I love dogs, especially chihuahuas. Despite what my brother-in-law claims (that chihuahuas are rats rather than dogs), I find this toy breed adorable, loving, and precious. My oldest chihuahua, a female, is ten years old and weighs in at three pounds. My youngest, named Teddy Bear, is three years of age and tips the scales at twelve pounds. Yes, twelve pounds! Though he was sold to me as a pure-bred dog, doubts regarding his lineage quickly surfaced when he grew beyond the standard for his alleged breed. Behavioral differences between my little girl chihuahua and my very big boy further piqued my curiosity. Was Teddy purely chihuahua, or was he a mixed breed? For a clearer picture of Teddy's health, I needed to determine whether or not Teddy was a canine candidate for The Biggest Loser.
Doggy DNA testing seemed to be a good, albeit pricey, solution; however, I had my doubts about its reliability (I'm a native New Yorker; we're a doubting lot). But I bit the expensive bullet, did my due diligence, and chose the most popular and reportedly most accurate identification test on the market.
When I received my test kit (purchased on Amazon.com for around $60.00), I followed the instructions and registered my kit on-line. My “New Yorker suspicions” were roused once again when the testing website suggested I input my pet's registration number from any pedigree organization he might be registered with and also upload a photo. The request seemed a little odd to me, akin to telling a detective where to find the answers before he starts the search. Though Teddy is registered and has one of those fancy pedigrees, I did not give up his information nor his photo. I paid for the agency to tell me what I wanted to know, not the other way around.
The actual testing was simple. I swabbed the inside of Teddy's cheek with a giant q-tip thingie, put the swab in the postage paid envelope provided and sent it off, expecting results in two weeks. The results arrived in my email a few days earlier than anticipated.
Drum roll please! Teddy B. Chihuahua is...not a pure-bred chihuahua.
Apparently, one of Teddy's parents descended from a purely chihuahua line; the other parent was a mixed breed (though the exact mix was disappointingly unidentified) and descended from a line of chihuahua/mixed breed which included a Bouvier des Flandres, a large cattle herding dog. Interesting stuff, but I see no physical resemblance to a Bouvier des Flandres in Teddy. He's never seen cattle, and I doubt he would chase one if he did.
Am I happy with the doggy DNA results? Yes and no. I am pleased to prove my suspicion that Teddy is a mixed breed; he does not need a diet. I am not happy the identification test could not determine the breeds that comprised his mixed breed parent, and definitely not tickled pink to know Teddy was sold to me as a pure-bred when he is not.
Do I recommend doggy DNA testing? Not really. While I regard the test as necessary to reveal a true picture of Teddy's health, doggy DNA testing is not as telling as I had hoped. If you don't have a definite reason to pursue doggy DNA, save your money.