Did you know there’s a simple genetic test that can tell you what breeds your mix might be made of? Do you care? 

Clearly, some owners do. A few of my clients have opted for it. Even more of Dolittler's (a DailyVet sister blog) readers seem to have jumped at the chance. I mean, a hundred bucks is a lot of money in this economy, but not so much as to keep some curious pet owners from getting to the bottom of their mutt’s provenance. 

It’s kind of neat, if you think about it. Sure, he looks like he’s got Lab or Brittany spaniel or whippet in him ... but how can you really know? Maybe one swab from his mucous membranes will tell you. Wouldn’t that be cool?

Even if you don’t buy into the "gee-whiz" factor of such a test, maybe you’ll be swayed by the similar argument adopted children have when searching for his parentage: "Knowing what genes are in me can help tell me what diseases and conditions I’m at risk for."

And that makes some sense. We all know that some breeds tend to suffer inherited diseases. Cavalier King Charles spaniels get cardiomyopathy, Great Danes bloat more often, Labs suffer laryngeal paralysis and Westies get copper hepatopathies ... to name but a few. Might it then be of some health benefit to know what you may be dealing with?

Maybe. Or maybe not.

The truth is that this test is fairly inaccurate. If you consider that most breeds are made up of a variety of breeds, reality sets in. Your maybe-Frenchie mix, for example, might come up as a mastiff and some kind of terrier. Not so helpful, right? Not if it misses the French bulldog marker altogether.

The good news, however, is that this test is getting better as its makers learn more about dog genetics. I think it’s something to look forward to once the science improves. 

So what do you say? Is it worth it for you? Do you want to know what’s in your mutt?

Dr. Patty Khuly