How To Determine Your Dog’s Breed – Purebreds VS Mixed Breeds

Fake advertisement of mixed breed dogs as purebreds is a huge breach of trust and professionalism in the dog breeding industry and among dog lovers. Unfortunately, it happens all too often with many shady breeders running this con.

The best way to differentiate mixed breeds with purebred dogs so as to avoid getting scammed is through DNA testing. This is the only objective and accurate way to determine your dog’s real breed.

DNA testing is also the only acceptable way to confirm a dog’s breed for official kennel club registration in most countries including the United States’ American Kennel Club.

While DNA testing does have a lot to offer dog owners seeking out their dog’s heritage, it is not the only way to tell. In the sections below, we shall take a look at more ways to differentiate between mixed breed dogs and purebred pooches. Let’s dive right into it.

How Can I Tell What My Dog’s Breed Is?

As a dog owner, it is always very satisfying to have some knowledge of your dog’s breed ancestry. It is a great way to understand your dog’s needs and personality while also anticipating things like the dog’s lifespan and health issues.

It is also quite satisfying for dog lovers who have a preference for certain dog breeds.

Whatever your motivations are, here are a few ways you can tell what breed your dog is.

Study Up On Breed Traits

One way you can tell what breed your dog is would be to understand the specific physical and personality traits associated with the breed you think the dog is. Compare these to your pooch and if most traits are a match then it is probably tied to that specific dog breed.

The American Kennel Club has detailed dog breed standard guidelines that should help make things a lot easier for you.

Get Your Dog From A Reputable Breeder

If you want to ensure that the dog you got is a purebred as was advertised, your best shot is to work with a reputable and certified dog breeder. These companies go through rigorous testing on a regular basis to maintain standards and ensure that if they are advertising purebred dogs, that is exactly what they are selling.

Genetic Testing

The best way to identify mutts of mixed breed dogs or confirm that your dog is purebred is through genetic testing. This will tell you the exact breed your dog is and what contributing dog breeds exist in their lineage in the case of mixed breed doggies.

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Is There A DNA Test For Dogs?

You can actually have your dog DNA tested to find out their heritage. These tests will tell you the specific breed and even genetic variations within your purebred pooch.

If your dog is a mixed breed dog, the DNA test should help you determine what dog breeds contributed to the mix.

Fortunately, you have many options when it comes to DNA test kits and facilities that you can work with. Here are some of your options.

Independent DNA Labs

These labs are usually the best equipped and will offer you great services albeit for a higher price than the alternatives.

The one key benefit these DNA testing labs for dogs offer is access to a wide database which could even help you trace your dog’s ancestry and find their siblings or relatives.

Veterinary Clinics

Other than these specialized labs, you could get a DNA test done for your dog at a veterinary clinic. Unfortunately, this is not a service that is offered by very many vets so it may not be an option for you in your area.

Home DNA Testing Kits For Dogs

Finally, you could decide to go with an at-home testing kit. As with lineage testing kits for humans, these dog DNA test kits allow you to collect the samples from the convenience of your home. You then mail what you collected to the company and simply wait for your results.

We recommend you to take a look at Embark if you intend to perform DNA testing at home. When done right, its results are highly accurate and worth every penny once you realize the full lineage of your beloved pooch.

The problem with at-home testing is that there is always the inherent risk of contamination of the samples collected from the dog to be tested, leading to false-positive or false-negative results.

This is particularly problematic in homes with multiple dogs especially if the dogs are of different breeds.

Can A Vet Do A DNA Test?

Many people may not realize it but there are some vet clinics that offer DNA testing services for dogs. These tests range from tests to determine the dog’s specific breed to tests that pick out genetic mutations causing health issues for the pooch.

These services come in handy for a lot of reasons when it comes to offering veterinary services including helping to understand certain diseases that have a genetic basis.

By identifying the problematic genes that the dog may have, the vet will be able to figure out the best cause of action. This can mean active intervention like preventative surgeries and medication, or anticipatory lifestyle changes that will improve the dog’s quality of life.

The problem is that not many veterinary clinics actually offer these DNA testing services for dogs. However, most, if not all, will either know of or be affiliated with independent DNA testing labs for dogs. You can therefore get a referral from your vet for the same important information.

With both veterinary clinic and lab DNA testing for dogs, you will have to play the waiting game. This is because it takes about 2 weeks to 1 month for dog DNA test results to be fully processed and ready for sharing with the dog owner.

