The popularity of Dog DNA tests is increasing, but can they be trusted?

The concept of breed in dogs is more complex than many people realize, according to Halie Rando, an assistant professor of computer science at Smith College. While a dog’s genetics may align with a specific breed, widely accepted breed definitions were established before the advent of DNA analysis. This can sometimes lead genetic testing results to contradict a pet owner’s assumptions about their dog’s breed.

Recently, a study was conducted on 459 shelter dogs in Arizona and California, which revealed 125 distinct breeds. However, the scientists and experienced shelter workers were unable to accurately identify mixed-breed dogs, which made up the majority of the dogs in the study. Mixed breeds can be particularly challenging when it comes to DNA testing as the accuracy of test results relies on the genetic information available for identifiable breeds.

Before submitting a sample for DNA testing, consumers should research DNA testing companies thoroughly. The accuracy of results can vary depending on the diversity of the company’s genetic panel. Even if you receive information about your dog’s breed, it may not have a significant impact on their behavior. A genetic analysis conducted on over 2,000 purebred and mixed-breed dogs found that behavior is more closely linked to the individual dog rather than its breed, highlighting that breed is not a reliable predictor of behavior.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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