Should you get your dog's DNA tested?

What’s the purpose of DNA testing for dogs? Unless you’re going to enter your dog in, say, a show or some other event where their pedigree must be traced down in detail, is it really worth getting such a test done? Let’s look at a few of the facts!

First off, we need to get rid of a particularly common misconception: that a dog DNA test is guaranteed to prove whether your dog is a purebred or not. Nor can a DNA necessarily identify every breed mixed in with your mutt. Many dog owners have faced the dilemma of being asked “What kind of dog is that?” and not having a clear answer. DNA testing for your dog may help clarify the issue, giving you a sampling of the various breeds that makeup your dog’s genetic composition. However, because it remains an evolving technology, you shouldn’t bet everything on the test results–and of course, finding out that your dog comes from a different genealogical background will never lessen your actual love for it, will it?


There are also a number of ways that you could go about DNA testing, some with a variety of costs and complexity to the procedure. For instance, you could get a simple, DIY at home kit where you get a saliva swab and send it off to the lab for processing. Other tests require actually visiting a vet and getting a blood sample–but so far, there’s no substantive proof that one is more definitive than the other, so it may be in your best interest to just get the one that’s easier and more cost-effective.

As for whether you truly need a dog DNA test or not, as we mentioned before, beyond having certain proof of the pedigree for personal reasons or wanting to use it to enter the dog in a contest of some sort, there aren’t many reasons why such as test would be necessary. You could potentially use the results to see if your dog comes from any breeds that have hereditary health problems, so you could keep an eye out for them, or maybe you’d just like to have a final answer to that question the next time someone comes up and asks, “What kind of dog is that?”

Whatever you choose to do, so long as you and your pup are happy and healthy, that’s what matters in the end!



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