Saturday, May 23, 2009

Brando and Zephyr get their DNA analyzed


We've been selling DNA tests as a fundraiser for The Sula Foundation, so of course I had to break down and test my Brando. For years I have called him a pit bull/Dane mix, but I really have no idea, and I am pretty sure that an actual pit bull/Dane would be somewhat different than my mysterious Brando. The test (www.canineheritage.com) uses a swab inside the mouth and tests 100 breeds. Brando was very patient has I swabbed his cheek, but he had that look on his face that says, "I have no idea why you are doing this, but it must be important."

The test results can be tricky. If the dog is truly a mutt, it is possible that there is no primary or even secondary breed. Also, they don't release any results for "American Pit Bull Terrier" because they say the term is applied to too many different types of dog and also because they don't want the test used against a dog in court. (They do test for Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and some other related dogs.) I also uploaded a photo of Brando for them to print on his certificate. I had seem some skepticism online regarding the submission of photos. Did they look at the photos and guess the breed, rather than actually testing the DNA? So I swabbed Zephyr as well, and submitted the sample without a photo. Between the two of them, Zephyr was the dog with a more obvious ancestry, so she made a great blind test.

The results:

Brando has not had a pure breed in his family for at least three generations, but there were traces of Mastiff, Bullmastiff and English Coonhound.

Zephyr has no primary breed, but has Rottweiler as a secondary breed, with some German Shepherd and German Shorthaired Pointer.

We still have a few DNA kits available at $99.95--a discount from the retail price of $120. If you are interested, email sulafoundation@gmail.com