Have you ever looked at your dog and wondered exactly what breed of dog is looking back at you? Unless you have a dog that is purebred (and the papers to prove it), you may be looking at a canine that is a mixture of many different dog breeds. Even individuals who have had dogs their entire lives can sometimes have a difficult time telling what mix of breeds makes up their best friend. If you want to get even more technical about things, consider trying to determine what percentage of each breed is involved.
As it turns out, there are certain things that you can do in order to identify a dog’s breed. This is important if you rescue a dog from a shelter or off the streets. It isn’t important from the perspective of simply knowing what breed of dog you have just so you can brag about it to your friends, but it can become very important when it comes to your dog’s health. Certain breeds are predisposed to various medical problems. For example, the Golden Retriever is often prone to getting cancer at a relatively early age. By the same token, Collies and German Shepherds are predisposed to severe problems with their hips that often manifest as a condition known as hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis in dogs. When you know more about the breed of dog you have, you know more about any potential health issues that your pet might be facing as he gets older. This can go a long way toward helping you stave off many of those concerns by getting regular checkups at your veterinarian and knowing what to look for.
How Do You Tell What Breed of Dog You Actually Have?
In reality, there is more than one way to tell. Many people still use the time-honored tradition of taking their dogs to their veterinarian and asking them. While your local vet may not always be able to figure out what breed of dog you have rescued, they usually have at least some idea about the breeds that are involved. That gives you a place to start if nothing else. However, if that’s not exact enough for your taste, there are other things that you can do that can help you find out even more.
Use an App on Your Phone
Believe it or not, there is an app that you can get on your phone that supposedly helps you determine what breed of dog you have. The idea is that you take a picture of your dog, submit it to the app and then allow the algorithm to do its job. It’s based on a similar premise to the iPhone app that allows you to take pictures of trees and then determine what type of tree you are looking at. Some people think it’s more effective than others, but it is an option that is available to you if you are so inclined to use it.
DNA Testing for Dogs
There is no doubt that you have probably heard of all of the different DNA tests that human beings can take in order to determine their ancestry, along with a whole host of possible medical conditions that they might be predisposed to. As luck would have it, you can do the same thing for your pup with dog DNA test kits. It even works in a similar manner. You can use the enclosed cotton swab to take a swab of saliva from your dog’s mouth, seal it in the bag, and submit it for testing. The company that you submit the sample to is then able to determine with a great deal of accuracy what breed of dog you have . They can even help you determine exactly what percentage of a particular breed is involved, allowing you to nail things down in a way that would never have even been dreamed of a few short years ago.
Is This Good News for Shelter Dogs?
Some people have expressed concern that this new type of DNA testing for dogs may not always be a good thing, especially for shelter dogs. Unfortunately, some breeds are severely discriminated against, such as the Pitbull. There is a certain amount of fear that once someone discovers that a dog they might be interested in adopting has any percentage of Pitbull in them (or any other aggressive breed for that matter), they will simply withdraw their application, effectively leaving the dog with no hope of being rescued. That said, people that are concerned about such things are getting a little bit ahead of themselves, at least for the time being. It’s very rare if ever, that animal shelters conduct this type of testing. The reason is simple. Shelters typically run on a shoestring budget. They are worried about purchasing food for the animals that are in their care, not paying for expensive DNA tests. At some point in the future, it may become a bigger issue. For the time being, that problem is virtually nonexistent.
Tailoring Breeds to Suit Your Needs
What if you’re interested in a dog that really likes to cuddle? You might make an attempt to select a breed of dog that is known for its friendliness. By the same token, you could decide to choose the breed of dog that you get based on its ability to be an effective guard dog. In some cases, you may not care one way or the other. Many people visit the animal shelter and effectively allow the dog to choose them as opposed to doing things the other way around. That said, you may still want to eventually find out what type of breed of dog you have because it can help you with issues related to training as well as any potential medical issues that might arise later on down the road, as previously mentioned.
Is Personality Really All About Breeding?
If you are interested in finding out what breed of dog you have in order to determine how likely he is to dig out from under your fence or something similar, you might be spinning your wheels. Most people that have been around dogs for any length of time whatsoever will tell you that very little of a dog’s behavior is directly tied to their breed. It’s really much more about how the dog is trained. Has he undergone obedience training? Does that type of training continue in the home? Perhaps even more importantly, has the dog been properly socialized? A lot of behavioral issues are more about a dog’s lifestyle than they are about breeding. Nevertheless, you may end up deciding to adopt a specific breed of dog based on the likelihood that he will be a better match for you and your family.
When it’s all said and done, knowing more about a dog’s breed is just like anything else. The information itself can be used for both positive and negative things, depending on how you decide to move forward with the knowledge that you have. At the end of the day, it’s up to each individual dog owner to decide whether or not they want to find out more about the breed of their particular dog. Similarly, it would also be more convenient to know what dog breed is best for you before getting a pet heedlessly. If you still have questions, you might want to refer to some of the frequently asked questions in the next section.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the breed of my dog?
This is a question that countless numbers of dog owners have asked themselves in the past. It is especially true for those dog owners who routinely adopt dogs from shelters and even more so for those individuals who find a dog that is lost or injured in the street, only to end up living in the home for the long term. In the past, it wasn’t always possible to definitively determine the breed of your dog, but thanks to modern-day technology, all of that have changed. If you really want to know, a simple DNA test can give you the answers you’re seeking with a dramatic level of accuracy.
2. Which dog breed is best for me?
This is a question that every dog owner will have to decide for themselves. That said, it’s also one of the most important questions that you could ever ask yourself. When it’s all said and done, only you know what you are truly looking for in a dog. Do you have an active lifestyle, one which lends itself to bringing your dog along so that he can be active as well? Do you live in a small apartment or do you have plenty of lands for him to roam? Do you prefer a lap dog that likes to cuddle or a large, powerful breed that can be both a family pet and a guard dog? All of these questions and many more will come into play when you are deciding which type of dog you should get. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go out and spend loads of money on a purebred. In fact, animal shelters are teeming with unwanted dogs that are just begging for a loving home. However, it’s important to have some idea of what you might potentially be getting into so that you can make an educated decision that is good for both your family and the dog you’re adopting. The last thing you want to do is adopt a dog, only to turn around and give him back to the shelter a couple of weeks later because the situation isn’t working out the way you’d hoped. Knowing something about different breeds of dogs and the breeds available for you to adopt could make all the difference.