How to Find the Breed of Your Dog

DNA tests often reveal several different breeds.
i big dog image by Mat Hayward from

Twenty years ago, unless your dog was a registered purebred, his breed heritage was anyone's guess. Today, DNA tests provide accurate portraits of any dog's breeding regardless of pedigree. In addition to satisfying your curiosity, identifying your dog's mix will alert you to potential health problems associated with his lineage.

Step 1

Open the DNA testing package and remove the indicated sample swabs. Each test is different, but most will require that you obtain at least two different cheek swab samples. Because food particles can contaminate the results, it's best to collect the sample first thing in the morning, before your dog eats breakfast.

Step 2

Run each cotton swab on the inside of your dog's cheek for 45 seconds. The test's accuracy relies on skin cells, not just saliva, so brush the swab vigorously to ensure a large enough sample. After swabbing his mouth, immediately place the swab in the designated envelop and secure the seal to prevent contamination.

Step 3

Mail the collection samples back to the testing company along with any additional information requested in the instructions. Expect your dog's DNA profile to arrive within four to six weeks, depending on the company. Profile layouts vary by company, but most will highlight the primary breed or breeds in your dog, as well as the lesser percentages of other breeds.

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