Deciphering the Origin of a Mixed-Breed Dog

Genetic testing on dogs can yield several results, experts say

By Ana Garcia
|  Tuesday, Aug 7, 2012  |  Updated 6:06 AM PDT
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Curious dog owners have long pondered the origins of their mixed-breed pups, but thanks to DNA testing, the mystery can be solved. NBC4 s Mekahlo Medina adopted Lola on Today in LA, and gets a look into her diverse past. Ana Garcia reports for the NBC4 News at Midnight on August 6, 2012.

Curious dog owners have long pondered the origins of their mixed-breed pups, but thanks to DNA testing, the mystery can be solved. NBC4 s Mekahlo Medina adopted Lola on Today in LA, and gets a look into her diverse past. Ana Garcia reports for the NBC4 News at Midnight on August 6, 2012.

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When NBC4’s Mekahlo Medina introduced the NBC4 viewers to his mixed breed puppy, Lola, one question kept coming up: What is she?

So, the Get Garcia team decided to get results – DNA results, that is.

Curious dog owners can order DNA tests kits online from companies like Canine Heritage and Wisdom Panel Insight. The kits range in price from $65 to $75.

The DNA sample is collected by swabbing the inside of the dog’s cheek for 15 to 30 seconds, depending on the kit, which usually includes pre-paid envelopes in which to mail back the samples.

While waiting for the results, Mekahlo took a guess.

“I would love it if she was a boxer mix,” he said.

Several weeks later, the results arrived. Turns out, Mekahlo was right.

Both tests said Lola was mostly boxer, but the Wisdom test picked up some American Staffordshire Terrier in Lola, while Canine Heritage detected Beagle and Pointer.

Canine geneticist Bridgett Von Holdt of UCLA said testing a mixed breed dog is “extremely complicated” because there are numerous breeds that make up that one dog.

“All the tests are correct [because] there are large groups of dog breeds that are related to each other,” Von Holdt said.

If you have a tip for the Get Garcia team, email GetGarcia@nbcuni.com or call 818-520-TIPS.

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