Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mixed Breed Identification

Ever since I attended the lecture at the AVMA conference that tested the whole room on their ability to identify the breeds in mixed breeds (from video clips), I have wanted to have my own dogs analyzed. I am fairly certain that I know what Nestle is, based on his behavioral tendencies rather than his appearance. But our small dog, Diamond, remains mostly a mystery. She was listed at the shelter as a Maltese/Poodle, and while I can buy the Poodle part, the Maltese part doesn't seem to fit at all. This is a little surprising, as she came from an entire litter that had been surrendered, and you might have thought that the irresponsible people who had let the puppies be created might have known the mother and father involved.
Anyway, I've been toying with the idea of doing genetic breed analysis, and now I think I really am going to take the plunge. It's pricey, but hey, I can write it off as a tax deduction because I intend to write about it. And I would like to prove myself right or wrong in Nestle's case and discover the mystery of Diamond's heritage while we still have her (she's 16 and a half).
I will be using the Wisdom Panel, as they cover the largest number of breeds and only involved a cheek swab rather than a blood draw. Cheek swabs seem to be realiable, as that is what every CSI program shows being done routinely.
This is a pretty new area in the world of dogs. I wonder how many mixed breed people are opting to have their dogs' DNA analyzed, and if it will have any far-reaching results, such as proving that a dog is NOT part Pit Bull. (Wisdom Panel does include Pit Bull, I think, but I would have to ask them if they are meaning UKC registered Pit Bulls or something else.)
Would insurance carriers accept the results of a DNA analysis and allow a "banned" breed to stay in a home and still let the owners keep their insurance?
I think this is an area that will have some significant ramifications for legislation regarding dogs in the future.

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