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DNA Testing

What exactly is a mutt? Well, that’s a question that often gets asked at ARK. Let’s get the negative
connotation out of the way first. Unfortunately, in the past, people used to associate the word mutt as
something negative. After all, the original meaning of the word ‘mutt’ meant an inferior dog.

Fortunately in this day and age, the term “mutt” can correctly be described as a dog that is mixed with
various recognized dog breeds- so much so, that it’s hard to even know what kind of mix the dog is! People are now starting to see the beauty and intelligence in Mutts (or Zasshu as they are known in Japanese).
What does this mean? This means that a mutt has all the wonderful physical, mental, habitual
characteristics of various breeds...all rolled into one adorable pup!

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Zasshu like me are one of a kind!

Yes, as pet owners, we cannot help but be curious about the genetic backgrounds of our dogs. We often
find ourselves asking questions such as “My dog loves the water...could he be part Spaniel?” or “My little
dog enjoys digging so much so, I wonder if she has terrier blood in her?” Perhaps it is more physical. Does your dog has a curved tail like a pug? Or pointy ears like a Shepard? Maybe it has a black tongue like a
Chow! We can’t help but wonder.

This is where DNA testing can come in handy!

Already in many animal shelters throughout the west, DNA tests are often used to determine a dog’s breed history. By shedding light to their background and history, potential adopters can learn in more detail about these shelter dogs and thus boost adoption rates. Shelters overseas have noticed an influx of adoptions
thanks to the use of these tests, after all DNA tests can explain the dog’s:

- Unique physical features (such as how big they will become when fully grown)
- Behavior patterns (Are they the herding type and perhaps need more exercise? Or the type that can benefit from more mental stimulation?)
- Illnesses they may be prone to (such as a tendency to hip dysplasia in larger dogs, breathing difficulties in flat-nosed dogs).
- Wellness and Training Needs. Are they a match for you and your family? (Are they the athletic type? Will
they do well in an apartment, are they independent, good with kids, so on). Of course, each dog is different, however knowing the background of a dog can determine what type of lifestyle will suit that dog.

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Learning about the genetic makeup of Man's best friend has many benefits

Recently, a kind individual in the UK generously donated some Wisdom Panel 2.0 DNA kits to us at ARK to
try to learn a bit more about our temporary residents. We got straight to work! The Wisdom Panel Swab
Tests are harmless to the dogs. A simple mouth swab is all that is required. The best part? It’s EASY! All you must do is, take two mouth swabs and mail them to the lab for testing, and in just two or three weeks, the
results are emailed to you. These kits can detect a total of 185 plus recognized breeds and what is great is a family tree is also included. How amazing is that?

First up we have the lovely Thumbelina
DNA test
Thumbelina is ready for action!

DRUMROLL….
It appears Thumbelina is a mix of Chinese Shar-Pei, Shiba Inu, Akita, and American Eskimo Dog!

thumbelina.jpg
Please click the photo!

thumbelina1.jpg
Well, it does explain her love of ice!

The results of DNA tests may startle you. For instance, a dog may clearly NOT show any resemblance to a
Yorkshire Terrier, yet the results show it is a Yorkie. What does this mean? It could be that the genetic
markings of the dog are so like that of a Yorkie, that the closest breed that the DNA test picks up is in fact a Yorkie. In Thumbelina’s case, she clearly has similar features to that of a Shiba, but where are those
famous Shar Pei wrinkles? It could be that Thumbelina carries a Shar Pei personality trait instead.

Overall, our experience with DNA testing has been a very positive, interesting, and enlightening experience. As much as we know and care for our temporary residents, we now feel we know them just that little bit
better and can tailor a wellness plan to meet their various needs.

At the end of the day, we believe each and every dog is special, regardless of breed or genetics. Their
character, their quirks, their eagerness to please, their loyalty and their devotion, is what makes a dog a
man’s best friend.

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Please have a look at the following DNA results for
Wenceslas
Valerie
Carole

DNA test_Wen
Are you ready to find out your roots, Wen…?

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