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Breeding dogs is a complex task, and many people may not realize the extent of it. While a dog’s genetics may align with a specific breed, widely accepted breed definitions were established before the advent of DNA analysis. This means that genetic testing results may sometimes contradict what pet owners assume about their dog’s breed.

Recent studies have shown that DNA analysis can reveal far more distinct breeds than previously thought. In one study conducted on 459 shelter dogs in Arizona and California, DNA analysis revealed 125 distinct breeds, with only five percent being purebred. Even more surprising was that neither the scientists nor experienced shelter workers were able to accurately identify mixed-breed dogs, which made up the majority of the dogs in the study.

Mixed-breeds can be particularly challenging when it comes to DNA testing because test results rely on identifiable breed genetic information. Consumers should research DNA testing companies thoroughly before submitting a sample, as accuracy can vary depending on the diversity of the company’s genetic panel. Even if you do receive information about your dog’s breed, it may not significantly impact their behavior. A recent study found that behavior is more closely linked to individual dogs rather than their breed, emphasizing that breed is not always a reliable predictor of behavior.

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