How to Tell What Breed Is My Dog

Unless your dog was purchased from a breeder, you may not know exactly what breed of dog you own.

It’s not unusual for new pet owners to get home and then start thinking, what breed is my dog?

Figuring out which breed exactly your dog is can benefit you in more ways than just satisfying your natural curiosity.

According to Genetic research, the type of breed does indeed explain many aspects of a dog's unique personality.

Dog breed designations can be used to predict your dog’s upcoming behavior issues and educate you on some of the common health issues that he could face in the future.

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and it can be very hard to distinguish between them if you don’t have much experience with a large assortment of breeds.

Today, most dog owners know that the most popular and accurate way to find out what breed is by using dog DNA tests. But how accurate those dog DNA tests are?

We have a column on the efficacy and accuracy of DNA tests for dogs.

However, aside from that, there are other ways to find out what breed your dog is.

Take a look below.

If you want to learn more about dog DNA tests, how they work, how effective they are, and what the whole process of testing your dog's DNA looks like, I recommend you watch and read our review of Embark‘s new canine DNA testing kit using the below link.

For more information, listen to our podcast interview with Embark CEO Ryan Boyko.

WATCH & READ MORE: Embark Dog DNA Test Kit Review & Testing the Kit

How to Tell What Breed Is My Dog infographics

How to Tell What Breed Is My Dog?

how to tell what breed is your dog

Search through dog photos

Many websites offer help in determining the breed of your dog. and are two of the most popular sites for people who are trying to figure out which breed of dog they have simply by looking at photographs of different dogs and their breeds.

Recently, the website has released a new tool for breed finding. See here how this breed finder tool works and what's so good about it.

This process works really well for purebred dogs, but it can sometimes be hard to tell exactly which breeds make up a mix.

If you have a mixed breed that is primarily a German shepherd with one or two other breeds mixed in, he may look like a shepherd, and it could be very hard to tell what other breeds make his genealogy.

Similarly, there are some mixed breeds that are made up of 10 or more breeds.

It can be nearly impossible to tell their breeds just by looking at photographs.

If that's the case with your Fido, then scratch this method and move on to the next one.

RELATED: Do Dog DNA Tests Work? How Accurate Are They?

Get a dog professional’s opinion

professional help on dog breeds

Talking with professionals that have lots of experience with many different types of purebreds and mixed breeds is an excellent way to find out which breed of dog you have.

Obviously, your veterinarian will be of big help, and this should be your first point of contact whenever you're puzzled as to what breed my dog is.

Alternatively, you can also rely on the knowledge of professional dog groomers, dog walkers, and other pet care professionals.

Because these people deal with different dogs, different breeds, on a daily basis, they may be able to give you a more accurate assessment of what breed of dog you have, too.

RELATED: How to Choose a Dog Breed?

Another option is animal shelters.

These places also see a lot of different breeds on a regular basis, and it's their job to be able to make a call about what breed of dog they've just accepted into the shelter.

For a second opinion, try to get some information by talking to the employees of the local Humane Society, shelter, or rescue in your area.

Think outside the box when you're looking for advice on your dog's breed.

Anyone with a lot of canine experience may have some insight.

You could chat with employees and pet parents at your local dog park or talk with professionals at your local pet store as well. It's important to know your dog's breed.

Associated editor at Top Dog Tips, Catherine, has written a column on how she didn't make a proper assessment of the adopted dog's breed and thus has given her sister a wolf-dog hybrid unintentionally.

Read her awesome Wolf-dog Hybrid column here.

What Breed Is My Dog

Dog breeds and DNA testing

If you are really concerned about finding out exactly what breed or breeds your dog is made up of, you can purchase a dog DNA test. The tests start around $60-$70 and go up from there. The biggest factor in price is how big the database of dog breeds the company/manufacturer has.

For example, the more dog DNA samples the company has in its database to test against, the more expensive the test will be, but it will also be more accurate.

Therefore, if you have a mixed breed, it would be more beneficial to go with a company that has a larger database so you can receive as much information on your dog as possible.

RELATED: Canine Genetics – How to Make a Dog

All the dog DNA kits are relatively the same. They will include a cheek swab and a sealed sample packet.

All you have to do is swab your dog’s cheek, place the swab in the packet, seal it, and mail it back to the address provided.

The most expensive DNA tests for dogs require a blood sample, and you can only get these at a certain veterinarian’s office.

The most popular dog DNA test currently is the one from Wisdom Panel.

This manufacturer has the largest database and will provide the most accurate DNA result on your dog's breed that you can get today.

A good rule of thumb to remember about canine DNA testing is that the more breeds the dog is made up of, the less accurate the test will be.

If your dog is only made up of one or two breeds, you can be sure the results are very accurate, but if your dog is a true mutt that is made up of many breeds, the test may not be able to identify them all accurately.

Why should you know your dog's breed

find out dog breed to prevent health problems in dogs

Many canine breeds are predisposed to common health conditions.

Some are more prone to developing cancer or heart conditions, while other breeds are more likely to have issues with arthritis or hip dysplasia.

Certain breeds have more energy than others, and some are very prone to anxiety issues.

RELATED: Should You Breed Your Dog?

While it's not vital, it's definitely advisable to find out what breed your dog is.

Knowing exactly the breed or breeds of your pet can help you identify some potential health problems before they become a major issue and take preventative measures.

You can also accommodate your dog's requirements for exercise and diet better, too.

For example, if you know your canine's breed is more prone to dog arthritis, you can talk with your vet about joint supplements for dogs to help prolong their joint health well in advance, and you can be on the lookout for early warning signs and respond accordingly.

Knowing your dog's breed can be beneficial in many ways for both you and your canine companion.

What Breed is My Dog: Before You Go

What breed is my dog?

You can get a rough idea from easier techniques like identification charts.

A DNA test is your only option if you want to identify your dog's breed with absolute certainty.

Regardless of whether your woofer is purebred or a mix, DNA kits may quickly and inexpensively analyze his genetic makeup and reveal what breed he is.

You can also view pictures of your dog online.

Pay special attention to Fido's physical characteristics and browse for images of various dog breeds online that resemble your dog.

Remember that knowing your woofer's breed will help you understand why she's acting the way he is and how you can curb that behavior.

Also, to manage their energy and provide healthy, safe release outlets.


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