How Can I Identify A Mixed Breed Dog Accurately?

If you own a mixed breed dog, you’ve at some point been curious about the breeds that comprise your canine buddy. So, how do you tell what breed your mutt is?

You can identify a mixed breed dog by looking at their appearance and physical characteristics as well as their personality and behavior. You can also accurately identify a mixed breed dog by taking a DNA test.

Apart from simply satisfying your curiosity, knowing the actual breeds that comprise your dog can help you understand your dog’s behavior and personality and how to train them, and help you determine their expected size when they’re fully grown.

Knowing your dog’s breed can also help you determine any health concerns you need to watch out for in your dog.

If you have a mixed breed dog and do not know what breeds are in your dog, this article is written purposefully for you. Below, let’s take a look at the different options of identifying your mixed breed dog accurately.

How Can I Identify The Breed Of My Dog?

The best way to identify your mutt is to take a DNA test.

However, there are other ways of telling what breeds are in your dog, including conducting an eye testcompleting online breed quizzes, and using breed identification apps, though these methods are not as accurate as DNA testing.

Eye Test

The eye test simply involves looking at your dog’s physical characteristics and comparing them with the appearance of known dog breeds. Some of the physical characteristics you can look at include the shape of your dog’s face, their coat type, color, fur length, size, body type, legs, and tail.

Online Breed Quizzes

These are websites that ask you to answer a series of questions about your dog’s appearance and physical characteristics, and then give you the most likely breed based on the closest match.

Breed Identification Apps

These are smartphone apps that allow you to identify your mutt by submitting a photo of your dog to the app.

DNA Test

This is the best way to accurately tell what your dog is mixed with. With this method, you’re actually looking at your dog’s genes, so it eliminates the element of guesswork that is present in the other methods.

Image from Instagram:@enzo.and.bella

Is There An App To Identify Dog Breeds?

Yes, there are several apps that allow dog owners to identify dog breeds. Examples of such apps include Dog Scanner AppDoggzam, and Fetch!

These apps allow you to find out what breed your dog is from a picture. You can either upload an existing picture of your dog, or use the camera feature to capture a photo of your furry buddy.

The apps then use artificial intelligence to analyze and compare the photo of your dog to the breed images they have in their database, and then predict the breed based on the best match.

Aside from predicting your dog’s breed, most of these apps also provide additional information on your dog breed, including match percentage, breed characteristics, breed history, and so on.

How Accurate Is a Dog Scanner App?

Breed identification apps like Dog Scanner App are a lot more accurate than giving your dog an eye test. However, since these apps also rely on visual analysis, they are not 100% accurate, with most apps having an accuracy level of 80% to 90%.

Image from Instagram:@dogscanner_app

Is There A DNA Test For Dogs?

There are several companies offering DNA test kits that dog owners can use to confirm the breeds that comprise their four-legged buddy. Most DNA test kits use a cheek swab to get your dog’s DNA material, though there are a few that require a blood test.

When using a DNA test kit to identify your dog’s breed, you’ll need to get a DNA sample of your dog using the provided swab and mail the swab to the company that sold you the test kit. The company will then compare your dog’s sample against their extensive DNA database and email you the results.

In addition to giving you the results about your dog’s breed, some DNA test results will also tell you about your fido’s predisposition to certain health conditions, while others will even help you identify your dog’s relatives.

How Accurate Are Dog DNA Tests?

Dog DNA tests are highly reliable, with many of the companies specializing in these tests reporting that their tests are of 95% to 99% accuracy. Accuracy levels between different companies will vary due to the size of their DNA database, as well as any human error that could occur during the testing process.

Despite their accuracy tests, if a mutt consists of many breeds, the DNA tests could fail to identify some of the breeds that have a very minor contribution to your dog’s genes.

How Much Does DNA Testing For Dogs Cost?

The price of a DNA test for your dog can be as low as $60, or as high as $200, depending on the test kit you opt for. Some test kits allow for additional tests like disease detection and will therefore be more expensive than the basic test kits.

Image from Instagram:@eddie.theterrier

Can A Vet Do A DNA Test?

Yes, you can have your dog’s DNA test done by a vet. Some vets will do this using the normal cheek swab kits, while others will opt for blood tests, which provide a higher amount of DNA material.

