Frequently Asked Questions

Please take note of the following factors that will influence your dog’s DNA test.

Experience indicates that approximately 2.3% of all DNA canine testing will yield results that are inaccurate or cannot be interpreted. The reasons for this are:

  • Dogs have extremely high levels of oral bacteria which may result in degeneration of the sample before our DNA extraction process commences.
  • The current thoroughly isolated DNA markers in the available database to date represent the most common breeds found in the North American mixed breed dog population. If you believe your dog is a breed not covered in our database, please read this.
DNA My Dog FAQ

Can I collect the DNA myself? Yes, the collection process is very simple and can be performed at home by following the enclosed instructions.

Does DNA collection hurt my pet? The DNA collection is painless. The sterile, gentle polyester tipped swab minimizes any chance for infection or irritation.

How long does it take to get the results? Results are normally available online in under 2 weeks from the receipt of your sample. Your paperwork will follow in the mail a few days after that.

How do you know which breeds are present in my dog? Our lab has invested a considerable amount of time in the science of DNA knowledge, analyzing DNA from purebred dogs to build a comprehensive database that highlights the differences between different breeds. By comparing your dog’s DNA with our database we can identify which breeds are present in your dog.

Does the price of the test include the processing fee? Yes. The price of your test includes the full service package offered by DNA My Dog. Upon completion of analysis you will be mailed a DNA Analysis certificate, suitable for framing. You will also receive a Behavior, Health and Personality Summary which will give you general information pertaining to each of the breeds found here.

What is the Canine Breed Composition DNA Analysis Certificate? The results of the DNA analysis are printed on a hand-certified DNA Analysis certificate that is suitable for framing. These results will identify the breeds present in your dog’s ancestry that were determined by our DNA test.

How do I send a photo for my certificate? You can upload your photo directly to your account by entering your customer ID# in the status checker and following the instructions. Please make sure to submit a photo before final results or your certificate may be mailed without it. Including a photo is entirely up to you and you do not have to include one if you don't want to. 

Why are several breeds listed on my Canine Breed Composition DNA Analysis Certificate, and what do the levels mean? In processing, breeds are detected as ranges rather than absolute values. These are then listed on your certificate as Levels, which are defined as follows: Level 1: Over 75% of the DNA found in your dog is from the breed listed. Level 2: Each breed listed represents between 37-74% of your dog’s DNA Level 3: Each breed listed represents between 20-36% of your dog’s DNA Level 4: Each breed listed represents between 10-19% of your dog’s DNA Level 5: Each breed listed represents less than 9% of your dog’s DNA.

What if there are breeds in my dog that are not in your database? We believe that our database of validated breeds covers the most common breeds you will find in the mixed breed dog population. If your dog contains DNA from a breed that is not in our database the DNA represented in that part of your dog’s genetics will be assigned to the foundation breed or breeds of your dog or the most closely related breed or breeds. In some cases when the breed is not found the test will report the breed or breeds as unidentified. If you believe your dog to be a breed not in our current database please contact us and we can let you know the status of the breed and discuss your options for testing.

Will you be adding more dogs to your database? As new breeds become more popular in the mixed breed population our lab endeavors to include them in our database as quickly as possible. We are actively working on adding more breeds to the database. Please check the table below for the most up-to-date listings.

Can you confirm that my dog is pure bred? No. The DNA Breed Identification test is designed for the sole purpose of identifying breeds found in the genetic composition of mixed breed dogs. If only 1 breed is detected, it could mean that a parent was a mixed breed but your dog only inherited this one particular breed. Technically this dog is not a purebred.

Can I use your test to register my dog in a breed club? In most cases you cannot use a Breed Identification test to register your dog. For information about registering your dog with the CKC, AKC or UKC please see the links below.
CKC
AKC
UKC

Why is pit bull not on your list? The DNA My Dog Validated Breeds are based on breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club® (AKC). The term “pit bull” has come to describe several types of dogs, often of mixed breed, that share similar physical characteristics. There are several AKC breeds with characteristics often shared by dogs referred to as “pit bull” that are in our database, such as American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Boxer, Bulldog, Bull Terrier and Mastiff, so these breeds could be identified. Please click here for more information. DNA My Dog actively does not support dog breed specific legislation. The use of DNA results for legal purposes vary by jurisdiction.

