaniel
7.        Australian Shepherd
8.        Australian Terrier
9.        Basenji
10.        Basset Hound
11.        Beagle
12.        Bearded Collie
13.        Belgian Sheepdog
14.        Belgian Tervuren
15.        Bernese Mountain Dog
16.        Black and Tan Coonhound
17.        Bloodhound
18.        Blue Tick Coonhound
19.        Border Collie
20.        Border Terrier
21.        Borzoi
22.        Boston Terrier
23.        Bouviers des Flandre
24.        Boxer
25.        Brittany
26.        Brussels Griffon
27.        Bull Terrier
28.        Bulldog
29.        Bullmastiff
30.        Cairn Terrier
31.        Canaan Dog
32.        Cardigan Welsh Corgi
33.        Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
34.        Chesapeake Bay Retriever
35.        Chihuahua
36.        Chinese Crested
37.        Chinese Shar-Pei
38.        Chow Chow
39.        Clumber Spaniel
40.        Cocker Spaniel
41.        Collie
42.        Dachshund
43.        Dalmatian
44.        Doberman Pinscher
45.        English Cocker Spaniel
46.        English Coonhound
47.        English Setter
48.        English Toy Spaniel
49.        Field Spaniel
50.        Flat-Coated Retriever
51.        French Bulldog
52.        German Shepherd Dog
53.        German Shorthaired Pointer
54.        German Wirehaired Pointer
55.        Giant Schnauzer
56.        Golden Retriever
57.        Gordon Setter
58.        Great Pyrenees
59.        Greyhound
60.        Irish Setter
61.        Irish Terrier
62.        Italian Greyhound
63.        Keeshonden
64.        Kerry Blue Terrier
65.        Labrador Retriever
66.        Lhasa Apso
67.        Mastiff
68.        Miniature Pinscher
69.        Miniature Schnauzer
70.        Newfoundland
71.        Norwich Terrier
72.        Old English Sheepdog
73.        Papillon
74.        Pembroke Welsh Corgi
75.        Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
76.        Plott Coonhound
77.        Pointer
78.        Pomeranian
79.        Poodle
80.        Pug
81.        Puli
82.        Red Bone Coonhound
83.        Rhodesian Ridgeback
84.        Rottweiler
85.        Saluki
86.        Samoyed
87.        Schipperke
88.        Scottish Deerhound
89.        Scottish Terrier
90.        Shetland Sheepdog
91.        Shiba Inu
92.        Shih Tzu
93.        Siberian Husky
94.        Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
95.        St. Bernard
96.        Staffordshire Bull Terrier
97.        Standard Schnauzer
98.        Tibetan Spaniel
99.        Tibetan Terrier
100.        Treeing Walker
101.        Vizsla
102.        Weimaraner
103.        Whippet
104.        Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
105.        Yorkshire Terrier


MetaMorphix expects to expand this list in the future as they genetically certify more breeds.

In the News

The Canine Heritage Test was recently featured on the Today show when host, Meredith Vieira tested her mixed breed, Jasper. She purchased him from a pet store believing he was an Aussie-Poo, or Australian Shepherd, Poodle mix. She discovered that Jasper is actually a Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, and Borzoi mix. (Note: Because the Australian Shepherd is not in the list of validated breeds, it is still possible that Jasper is part "Aussie".)

With the increasing popularity of "designer" dogs, this DNA test will surely continue to be an exciting phenomenon for mixed breed lovers everywhere.

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