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How Accurate Are DIY Dog DNA Tests?

DNA testing for dogs has become commonplace nowadays.

More and more owners are curious to know about their pet’s pedigree.

The reasons vary from plain curiosity to identifying any health risks associated with the particular breed.

In fact, even vets prefer to know the breed of the dogs as it aids in dispensing proper treatment to any ailments the canine creatures may be suffering from.

Same Dog But Different DNA Results?
The availability of home DNA tests for dogs has simplified the identification problem but you will be astounded to find that the test results for the same pet using different DNA test kits can sometimes be totally contrasting.

The main reason for this disparity is that each laboratory has very specific genetic codes that are used to compare the samples.

The variation in the codes is the reason for differing results.

Which Test Is The Most Accurate?
It is not easy to pin point any single test as the most accurate. While for pure breeds the process is fairly simple and the results very evident, the same is not the case with a mixed breed, especially a second or third generation canine which will carry the genes from all its ancestors of varying breeds.

Thus, the percentage of accuracy will depend on the following factors:

  • The number of breeds in the company’s database
  • The number of samples tested
  • The method of interpretation of the data.

When a company has a large database the probability of accurate results is high.

Segregation Of DNA Results
To tackle this problem, companies segregate their results in the following manner:

  • Primary: When there is a match of greater than 50% with any recognizable breed, the result is categorized as primary result.
  • Secondary: In this category though the match is less than 50% there is enough genetic material to alter your pet’s make up significantly.
  • Mixed: In this scenario, the results find traces of other genetic material which though present are not significant enough to alter the dog’s genetic makeup. This result is more informative in nature as it reveals the pedigree of the breed without influencing any other character of your pet.
Final Thoughts – You Pay What You Get

In summary, we can say that the rate of accuracy is higher when a purebred is concerned in comparison to a mixed breed.

When choosing a dog DNA test kit, always be sure to check for the number of breeds present in the company's database. This will ensure the greatest accuracy, but usually at a premium to the overall cost.

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