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What Canine DNA Profiling Offers for Your Kennel

What Canine DNA Profiling Offers for Your Kennel


Wisdom Breeder is excited to offer DNA profiling as a single service or as a bundle with all new MyDogDNA and Optimal Selection Canine kits starting in June 2024! Learn what canine DNA profiling is and how to best use this valuable tool in your breeding program. 

What is DNA profiling? 

A dog’s DNA, like their nose print or a human fingerprint, is unique to that individual. DNA profiling, sometimes called DNA fingerprinting or genetic ID, allows breeders and registries to permanently identify a dog using their unique DNA pattern. Unlike microchips or tattoos, DNA profiling is a non-invasive method of identifying a dog, and also allows for confirmation of pedigree by parentage analysis. Most national kennel clubs recommend profiling in certain situations, and an increasing number are requiring profiling to reduce fraud and assure accuracy of pedigrees.  DNA profiling has been around for many decades in humans and dogs, but has recently undergone a step change in technology.  

The International Society for Animal Genetics (ISAG) is the governing body that ensures the standardization of the DNA markers used for profiling in many domesticated animal species, including dogs and cats. Until 2016, the ISAG canine and feline profiling panels used what are called microsatellite markers, or “STRs.” However, in the last 10 years, SNP marker panel testing has been widely adopted for its accuracy and efficiency for a number of purposes in companion animals genetics, supplanting STRs for most purposes, and is the basis of all Wisdom Breeder products.  

As a member of ISAG, Wisdom is proud to have participated in the development and approval of the first ever SNP-based profiling panel for dogs. This process involved more than 6000 dog DNA samples of 112 breeds, to select markers across all chromosomes that will consistently and accurately identify any tested dog, ensuring a robust testing panel for use by all breeders and registries. For extra security in especially difficult parentage cases, a secondary panel was also developed. Both the primary and secondary panel contain over 100 markers, and as seen below, the markers were intentionally chosen for their location, testing performance, and their high rate of variability between individuals. 

When is profiling helpful? 

DNA profiling is incredibly useful in a number of situations a breeder might encounter, and it could be argued that all dogs should have a DNA profile on hand. However, there are certain situations in which DNA profiling is more frequently needed or required: 

  • Parentage testing/pedigree confirmation
  • Dual sire litters 
  • Semen collected for fresh use or storage 
  • Frequently used sires (definitions vary) 
  • Imported/exported dogs 
  • Legal disputes 
  • Prior to breeding or registration 
  • Demonstrating ownership 

How it works 

A number of samples types can be submitted for DNA profiling, but the most common is a cheek swab or blood sample, the same sample types used for Optimal Selection or MyDogDNA testing. Semen and solid tissue samples can also be submitted, but require special handling and are only recommended in special situations. If DNA profiling is required by your registry, please check their sampling requirements in advance (e.g. vet verification documentation) to ensure your dog’s results will be accepted.  

Once a dog's sample is received, it is analyzed against the most advanced published panel, ISAG 2020, with Wisdom’s top-of-class genotyping accuracy rank. A unique profile consisting of a 114 marker primary panel, and a secondary 118 marker panel (232 markers total) is archived in the Wisdom database for that dog, ready to be used as needed. Each dog’s profile is so unique, they can be differentiated from any other dog in Wisdom's database of 4.5 million dogs with >99.99% accuracy!  

An official Wisdom DNA Profiling certificate and detailed DNA profile is provided in your dog’s account on completion, which can be viewed or downloaded from within the new “Reports” tab in your account: 

If parentage analysis is required, both the dam and potential sire(s) must be tested using the same panel and technology to proceed. Wisdom does not share DNA profiles with anyone but the sample owner unless requested except if the sample is submitted through a kennel club testing program and profiling and sharing permissions have been elected. 

How to use profiling in your breeding program 

DNA profiling allows a breeder to be ready for a variety of puppy buyers and circumstances, whether that’s a request for export, stud service, adoption into a pet home, or challenge to their breeding record. It forms the basis for scientifically-validated pedigrees through parentage testing. If a dual sire litter is suspected, breeders can prove beyond a doubt who the father of each puppy is, with no guessing based on temperament or traits. Because DNA profiling is unique to one dog only, with 99.99% accuracy, it’s a wonderful gift to puppy buyers should their dog ever become lost or stolen and require proof of ownership, and fellow breeders appreciate the peace of mind of a permanent, verifiable ID when purchasing new breeding stock for their program. As increasing numbers of kennel clubs and registries require DNA profiling for registration of purebred dogs, proactive profiling of dogs allows breeders to rapidly prove the accuracy of their records if needed. In short, profiling builds trust. 

What DNA profiling doesn’t do 

DNA profiling, although amazing, doesn’t tell you everything you might want to know about your dog. It does not determine breed, it doesn’t determine if your dog is purebred, and it does not determine parentage without additional analysis and the testing of sire, dam, and offspring. Official sampling, also called veterinary verification, in which an officially-recognized person samples the dog and submits the sample on behalf of the owner as a requirement for recognition by certain registries is not yet supported. Profiling also doesn’t screen for traits, disorders, or genetic diversity. If you are planning to breed your dog, please ensure you also test your dog with one of Wisdom’s breeder products for best health.