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Dna Profiling And Parentage Verification In Pedigree Dogs

Anyone who is thinking about buying a pedigree puppy should ask breeders if their stud dogs are DNA profiled. The procedure is the best way of establishing whether a dog is truly the dog on the registration or other papers and that they are truly pure breeds. A DNA profile cannot be tampered with and as such the Kennel Club recommends that all breeders use the system as a way of proving a stud dog's identity. The record of a dog's DNA profile is held on record for their entire life by the Kennel Club which vets and other people can use as a reference when and if they need to.

Why is a DNA profile so helpful?

There are many reasons why having a dog DNA profiles is so useful which includes the following:

  • To identify a dog that's stolen or lost and then found - even though a dog is microchipped, having them DNA profiled goes a long way in reuniting a lost or stolen dog with their owner once they have been found with the real bonus being that the procedure is non-invasive which makes it a valuable tool when it comes to determining a dog's identity.
  • To check whether a DNA sample used for testing or screening to establish whether a dog is suffering from any hereditary and genetic disorders does in fact apply to the dog that's being tested thus avoiding any confusion or deception
  • To verify a dog's pedigree and the identity of a puppy's parent dogs. Reputable breeders would be happy to use a "parentage analysis" test to verify a stud dog's pedigree to prove that offspring are 100% pedigree too. It also allows breeders to improve their lines and to limit or reduce the risk of dogs inheriting any known hereditary disorders which includes conditions like hip dysplasia, vision issues, dental problems and even autoimmune disorders

It is worth noting that a DNA profile does not hold any information relating to a dog's health status and that a dog should also be microchipped even if they have been officially DNA profiled.

What is pedigree/parentage analysis?

When the DNA profiles of parent dogs are recorded, all their offspring can be DNA profiled to ensure that all parent stud dogs are officially registered.

How dog owners can request a DNA profiling kit

All dog owners can request a DNA profiling kit from the Animal Health Trust which is an organisation that works closely with the Kennel Club. Once a dog's DNA profile is completed, it is sent to the KC where the record is kept and updated as necessarily. Request for a kit can be done by email or phone to the AHT and not through their website.

The importance of ancestry in a dog's breeding

Just because a dog comes from a good pedigree does not necessarily make them a "better" dog, but it does play a key part in their genetic make-up. It also reduces the risk of puppies inheriting any disorders that are known to affect any specific breed. Genetics can also be important when it comes to temperament and more especially in certain breeds which includes Rottweilers. In short, DNA profiling together with parentage analysis has fast become a very valuable tool not only for breeders, but also for dog owners too.


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Creating a unique "Paw Print" for your dog

DNA profiling or fingerprinting is sometimes known as "genotyping" and the procedure establishes and records a dog's genetic code which like in humans is unique to a specific dog. The profiling does not determine the actual breed of a dog, but it does identify gene markers that parent dogs pass on to their offspring.

How DNA profiling works

Most laboratories that undertake DNA profiling in dogs do so by carrying out dewclaw, buccal or blood smears which are then analysed to establish specific markers which are unique to any one specific dog. This can be then used as a dog's ID card. When the tests are carried out by the Animal Health Trust, the results are sent to the Kennel Club where the details and records are held for the remainder of a dog's life and can be used as a reference point by vets should a dog ever fall ill.

Owners are sent a DNA analysis certificate that contains a dog's relevant details which includes the following:

  • Name of dog tested
  • Registration number
  • Owner's name
  • Microchip number

How accurate is DNA profiling?

Studies have established that DNA profiling in dogs is 99.99% accurate, although there have been instances of false matches happening from time to time and when this occurs, a second test would be required. As such breeders, it is recommended that breeders have all their stud dogs profiled which minimizes the chances of any false matches occurring in future litters they produce.

The AHT issues "parentage verification" reports detailing all the genetic markers for puppies as being clear of any mutations and all records can be cross-checked which then establishes the puppies' parentage and whether they suffer from any genetic or hereditary disorders.

More about false matches

Under certain conditions a false match might happen when a dog is DNA profiled and this could happen for three main reasons which are as follows:

  • Genetic diversity - this occurs when parent dogs are closely related and the result of a test could well be a false match for this reason
  • Too few DNA records contained in a database - the risk of a false match is heightened when too few records of dams and sires are recorded in a database
  • When only one parent dog is DNA profiled - a lot of kennels and breeders tend to DNA profile a sire only and as such the results of test being a false match is greater

How long does it take to get results of DNA profiling?

Once a dog has been DNA tested and the results sent into the AHT, it takes around a week or so for the results to be sent out to owners or breeders.


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