The good thing about having your dog’s DNA test done by a vet is that after receiving the results, the vet can give further information and advice about any potential health risks for your pooch, the expected adult weight range, and so on.

How Much Does A DNA Test Cost At A Vet?

When having your dog’s DNA test done by the vet, you can expect to pay anywhere between $100 and $300. Blood tests are generally more expensive than cheek swab tests.

However, this does not necessarily mean that cheek swabs are less accurate than blood tests. Actually, your canine buddy will prefer the cheek swab test, because it is painless and non-invasive.

How Long Does A DNA Test Take?

Getting your pooch’s DNA test taken at the vet will take less than 5 minutes for the collection of the DNA sample. Once your vet submits your dog’s DNA material to the test kit company, you can expect to have the results back within 2 to 3 weeks.

Image from PupBox

Can You Give A Dog A DNA Test?

It is possible to give your dog a DNA test by yourself at home, instead of having the test done at the vet’s. Not only will this be more convenient for you, it will also be a lot cheaper than having the test done by a vet.

How Do You Swab A Dog For DNA?

Getting your dog’s DNA material with a cheek swab is very easy. Simply get the swab that comes with the test kit and insert it in your dog’s mouth, just between the gums and the cheeks. Rub the swab gently for between 30 to 60 seconds to ensure that you’ve collected an adequate DNA sample.

After collecting the DNA sample, package it in the provided container and mail it to the test kit provider, and wait for your results.

At What Age Can You DNA Test A Dog?

Your dog’s DNA does not change with age, and therefore, you can test your dog’s DNA at any stage of your dog’s life. However, it is advisable to wait until a pup has been weaned before testing.

If you test a suckling puppy, there’s a possibility that the cells from the mother’s milk and skin will be present in the collected DNA sample, thus compromising the results.

If it is absolutely necessary for you to test a suckling pup, you should keep them separate from the mother and their littermates for not less than one hour before taking the swab. This will help prevent DNA contamination.

How Long Does A Dog DNA Test Take?

Giving your dog a DNA test by yourself is just as simple as having it done at the vet’s. You can have the DNA sample ready in just a few minutes. Once you mail the DNA sample to the test kit provider, they will email your fido’s results in about 2 to 3 weeks.

Image from PupBox

What Is The Most Reliable Dog DNA Test?

The most reliable dog DNA tests are the Embark DNA Test and the Wisdom Panel DNA test. With both tests, you not only reveal the breeds that comprise your dog, but can also trace your dog’s ancestry.

Embark DNA Test

Founded by researcher Ryan Boyko and made in partnership with Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the Embark DNA test is one of the most reliable dog DNA tests.

The Embark DNA test is highly accurate, with a database of over 350 dog breeds and varieties, including village dogs, dingoes, and even wolves. The high level of accuracy is also attained by analyzing over 200,000 genetic markers for different breeds.

The Embark DNA test is so accurate that it is possible to detect breeds that only have a 5% contribution to your dog’s DNA, whereas most of the other test kits in the market can only detect breeds with more than 12% contribution.

The Embark DNA test works very simply. Simply use the swab that comes with the Embark Dog DNA Test Breed Identification Kit to collect a DNA sample from your dog’s cheek, and then mail the sample back to Embark Dog (the company behind the Embark DNA test).

Once you’ve mailed your doggie’s DNA sample, you’ll receive results about your dog’s breed and ancestry in no more than 4 weeks.

Wisdom Panel DNA Test

The Wisdom Panel DNA test is another highly reliable dog DNA test. While Mars Petcare (the company behind the Wisdom Panel DNA test) have reservations about revealing the exact methods they use to analyze DNA samples, the Wisdom Panel DNA test is also very accurate, with accuracy rates of over 93%.

Giving your canine buddy the Wisdom Panel DNA test is also very easy. To do a Wisdom Panel swab, you only need to gently rub the cotton swab that comes with the Wisdom Panel Essential DNA Test kit on your doggie’s check for about 30 seconds.

After collecting the DNA sample, mail the sample to Mars Petcare and wait for your results within 2 to 4 weeks. The best part about the Wisdom Panel Essential DNA test is that it even comes with pre-paid shipping.

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Pete Decker