You will also have to deal with the fact that most pet insurance companies do not cover dog DNA testing services. This means you will have to pay out of pocket which can be a bit pricey.

For some perspective, the current average you would have to pay for DNA testing will cost you $150 or more depending on where you get your services. This may be a bit pricey but it is worth it as the tests can be up to 99% accurate.

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How Can I Find Out What Breed My Dog Is From A Picture?

A lot of people look for dogs online. Whether you are looking for a rescue pooch or in the market to buy a specially bred dog, you will most likely have to go through an online profile first before getting to meet the dog in person.

Fortunately, there are ways to tell what breed a dog is from a picture and if they are purebred or mixed. This is done by identifying the dog’s physical characteristics and comparing them to the specific breed you think they belong to.

To be fair, this is a skill that comes with time and experience. And as an amateur, there are some subtle characteristics that you may miss. However, these traits could at the very least give you an idea of what to expect if all you are going on is a picture.

Here are the characteristics that could help you identify your dog’s breed.

General Skull Shape

There are many different dog skull shapes. In particular, the shape of the forehead and jaw could help narrow things down for you when identifying a dog’s breed from a picture.

Facial Features And Ears

Facial features include things like the eye shape and placement on the face and the color of those eyes. It also includes the shape and size of ears as well as whether or not they are floppy. Finally, look out for any specific traits like facial skin folds and loose skin or beard withers.

Build And Proportions

The build can be a bit vague as many dog breeds share a similar silhouette. However, in combination with the other traits mentioned, this information could be valuable.

In addition to the silhouette, look out for built characteristics like proportion and weight categories which could be small, medium, large, giant, toy, or teacup.

Coat Characteristics

There are two important coat traits you should consider when identifying a dog breed through a photograph. The first is the coat type. Is it long, short, straight, or medium? Is it wavy, curly, or shaggy?

The second differentiating factor is the color in which case different dog breeds have different coat color standards.

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What Is The Difference Between A Purebred Dog And Mixed Breed Dog?

A purebred dog is very different from mixed breed variations in a lot of ways from their care needs to the dog’s behavioral quirks. To help you out, here are some of the main differences you may notice in terms of the experience of raising a purebred versus a mixed breed dog.

Physical Traits

The physical traits in a purebred dog are usually very predictable. They tend to be in line with set breed guidelines which make them very easy to identify by visual inspection alone.

Mixed breed dogs on the other hand are a bit more unpredictable. The physical characteristics they end up having depend on genetic dominance and pure chance.

Personality And Temperament

As with physical traits, personality and temperament traits of purebred dogs are more predictable than those of mixed breed dogs.

The latter tend to take a few characteristics from each parent. The more different the parents are, the more unpredictable the mixed breed dog’s personality will be.

Health And Lifespan

The health and lifespan of a mixed breed dog is a bit more predictable. Mixed breed dogs tend to be much healthier than purebred dogs. This is because the mixing tends to weed out undesirable health traits creating stronger and much healthier dogs than either parent breed.

Mixed breed dogs may also live longer than some purebred dogs. This is best appreciated by comparing the lifespan of crossbred dogs with those of their purebred parents. More often than not, the crossbreed dog will have a longer life expectancy than one if not both their parents.

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What Is The Difference Between Mixed Breed And Crossbreed? Mixed breed dogs are dogs that have multiple unknown dog breed ancestors. Their existence is more often than not accidental. Crossbreed dogs on the other hand are dogs developed from 2 or more known purebred dog breeds. They are intentionally and selectively bred for some desirable physical, temperament, or health characteristics.

Can I Get My Dog AKC Registered With A DNA Test? You can get your dog registered with the American Kennel Club by giving DNA results as proof of your dog’s breed. However, this is not the only requirement that the AKC has for dog registration. One of the most important conditions is that the dog breed you want registered should be one that is recognized and registerable with the AKC.

How Can I Prove My Dog Is Purebred Without Papers? One of the best ways to prove your dog is a purebred is if you got them from a reputable and AKC certified breeder. This is because the AKC conducts its own tests and audits to ensure that these breeders are using purebred parents to breed purebred pups. You can also prove that your dog is purebred by consulting experts like vets who can tell the breed by studying their physical characteristics.

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Pete Decker