How does the test actually work? When a sample is received by our lab it is put into a solution that takes the cheek cells off the swab and releases the DNA. From there we analyze the information found in the DNA of your dog and compare it to our reference database. The comparison database is really the key to the whole process. During the comparison process, the results for the DNA markers from your mixed breed dog are compared with DNA marker information from thousands and thousands of pure bred dogs. This matching process is performed on a computer through a sophisticated program that repeats the analysis thousands of times to assure an accurate result.

DNA My Dog is devoted to providing dog lovers with the highest level of satisfaction in our testing services. Our lab is dedicated to testing for breed determination and we have invested a considerable amount of research into this Canine Breed DNA test as well as other genetic tests for dogs. We stand behind the results of every single test we perform and are devoted to providing the highest quality service to our customers.

How was the test developed? Research into the Dog Genome has been ongoing for several years. It began with a hope that a better understanding of the dog genome would help the fight against human cancer as it had been shown that there were many similarities between canine and human cancers. Completion of the Dog Genome Project in 2005 has enabled scientists to discover segments of the DNA molecule that produce differences between various breeds of dogs, such as the shape of the tail, size or color. (reference: The Dog Genome: Survey Sequencing and Comparative Analysis Ewen F. Kirkness, Vineet Bafna, Aaron L. Halpern, Samuel Levy, Karin Remington, Douglas B. Rusch, Arthur L. Delcher, Mihai Pop, Wei Wang, Claire M. Fraser, and J. Craig Venter Science 26 September 2003 301: 1898-1903)

Over the past few years there has been numerous advances in the types of genetic tests on the market. These advances have allowed us to expand the information we are able to offer you. If you are interested in learning more about the science supporting various types of DNA testing we highly recommend reading the following articles:

A robust statistical method for case-control association testing with copy number variation

The genomic architecture of segmental duplications and associated copy number variants in dogs

Individual assignment using microsatellite DNA reveals unambiguous breed identification in the domestic dog

Identification and Characterization of Dinucleotide Repeat (CA)n Markers for Genetic Mapping in Dog

How many breeds does your test recognize and how did you choose those breeds? DNA My Dog recognizes breeds in the most commonly found mixed breed dogs in the North American dog population according to historical trends in dog popularity. The breeds that we detect are the most common breeds you see, such as Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd Dog, Yorkshire Terrier or Chihuahua, for example. These common breeds are the ones most likely to be present in a mixed breed dog or in the increasingly common designer dogs. The rare breeds that are found in the US are unlikely to be present in a regular mixed breed, so breeds like Komondorok, Kuvasz or Wirehaired Pointing Griffon will not be seen in many mixed breed dogs. As the cost and time of performing the Breed ID test goes up as you add more breeds, we decided to include just the most common breeds to keep the price down to meet your needs. Why pay more, when for most people the breeds that make up their dog are the common ones? For more than 99% of the samples we have received, we have been able to match the samples to our breeds.

I have read that the number of markers is critical for accurate breed identification, is that true? While the number of markers is important, it is not the only important factor. We also need to consider the amount of information that each marker will give us. For example, if you have a choice between using 10 markers that will only identify one breed each and one marker that will help to identify 15 breeds, we believe that you would choose the marker that helps to identify the 15. In our opinion just quoting the number of markers that are used does not really help you know the precision of the test. Since it is important to know how much information each marker will give you and the precision of the analysis being performed, basing a comparison on the number of markers used in the test is not necessarily valid.

