Testing your dog's DNA

By Kristen Miranda - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The way your dog behaves and how likely it is to get certain diseases can be directly tied to it's breed.

Knowing what he's pre-disposed to be and do can help your veterinarian take better care of him, and help you tame his quirks.

But what if your best friend is a mutt?
There are several companies which claim they can DNA test your dog and tell you exactly what his makeup is.
We put one company to the test and the results were surprising.
Baxter, Pepper, and Oliver all found themselves in local shelters and rescues.
We sent away to DNA Diagnostics Center for a DNA test kit to try to learn more about their lineage.  The tests cost approximately $60.
Each dog was swabbed to collect cheek cells which contain DNA and the swabs were sent to the lab.
Then we followed the swabs to the lab, in Cincinnati, Ohio to learn more about the process.
The lab staff tell us they're identifying changes in DNA that are breed specific.  Hundreds of thousands of components make up a dog and one single change can alter the way a dog looks.
The company can test for 63 different breeds.  They are the most popular breeds which make up 93 percent of the US dog population. Scientists search for specific genetic markers and assign it a number, 1 through 5. The smaller the number, the greater percentage of that breed in your dog.
To get a good, close look at the dogs we tested, and to see the DNA test results, watch the video on this page.
We ran the results past a Charlotte veterinarian to get her take on the outcome.  You can see the full interview with Dr. Kim Vita Hombs from Atrium Animal Hospital by clicking on the interview located up above in our Video Gallery on this page.
 ©2009 WBTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.