You love your dog, and you want to know more about her. For many, this relationship is no different from that of a family member. This makes the long wait for your results, and the anticipation of finally knowing more about your dog almost unbearable. Just as emotional, is the reaction from pet parents when the results do not come back as expected. Why does this happen? How can it be?
There are many factors that come into play, but let’s first start with the science involved. Your pup can be the result of a complex heritage of many breeds in a long line of ancestors who themselves were also mixed breeds or “Mutts”. He could also come from a more simple and straightforward combination of just 2 breeds, where both parents were purebreds. In the case of a dog with a more complex history, the breeds within that ancestral line could vary in size from very large to very small.
A small dog could have bred with a medium dog, and the medium dog could have had a larger dog somewhere in its history. The resulting offspring could then be a larger dog with a very small mother. Now take this complex genetic soup and fast forward through many generations. You send in your test for your dog that you know is a Great Dane, and your level 5 result shows toy poodle. You get your results and exclaim “How is this possible!” The answer is the complex world of Genetics and the intricacies of Dominant and Recessive genes.
Have you ever seen a brunette, 5’2” human mother walking around with her 6’4” blonde son and wondered “How did that happen!” – The answer – Genetics and it applies to your pet, the same way that it applies to you.
It is very difficult to visually identify the breeds within a dog, as shown in studies like the one done by Dr. Julie Levy at University of Florida. Even professionals can only visually identify all the breeds present in a dog’s genetic make-up accurately about 25% of the time!
You simply cannot escape the laws of nature. Just because we think something should be different, or we really want a result to be what we expect, unfortunately we cannot change the laws of nature, no matter how much we wish we could. Just take a look at your own family, and see the diversity, with some members it will be plainly obvious, with others, not so much. It’s no different with dogs. The best explanation for this is:
Genetic Recombination & Chromosomal crossover – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_recombination
Genetic recombination (aka genetic reshuffling) is the production of offspring with combinations of traits that differ from those found in either parent. In eukaryotes, genetic recombination during meiosis can lead to a novel set of genetic information that can be passed on from the parents to the offspring. Most recombination is naturally occurring.
Chromosomal crossover In eukaryotes, recombination during meiosis is facilitated by chromosomal crossover. The crossover process leads to offspring having different combinations of genes from those of their parents, and can occasionally produce new chimeric alleles. The shuffling of genes brought about by genetic recombination produces increased genetic variation.
Puppies receive about 25% of their total genetic makeup from their grandparents and 12% from the great grandparents. Because of the random nature in which genes are passed down, siblings can sometimes have differences in the breeds identified (or placement of the breeds) in their family trees. This can, and often does, result in very surprising results, and this should be part of the fun in getting your dog tested and not a source of stress and dissatisfaction. If you already knew the history of your dog, there really would not be any point in having the test done in the first place. Enjoy the process and trust the science!
Your dog’s physical characteristics are controlled by only 2% of their genes. This is why it’s important to understand dominant vs recessive genes.
Recessive Gene – https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/recessive – These control factors such as the shape of the head and ears or the type of coat.
A recessive gene is a gene that can be masked by a dominant gene. In order to have a trait that is expressed by a recessive gene, such as blue eyes, you must get the gene for blue eyes from both of your parents.
Dominant Gene – https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/dominant%20gene
A gene that produces the same phenotype in the organism whether or not its allele identical
But dominant traits such as these, just because they are dominant, can be attributed to literally hundreds of breeds beyond the ones that you feel might apply to your pet. Conversely a recessive trait like a short coat, floppy ears, or spots that are associated with a specific breed, may not make it past the dominant ones and therefore can’t be seen.
In the end, we all love our pets. With this love comes emotional attachment and high expectations. Because of this, with our pets…just as with our children, parents and siblings…it can be easy to allow our emotions to close our minds from accepting the scientific facts extracted from your pet’s DNA. Beyond the fun that can be realized when you receive quirky or unexpected results, are the more important genetic facts that can help you to better care for your dog in the future, by knowing potential breed specific illnesses to look out for in your pet. This is the most valuable benefit anyone can get when using Find My Pet DNA.
Is it possible to receive inaccurate results? Yes, it is possible, but unlikely, provided you follow the instructions provided in your kit: Your dog simply cannot come into any contact with other dogs, or anything else other dogs have used such as – Toys, Food, Water Bowls, Beds and Feces within hours of taking the sample. If so, the sample will be contaminated and the DNA from these other dogs will show up in your results.