As there are literally hundreds of dog breeds, it is not uncommon to think about the possibility of interbreeding or cross-breeding. For example, even the adorable and very regal looking Shih Tzu is now considered to be a mix of Pekingese or Lhasa Apso with another breed. Considering that Shih Tzus belong to the exclusive Club of 14 Oldest Canine Breeds, this is a very remarkable finding. This also leads many pet owners to go on a journey to discovering the ancestral lineage or family tree of their respective dogs. But the real question is how can one find out the breed of one’s dog?
There are a variety of ways in which you can determine the breed of your pet. Here, we’ll be examining 5 different ways of breed determination.
Comparative Descriptive Analysis
Perhaps the easiest, most practical, and most convenient way to identify the breed of your dog is by comparing its pictures to the different pictures of a breed standard. You can also perform an online research into the different characteristics of a certain breed and then compare these with what you observe on your pet. Most major kennel organizations like the American Kennel Club have online resources to help you determine the physical characteristics of dog breeds. You will also get an idea of their temperament as well as other helpful pieces of information that will help you understand what breed of dog you have.
Unfortunately, if you have a mixed breed, then identifying the dominant and recessive characteristics may not be possible. Nevertheless, if you’re only after the basic information about the breed of your pet, then this is the way to go.
Use an Appropriate App
You wouldn’t believe how much we have progressed in just a span of a few years. While we don’t necessarily recommend this as a means to determine the breed of your dog, from the responses of those who have tried it, we’d say it’s worth giving it a try. Microsoft developed an application that will give you a determination of your pooch’s heritage. Fetch! is currently available on iOS devices as well as through your web browser. Simply upload a picture of your pooch and it returns a result in no time. It even displays the ‘purity’ of the breed, say 98% Pug or 100% Maltese. Of course, there are flaws to the system. But hey! If it can make you chuckle at what you discover or at least confirm, then it should be a great tool, right?
If you’re not sure about your own comparative analysis of breeds, you can bring your pet to your vet. Your vet actually knows more about pets than any other individual. With so many pets of different kinds and breeds being received at the clinic on a daily basis, it is not unusual for veterinarians to develop a keen eye for determining the different breeds that may be involved in the heritage of any given dog. Of course, this is not infallible as they will only be basing their educated guesses on what they have seen so far.
Kennel Club Confirmation
If your vet is also unsure about the heritage of your pooch, then you can seek the opinion of your local kennel club. These organizations typically have sub-organizations that cater specifically to a certain breed. For example, there are those that are exclusive to Golden Labradors, Poodles, and Siberian Huskies, just to name a few. That being said, you can approach these specialty pet owner groups to help you identify the breed of your pet. Many of these canine experts can provide you with exceptional information on the heritage of your pooch, although this is never confirmatory as they will only base their conclusions on what they see and assess on your dog.
Nevertheless, a good way to start is by participating in their next local meeting. Bring your pooch along. After the meeting, ask from the group if they could help you determine or at least figure out the breed of your dog. You may have varying opinions, though. However, it will always be a great way to learn more about your dog until the group has reached a consensus about the heritage of your pooch.
None of the first 3 methods we have covered so far can provide you with a very detailed analysis of the heritage of your pooch. This is best reserved for the more accurate DNA test. Thankfully, today’s dog DNA test kits have made it super easy, super convenient, and super inexpensive to identify the heritage of one’s dog. All you need is to purchase one of these dog DNA test kits, obtain a sample from your dog’s saliva, and send the packet to the manufacturer for testing and analysis. Give it a few weeks and you’ll have very detailed answers to all of your questions about the heritage of your dog.
Depending on the manufacturer of these dog DNA test kits, you will not only get a complete family tree of your pet, you may also obtain a full health report about the different genetic or hereditary diseases that your mutt is at risk for. This will give you the ability to better care for your dog. Knowing what diseases or health conditions it is more susceptible to will help you devise a plan of care that will help mitigate the impact of these diseases in the event that they occur. You can give them more appropriate diets and supplements as well as avoid a variety of activities that they may be contraindicated against.
DNA tests for dogs are not foolproof, however. While some DNA tests have very extensive panels for genetic markers, some products are simply mediocre that they cannot even accurately identify the different breeds in a given dog. Hence, it is crucial to choose only those that have been proven effective and reliable in their testing.
Identifying the breed of your dog can help you understand its behavior and other aspects of its being. This way you can also customize your care for it.