Is the size of my dog controlled by the same markers as the breed? One interesting genetic discovery about dogs is that there is a specific size gene for the dog. This is the reason why you can have dogs with an identical appearance except different size! The Poodle family (Toy, Miniature and Standard) illustrate this point perfectly. As an extreme example if you crossed a Great Dane and a Yorkshire Terrier it would be possible to have a dog that looks like a Great Dane but is only 6 inches tall. (reference; A Single IGF1 Allele Is a Major Determinant of Small Size in Dogs Nathan B. Sutter, Carlos D. Bustamante, Kevin Chase, Melissa M. Gray, Keyan Zhao, Lan Zhu, Badri Padhukasahasram, Eric Karlins, Sean Davis, Paul G. Jones, Pascale Quignon, Gary S. Johnson, Heidi G. Parker, Neale Fretwell, Dana S. Mosher, Dennis F. Lawler, Ebenezer Satyaraj, Magnus Nordborg, K. Gordon Lark, Robert K. Wayne, and Elaine A. Ostrander Science 6 April 2007 316: 112-115)

Do you perform any quality control tests in your assay? Having an effective quality control system is essential for a lab to process large numbers of DNA samples correctly. To confirm that our test continues to perform properly, we run a number of control dogs every day. These are dogs that we know and have access to on a regular basis so we know what their results should be. By running a sample from these dogs alongside every group of customer dogs we are able to check that our processes are working properly. If our control dogs fail or give results that are different from previous runs, we retest all the customer samples that were processed at that same time.

You use cheek swabs for your test. Are you able to use blood? Cheek swabs or buccal swabs are one of the most common and easiest ways to collect DNA. They are also the standard for non-invasive collection of DNA samples. You can learn more about the benefits of using these swabs here. If you prefer to have your dog’s blood tested we are able to accept blood samples from your Veterinarian. There is an additional $20 fee for testing blood samples. Please contact vet@dnamydog.com if you wish to have a DNA test performed with your dog’s blood.

Do I need to send a photo along with my dog's sample? Sending a photo is entirely up to you. Photos are used solely for the DNA Certificate you receive with your results. If you don't send a photo it will not affect your test. Your DNA Certificate will be sent to you without a photo.

Do you test for Wolf or Coyote? We are able to test for Wolf, Fox and Coyote Hybrids. Please click here for information.

What does it mean if my Customer ID is not found? If your ID number is not found it can mean we haven't received your sample yet. This can sometimes happen when the test is purchased from a third party or shelter. If you are not certain about your Customer ID, are not able to see it online or believe your sample should have been received and your account shows we are still waiting for your sample, please contact us here. Please ensure you are entering your ID number in the correct blue box at the top of the page, not the site search box on the right side of the page. Please make sure you are using the letter O and number 0 as shown on your ID number. Results are normally available 10-12 days after we receive your sample and are posted to your online account. Your certificate and personalized Breed Report are mailed a few days later.

Can you test the DNA from a deceased dog? If your dog is deceased and you want a test we can provide you with results. Please click here to learn about our DNA for Deceased Dogs service. If a sample is received from a dog that is very recently deceased we will do everything we can to provide results. We are not able to extract DNA from fur. An ideal sample is taken when the dog is still alive. If this is not possible the best results will be obtained from a cheek swab, kept dry. Soaking the swab in an Agar solution prevents us from isolating the DNA and should not be done. If a cheek swab is not possible we can also use a blood sample, preferably on a Blood Card. If a Blood Card is not available a vial or other small container of blood will work and we can transfer the sample to a Card once received. If you are sending a sample of blood we suggest overnight courier so the sample does not clot. Your Veterinarian may contact us for the best methods of providing a sample. If this is not possible please refer to our DNA for Deceased Dogs service.

Can you determine the sex or age of my dog with your test? No. Our test is measuring the breeds in your dog and does not test for other factors such as age or sex.

Can I test my Puppy with DNA My Dog? Is there a minimum age? You can DNA test your dog at any age. If you are testing a young puppy who has not been weaned yet we recommend waiting for the puppy to be weaned to avoid cross-contamination from Mother's milk. If this is not possible please make sure the pup has not fed from the Mother or been in oral contact with the other pups for approximately 1-2 hours before taking a sample.

