What Can DNA Testing Tell You About Your Dog?

Why does my dog love to dig? Why does she try to "herd" the kids when they play outside? Where does he get those ears? These are some questions that owners of mixed breeds may ask themselves. Now, thanks to DNA testing, those answers may be a cheek swab away.

Yes, genetic testing on your dog can provide insights into your dogs behavior and genetic vunerabilities. The answers you get may settle the debate within your family, or among your friends, as to what kind of mix your dog actually is! Information on a dog's DNA can help the owner understand the dog's natural tendencies, risk factors the dog may be facing, and nutritional considerations based on breed and life stage.

Some of the results of your dog's DNA test may surprise you, but a lot of that has to do with which genes are dominant and which are recessive.  For a fun refresher course on genetics, of dogs in particular, check out this video. For example, dogs with the same parents are only 50% genetically the same, on average.  That can create a lot of variation in even one litter!

If your dog is still a puppy, DNA testing can possibly provide information on how big your canine friend might get.  And, if there are terrier breeds in your puppy's background,  for example, it would suggest that your pup will most likely have a lot of energy and need lots of exercise!

While both genetics and environment influence behavior, studies have found that a limited list of behaviors such as territorial defense, playfulness and excitability, have a strong genetic component.  Knowing your dog's pedigree may help to anticipate and manage these kind of behaviors and develop a training program that takes these tendencies into account.

The testing process is very simple, just ask one of our experienced veterinarians for informating regarding the Royal Canin Genetic Health Analysis. Your dog's vet will painlessly draw a small blood sample to be lab tested. In just up to 4 weeks, you and the vet will go over the comprehensive report and create a customized wellness plan for your dog. Royal Canin will determine your dog's ancestry, test for over 130 genetic diseases, and predict the likely adult weight and size of your puppy.

Let us know if any of you test your dogs and make sure to share the results with us at your next appointment!

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