Knowing your dog's breeds for better training and health - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Knowing your dog's breeds for better training and health


About two weeks ago, I submitted a DNA sample of my dog Teddy to find out his breeds. I got the test from the Cedar Bend Humane Society, which is now selling the tests for about $60.00 with a portion of sales going back to shelters.

Other than general curiosity, I wanted to know Teddy's breeds to help me with his training and with his health. I adopted Teddy at the end of October. Both the shelter and my vet thought he was a Shih Tzu mix.

I used the Wisdom Panel Shelter Dog Identification Test to check Teddy's DNA. It was a simple process. First, I filled out some information -- including his name, weight and age. Then I got started with the actual test.

I used two swabs on the inside of Teddy's cheek and put them back in the provided plastic containers. I made sure all my information was included on each sample, and then I put the DNA swabs in a provided envelope. Then I just had to wait for the results to be emailed to me in two to three weeks.

I spoke with my vet, Dr. Tom Taylor at Den Herder Veterinary Hospital in Waterloo, about why from a health standpoint it's beneficial to know your pet's breeds.

"To kind of plan ahead for their life. Knowing what diseases to plan for. For orthopedics, heart disease, potential allergies, skin issues, eye diseases. Some dogs are predisposed to diabetes. All that information comes if we know what kind of breed they are," said Dr. Taylor.

Dr. Taylor said knowing a dog's breed can also give you an idea of how much you can expect to pay for veterinary care throughout the pet's life. He said bulldogs and boxers are typically the most expensive pets to own, often having more health issues during their life spans.

I also spoke to Karen Anderson with PetAgreed Dog Training in Cedar Falls. Anderson said knowing your dogs breed can create a more targeted and effective training plan.

"Sometimes different breeds can be easier to train on different things. Hound dogs are easier to train with scent, maybe than sight. Greyhounds are sight dogs. So different things do help a dog, and we do use that in the training aspect," said Anderson.

By knowing your dog's breeds, you can also come up with play and exercise activities focused on your dog's natural tendencies.

The Wisdom Panel Shelter Dog Identification Test uses 321 different markers in the DNA test. The markers get put into a computer, which uses information from more than 190 breeds to put together a personalized pedigree for your pet.

Teddy's main breeds are approximately 50 percent Shih Tzu and 25 percent Shetland Sheepdog. The Shih Tzu is no surprise. That's what the shelter and vet thought he was. I'm surprised about the Shetland Sheepdog, but it does explain a lot of his behavior. He really likes to herd things.

Teddy's five next breeds are Pharaoh Hound (17.38 percent), Pekingese (4.86 percent), Smooth Fox Terrier (1.86 percent), Bouvier des Flandres (1.02 percent) and Keeshond (0.74 percent).

More information on the breeds is posted on Danielle's Cubbie Tails blog.

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