Dna Can Identify Combination Of Breeds



My little Lacy is a mystery dog.

Since she was found on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere in northern Arizona with her spotted sister, we only guess at her bloodlines.


Lacy is 43 pounds of energy, fun and mystery. DNA testing should reveal the combination of breeds which make her the fascinating dog that she is.

Her rear end looks like whippet but there is a little pit bull between the eyes and Dalmatian around her neck. Her ears hint of pointer. She is faster than a speeding bullet and can leap tall fences in a single bound, (taking her step-brother with her, which is not a good thing).

She does not herd or retrieve or protect. She is sweet as can be, smart as a whip, sharp as a tack and funny as any comedian. She loves to cuddle and is always happy. When she is good, she is very, very good but when she is bad, she is annoying as heck. So what breeds is she? I may soon find out.

A recent program on PBS, Dogs that Changed the World, talks about how they used DNA testing, in an attempt to discover where the first dogs came from. They swabbed cheeks of dogs around the globe.

An article appearing in The Arizona Republic, June 30, written by Karen Kaplan, says that "not long ago, genetic testing was a rarified pursuit used primarily to settle paternity suits, diagnose medical conditions and identify rapists and killers." Now we are using this scientific knowledge to determine the breed background of our mixed-breed dogs.

However, because specific breeds of dogs tend to come with a variety of health problems, this DNA testing can also reveal future health problems and a predisposition to certain medical issues. This may be good, or not so good.

The American Kennel Club has required breeders to submit DNA of dams and sires for their registry since 1998. Over 400,000 dogs are on file. "The complete dog genome was published in 2005, making it the fifth mammalian genome decoded after humans, mice, rats and chimpanzees. The AKC used this information to ensure the validity of pedigrees for 155 breeds of dogs," according to Kaplan, who writes for the Los Angeles Times.

The October issue of DOGFANCY Magazine has a column, written by Maureen Kochan, titled "Cutting-edge science reveals the makeup of mixed breeds. In preparation for this column, they found three total mutts of unknown heritage. The owners of these three dogs stated what they thought their dogs were and what they were told they were when they adopted them. Pictures were taken of these dogs and shown to three dog experts who also gave their opinions of what breeding these dogs might be. And -- each dog's DNA was checked out.

The results were surprising. Most often, neither the experts nor the owners were correct in naming the predominant breeds from which their dogs were made up.

For about $65, you can submit your dog's DNA to a company and find out what breeds actually make up that special mutt. Among the companies doing the tests are: Canine Heritage Breed Test -- www.canineheritage.com, (800) 362-3644 or Wisdom Panel MX available through veterinarians from MarsVeterinary, www,whatsmydog.com.

If you are interested, contact one of these companies and they will send you a kit with the required materials. Collecting the DNA is easy and painless. You simply rub the supplied swab along the inside of the dog's cheek. You send the sample to the company and you will get the results in about six weeks. They will tell you the primary breed and/or the combination of lesser breeds.

It is worth $65 to me to find out more about this amazing highway rescue of mine. I will spread the word when I get the results.

However, we have enough mixed breed dogs already, many more than enough for all household that want them and will care for them. Therefore, take advantage of the spay and neuter mobile unit, which will be in Payson on Thursday Oct. 11. This is an opportunity for you to have your pet neutered at a very reasonable cost. It is the best decision you can make for your pet. Call the Payson Humane Society for all the details. (928) 474-5590.

Blues Dog Walk is Saturday, Oct. 13, beginning at the Pine Trail Head. Registration forms are available at the Payson Humane Society and Post Net in Payson and Blues Gallery and Moose Mountain Gifts in Pine. Proceeds will benefit the Payson Humane Society and the Pine Strawberry School. Loaner dogs are available for this walk from the PHS. Call ahead to reserve a special walking partner.

-- Christy Powers is a columnist for the Payson Roundup. She can be reached by e-mail at cpwrather@earthlink.net or by snail mail at HC1 Box 210, Strawberry, AZ 85544.

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