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How DNA Testing Can Save Your Dog

Updated on October 23, 2016
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian in Brazil. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

DNA testing may save your puppies life.
DNA testing may save your puppies life. | Source

Do You Know About BSL?

Are you worried about Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)?

BSL picks out certain dogs that are considered dangerous by a legislature and discriminates against them.

Does your town want to institute BSL and take away any dog that looks like a Pit Bull? It has happened before, and it may happen again. (Other breeds are chosen at times, but Pit Bulls are usually the breed picked out by local officials.) It won´t matter how great your dog is, it will not matter that she can play with your kids or that she lets little dogs chase her around.

Your best friend may end up in a landfill if you cannot prove that she is not a member of a banned breed.

DNA testing might keep your dog from being dumped in a landfill.
DNA testing might keep your dog from being dumped in a landfill. | Source
Source

Will DNA Testing Prove What Breed She Is?


No, a DNA might not show what breed of dog you have.

Some DNA tests (like the Canine Heritage test and DNA My Dog) will provide you with a certificate showing you what dog breeds were most likely his ancestors.

If your dog looks anything like a Pit Bull, this will allow you to prove your dog is not a member of the “dangerous dog” family. (Of course, the test can also show up that proves he is a Pit Bull cross. Fortunately, some of the DNA services do not even include the Pit Bull on their list of breeds. They might come up with an AKC breed that is the same thing or similar, though, like the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Bulldog, or the Boxer.)


How Do I Collect The DNA?

A swab is submitted after being rubbed along the inner part of your dog´s cheek. After that all you have to do is mail it in.

What Other Methods Can I Use To Protect My Dog?

If the breeder or shelter from which you got your dog provides you a letter that states his breed or background, you can ask your veterinarian to add it to your dog´s medical file. This will provide you with another legal argument if your dog is accused of being from a banned breed.

I still recommend DNA testing. If you overwhelm the legal system with proof, your dog has a better chance of surviving.

Is DNA Testing Right For All Dogs?

Would DNA testing have saved Lennox, the Lab/Bulldog mix that was killed by the Belfast City Council? Maybe not. They decided that he looked like a Pit Bull, one of the banned breeds in the United Kingdom, and thus had no right to continue on with his life. If the owner had been able to produce a certificate proving that Lennox was a Labrador Retriever, however, the case may have never progressed.

If you have a large dog with a square jaw, and he is not registered with a kennel club, you should spend the money to get him a certificate, now. You might not even be able to load your dog up in your car and drive to another area. A sympathetic animal control officer who sees the certificate, however, will be more likely to leave your dog in peace. Do not wait for the knock on your door.

Dogs love to play!
Dogs love to play! | Source

© 2012 Dr Mark

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    • profile image

      Eileen 3 years ago

      wish i knew of this before our dog was taken from us, we now await a court case to let a judge decide her fate

    • DrMark1961 profile image
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      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks for the input! Another one of those "unfortunate but true" situations. You need to put together another of your great hubs on overweight pets, and don't forget anything before you publish (I have done that a lot!).

    • Bob Bamberg profile image

      Bob Bamberg 5 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Hi, again, Doc. You're right; it's common for overweight people to have overweight pets...and also overweight children. I saw that a lot in my store.

      I'm super cognizant of people walking their dogs. As I'm driving down the road I always look to see if it's a former customer. And now that I think about it, I don't often see very heavy people out walking their dogs.

    • Bob Bamberg profile image

      Bob Bamberg 5 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Hi, again, Doc. Thanks for the reminder that overweight people tend to have overweight pets (they also tend to have overweight children). I actually thought of that as I was writing the hub and intended to include such a paragraph. I even had a photo selected.

      But, I got called away for a few minutes and when I returned, had totally forgotten it. That's why, as I hit the "Publish" tab, I had this uneasy feeling that I had forgotten something.

      Don't get old. See what happens? Regards, Bob

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks Rachel, I hope he never needs it but I think it is worth the expense, usually. They are all Pit Bulls, or at least look like Pit Bulls,which is enough to guarantee getting dumped in a landfill.

    • Farmer Rachel profile image

      Rachel Koski 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Breed Specific Legislation is quite simply disgusting. I'm totally disturbed by those images of the dead pit bulls, or whatever they are. I think I'd better talk my dad into getting DNA testing done for his pit-bull-staffordshire-terrier-shelter-dog-thing. Good hub, and good info, even if it is disgusting.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Those images are from Denver, Colorado, USA, when that city decided to make Pit Bulls or Pit Bull lookalikes illegal. Terrible thing to imagine them all ending up in landfills.

    • Highland Terrier profile image

      Highland Terrier 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Will we ever improve as a species? Will small minded and limited attitudes plagues us forever?

      Really I could have done without this information, but burying my head in the sand is not the answer either.

      They banned certain dogs from council houses and the same dogs must have muzzles on when out walking here in Ireland, but they have yet to do this, banning the dogs outright.

      That is not to say that our landfills don't have the corpses of dogs in them, we kill the highest numbers of dogs in the world each year.

      Five miserable days is all the poor dogs get over here from the councils.

      Fortunately a lot of charities have sprang up in the last twenty years so the dogs lot is improving. We even have dogs trust here now, which is a brilliant charity.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks for the great comments Bob. I wanted to comment on your hub after that OP brought up the subject of obesity, but since you were trying to write about pilling cats I did not want to mess up your subject line. Unfortunately, obese people are most likely to excuse obesity in their pets, and call a normal canine waistline "a sunken in belly". Pfizer would never have come out with Slentrol if it were not for all the obesity in pets.

    • Bob Bamberg profile image

      Bob Bamberg 5 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Great advice, DrMark. We're seeing the specter of BSL more and more in this country. It doesn't always get passed, but they'll keep trying. There are advocates (industry and general public) that lobby against BSL and that is helpful, but pet owners must remain vigilant lest their local officials try to enact it.

      The insurance industry isn't much help. As Mary pointed out, most companies will decline to write homeowners' policies if you own a pit bull or any one of a number of other blacklisted breeds.

      Some insurance companies have a "one bite" policy. That is, they'll pay a dog bite claim once, but then you have to submit proof that the dog was re-homed or destroyed, otherwise they won't renew your policy.

      It's unfortunate that officials remain unenlightened about these breeds. The responsible owners suffer for the knuckle draggers who think it's cool to have a big ol' un-neutered Rotty chained in the back of a pick-up truck, acting mean and intimidating. Up, useful and interesting. Regards, Bob

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks Mary. That is another way they get to anyone that dares to own a Pit.

      I read your hub about your Shih Tzu. Really sad. I am really sorry for your family´s loss.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      This is such good advice on DNA testing for your dog. Who would have ever thought?? Our town has not banned these breeds, but you can not get homeowner's insurance if you have a pit bull.

      I voted this Hub UP, etc.etc.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      It is definitely an option that might help someone. I get upset thinking about anyone taking away my sweet dog just because she has a square jaw and a big mouth when she smiles!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      How sad our society is in this place. I understand well there are many pitbulls that are dangerous but that can be traced to their upbringing and the people who own them. Training and love make pitbulls just as loveable as any other dog. I hope your hub helps save a pitbull.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks for your comment. There are not a lot of alternatives when a dog is declared "banned", so I hope this helps a few people. I would move if they ever tried this with my dog, but what if they came before I had the chance?

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

      That is terrible what happens to these dogs. They are not innocent until proven guilty. Pitbulls abound in my neighborhood, all nicely leashed and walk great. Neighbor across the street has two pit bulls and so well-behaved. He will be in the front yard and his oldest dog will not move until told. That dog behaves better than my rascals.