It’s in the DNA!
With two “Cayman Coconuts” or more commonly know as Mutts, I’ve always wondered what breeds are in my dogs. They have their own very distinctively different personalities and are a couple of high energy woofers. Maybe this could be the result of their environment, but could it also be something in their DNA?
With a quick search online you can pick up a dog DNA test for about 70$ USD. The test I picked was simple. After a quick swab of the cheek (a good tip is to do this in the morning before they eat anything) and creating an account online you’re all done.
The postage paid box lets you send off the swabs to the lab for analysis, you can even login online and check the progress of your test. The lab took about 3 weeks to process the results, I then received an email with a link to a PDF file. The file contains not only the results but also a certificate, info about the breeds detected, genetic mutation screening result (more about this later) additional information about the process and discount coupon for your next purchase.
So what did I learn?
The test I used checks against over 200 different breeds and traces the last three ancestral generations. I had an idea of possible breeds but the results were a total surprise!
This is my own illustration of their ancestry based on the DNA results. Learning what’s in the mix has helped me understand what’s going on in their heads a bit more.
All this new information is great and useful if I need to take them to the vets. It’s good to look up potential health issues of the breed and I have an idea of what to look out for but to be honest my Cayman Coconuts are such a mix so there is only so much I can worry about, however for some dogs this could be lifesaving information.
I would have expected Motley to be part American Staffordshire Terrier but it turns out it’s just in Amber! Glad I didn’t place a bet on Amber having some greyhound or racing breed in her because I would have just lost the lot!
Amber is made up of some intelligent breeds and in some ways she is a smart dog. She works on instinct and not much get’s past her. She’s a bit of an escape artist and the fastest dog at daycare! She might not be a greyhound but her detected breeds love sports so this part is definitely her! She is a bit of a Frisbee master but now I’m really keen to try her with other sports such as agility and dock jumping.
The American Staffordshire Terrier. Amber does like other dogs but will bark and make a fuss so I guess this is the Staffy in her. The brindle colouring could also be from the Staffy.
Belgian Malinois. She is very loyal to me and while she is no way aggressive towards people she does like to bark and let me know about any “stranger danger”. She is super sensitive and even though she was socialized as a puppy some people still do scare her. It also accounts for her being so energetic and alert. Like the Malinois also has a bit of a black mask and white chest blaze.
German Shepard. This makes her eager to learn and she defiantly responds to award based training. The best reward for her is food or Frisbee!
Rottweiler. This also make her a bit sensitive and explains why she can be a bit aloof with strangers.
I ran the same brand of test on both Motley and Amber but Motley’s results were a bit less conclusive. He is such a mix that for his grandparents it can only tell that he has a bit of hound and toy dog in him.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel The biggest shock, I would never have guessed! I think this gives him that love of reward based training and he does like to tracking other dogs and horses. He is a good family dog and quite calm compared to Amber.
Dogue de Bordeaux. This could account for his white patches. He is defiantly intelligent like the breed breakdown suggests. He is a lot more responsive to commands than Amber but incredibly stubborn. He doesn’t like to be forced into anything so the reward based training is a must for him. He likes other dogs but he doesn’t like to be dominated by them and this brings out his grumpy side.
Rottweiler. Probably explains why he’s a hard worker and he loves having a job to do but like the breed he is a bit sensitive and hates loud noises.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The Staffy in him probably accounts for his back coat. He does love children and people, he’s really friendly and loves to give kisses. He is tenacious really good with agility.
Unlike amber’s report there is an extra page in Motley’s to account for the unidentified mixed breeds that you can see in my illustration. The report contains a graph of different generic breed groups. From this I can see he is mostly in the hound group (hunting dogs such as bloodhounds and beagles). This would account for his tracking abilities, he loves to track other dogs and horses at the beach.
Next and significantly less is the toy group (gentle breeds such as the Pomeranian and Maltese) this could account for his lap dog nature.
Then he has a little bit of mountain group (such as Newfoundland and Leonberger) this could explain his love of endurance activities such as swimming a mile along the canals!
Lastly is the guard group (such as boxer and Boston terrier) Motley does make a good guard dog and barks if people come to the house but would rather smother with kisses than anything else.
Gene mutation NDR1
The test also screened for Multi Drug Sensitivity, the MDR1 gene. I can see from both their results that they are normal and I don’t have to worry about the gene mutation and side effects from different drugs. This information could be really valuable if your dog needs veterinary care.
Note of caution
This is just my experience of DNA testing my dogs with one product on the market. I’ve always been curious so I loved getting the results back. It’s been interesting reading about the breeds and relating this to my dogs. It helps me understand how unique they are and has given me a few ideas about different things I can try with them. Maybe later I will use a different brand of test and compare the results but for now I’m happy with what I’ve found out. The test also comes with a disclaimer and this test is really just an insight into my dogs ancestry and can’t be used to identify risks of developing genetic diseases. The test is also not intended to be used by a regulatory or animal control to determine whether the dog is a banned breed. I will therefore be careful how I use this new information and ’ll write more about my experiences with Breed Specific Legislation in a future post!
Fancy giving it a try!?
As a thank you for reading my first blog post I have got two 15$ USD off promo codes to give away! The codes came with my results and can only be used once. I’m not sure if they will work as I got the DNA tests done a little while ago now but it worth giving it a try. You will need to order on their website and I guess you also need to be in the USA to make the purchase. All you need to do is add a comment to this post and in the next couple of weeks I will pick the lucky winners!
Categories: Breed Info