My dog destroyed one of the swabs, what should I do? Your kit includes two sterile swabs. One of these is used for back-up. If you are only able to send us one of the swabs we will likely be able to get your results for you. If both swabs have been destroyed please contact us and we will send you another set of swabs.

What if my results don't make sense to me? We want you to be happy with your results and to understand them. If you need any clarification on your results please contact us at info@dnamydog.com so we can go over them with you.

Why haven’t I heard from you since I sent in my test? Please use your customer ID# to check your status online right through to your final results. In most cases you won’t hear from us after we receive your sample. This is out of respect for privacy and confidentiality to our customers.

What should I do if I lost my customer ID#? Fill out the contact form and we will send it to you.

What do I do if I did not receive my kit? Kits ordered with regular shipping should arrive within 2-7 days. If you feel you have been waiting longer please fill out this form and provide us with your mailing address so we can confirm it and see what the delay is.

Why am I having trouble uploading my photo? Please make sure your photo is in a JPG format and within the 3 mg limit. If you are having trouble let us know and we will help you.

How come puppies in the same litter have different breeds? How are the breeds passed down? Pups will randomly inherit 50% of the breeds from each parent and depending on the number of breeds in each parent it is common for offspring from the same litter to have different breed compositions. Please see this chart for a graphic that explains breed inheritance. 

Do you share customer test results with anyone? No. Your results are only accessible to you with your customer ID# and the email you register with us. Unless we are specifically requested, to from the person who ordered the test, we don’t share results or any other personal information about our customers.

What if I have a question not answered here? We are always happy to answer your questions. You may contact us by clicking here or call us at (416)691-4160. Testing your dog is a privilege and we strive to offer you the best service available. We look forward to hearing from you!

DNA Breeds covered in our test.
Please check back as new breeds are being added.
Afghan Hound Chihuahua Newfoundland
Airedale Terrier Chinese Crested Norwegian Elkhound
Akita Chinese Shar-Pei Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Alaskan Malamute Chow Chow Old English Sheepdog
American Eskimo Dog Cocker Spaniel Papillon
American Staffordshire Terrier Collie Parson Russell Terrier
Australian Cattle Dog Coton de Tulear  Pekingese
Australian Shepherd Dachshund Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Basenji Dalmatian Pomeranian
Basset Hound Doberman Pinscher Poodle
Beagle English Setter Pug
Bearded Collie English Springer Spaniel Rat Terrier
Belgian Malinois  Flat-Coated Retriever Redbone Coonhound
Belgian Tervuren French Bulldog Rhodesian Ridgeback
Bernese Mountain Dog German Shepherd Dog Rottweiler
Bichon Frise German Shorthaired Pointer Saint Bernard
Black and Tan Coonhound Golden Retriever Saluki
Bloodhound Great Dane Samoyed
Border Collie Great Pyrenees Schnauzer
Border Terrier Greyhound Scottish Terrier
Borzoi Havanese Shetland Sheepdog
Boston Terrier Ibizan Hound Shiba Inu
Boxer Irish Setter Shih Tzu
Brittany Irish Wolfhound Siberian Husky
Brussels Griffon Italian Greyhound Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Bull Terrier Keeshond Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Bulldog Labrador Retriever Tibetan Spaniel
Bullmastiff Lhasa Apso Vizsla
Cairn Terrier Maltese Weimaraner
Catahoula Leopard Dog Mastiff West Highland White Terrier
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Miniature Pinscher Whippet
  Neapolitan Mastiff  Yorkshire Terrier

DISCOVER!

  • Your dog’s breed composition.
  • Unique personality traits of your dog.
  • Genetic health concerns.
  • Predisposition to disease.
  • Plus, much, much more!

YOUR RESULTS INCLUDE:

  • A custom photo certificate of the breed’s found in your dog’s genetic breed composition.
  • A percentage breakdown of the levels found in your dog’s unique DNA.
  • A report on your dog’s dominant breeds, personality traits and health concerns.
DNA My Dog Kit