It's in the Genes...or Maybe Not
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Every time I walk my dog around the neighborhood (or around anywhere, for that matter) I am asked what kind of canine he is. My honest answer to people is usually "we think half dachshund, half black lab," to which I receive astonished replies and laughter about how the physics of that mating must have looked.

Now, I know that my answer is incorrect. Unfortunately, I don't have a more specific answer, nor I really know what he is...exactly.

Just after Christmas, I used some surplus holiday cash to order a DNA testing kit from MMI Genomics. Like Ralphie with his Ovaltine Secret Decoder, I waited impatiently for it to arrive. After taking a mighty swab from Doc's cheek (about which he was less than thrilled), I sent it away for analysis.

This morning marked the one week mark after the 4-6 week results time frame, so I gave my pals at MMI a call. According to Veronica in Customer Service, Doc's genetic makeup is too varied to conclude a primary breed. In fact, none of the gene markers came back in any kind of conclusive majority.

Keep in mind, this test only runs against 38 breeds (including black lab and dachshund). So I asked if they ever considered expanding their sample pool of breed information, and she mentioned they were planning on expanding in the next few months or so (up to 115 breeds). She offered to add Doc to the test group for the new and improved process - free of charge! So of course, I consented.

A new DNA swab kit is on its way to my house now, for a second sample. In the meantime, I think I'll ask my vet about the blood test offered by Mars Veterinary group. I don't know if I can wait 6 more months to know exactly what makes up my mutt.

What do YOU see?