So you’ve just adopted a dog and you love the way he/she looks. You feel like you’ve finally found your new best friend but you’re not sure if your furry companion is a Chihuahua mixed with a terrier or a full blown Corgi. Deep down you really have no idea where your dog comes from. Mix dogs can be very confusing. We all just want to know more about our beloved pets. Not only because we adore our four legged friends, but it’s important as a dog parent to figure out our dog’s ancestry in order to provide them with proper medical attention and determine their specific health issues. They are family after all.
Read also: “10 Dog Breeds That Need The Least Exercise“
If you found your dog from a breeder, you may not have this issue. Lucky you! If you found your dog online or in a puppy store, stop doing that! You are most likely purchasing directly from a puppy mill. Those dogs are typically treated horrifically and should not be supported in any way. Okay, now that you know a little more about puppy mills and dog adoptions, let me explain how to determine your dog’s breed. Here we go!
- Compare Breed Pictures
This is definitely the most obvious thing to do but comparing your dog next to a printed out photo really helps. You may notice the small characteristics and unique markings only specific to your dog and their potential dog breed. A great source for finding top of the line quality photos of dogs is the American Kennel Club website. They have excellent descriptions, provide a detailed history of the dog breed and like I said, excellent and easy to find photos. The American Kennel Club will also help you identify rare dog breeds and distinct features in your dog.
- Talk to Your Vet
Vets are a wonderful resource because they see many dog breeds daily. In fact, vets are visited by dozens of different dog breeds almost every day. They know a lot and you can learn a lot from them. Ask your vet for their educated guess or a technical opinion and your answers might be solved.
- Call your Local Animal Shelter
There are plenty of dog experts at animal shelters. One of their most important jobs is to provide detailed descriptions of each new dog that enters the facility. They might not always know, but they will definitely have some idea. Shelters will also give you tips and tricks about particular dog breeds. They are basically a dog breed book in human form and are usually very nice humans. Also, animal shelters are a great place to visit. They might even let you walk one of the dogs! The dogs would appreciate it.
- Send in a DNA Sample
Last but certainly not least; you can always submit a DNA sample. This will solve a lot of unanswered questions but unfortunately they cost money. This is the most accurate way to determine your dog’s genetics and the mystery will finally be solved!
DNA test kits are available from several laboratories, including the following websites: