Canine Genetic Analysis Test FAQ

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The Canine Genetic Analysis™ Test can provide important information that assists our veterinarians in assessing your dog’s specific needs. We’ve answered some of the most common questions we hear related to this important test.

What is the Canine Genetic Analysis test?

  • The Canine Genetic Analysis™ (CGA) is a DNA test that uses the markers from your dog’s own, unique genetic signature to determine the breeds in its make-up as well as screen for diseases and genetic mutations.

How comprehensive is the test?

  • The test covers over 250 breeds, varieties and types, and screens for more than 140 genetic disease mutation tests including the MDR1 genetic mutation test.* In addition, the test provides a predicted weight profile, which can be especially helpful for puppies. CGA is available to Banfield clients and may provide valuable information for you to work with your veterinarian and proactively plan for the healthcare needs of your dog.

How is the Canine Genetic Analysis test administered?

  • The test is administered through a simple blood draw that is sent to the lab where the analysis is performed and a personalized report is created.

What is included in the report?

  • Your report will contain your dog’s ancestry back to the great-grandparent level, helpful information about the breeds found in its background, disease and mutation screening results, and actionable recommendations for your dog’s ongoing preventive care. View a sample report.

How can this help me and my veterinarian care for my pet?

  • For mixed-breed dog owners, knowing the breeds in their dog may help with nutrition and behavior planning/modification as well as breed-specific healthcare concerns. Likewise for both mixed-breed and purebred dog owners, the CGA tests for more than 140 genetic disease mutations and the MDR1 genetic mutation, and can provide valuable information to proactively plan for the dog’s health needs.

I can tell my dog’s breed(s) by looking at him. Why do I need this test?

  • Visual breed identification is only accurate about 25 percent of the time, even by professionals. Many parts of the canine genome are likely to be unobservable or hidden with regard to trait determination. Simply put, a mixed-breed dog could be a mix of three or four breeds but have few traits evident from one or more of these breeds. We often see this effect in people too, where a brown-eyed mother can have a blue-eyed child or where two people who both have brown hair have a child with red hair. By using the CGA to determine your mixed-breed dog’s ancestry, your veterinarian will have access to valuable, accurate information that can be used to assess your dog’s specific health needs.

How accurate are the results?

  • To ensure that the CGA tests are as accurate as possible, we have focused our research on several important factors including:
    • Genetic markers: These are the places of variation in a dog's DNA. By studying both the similarities and differences in these markers among different breeds, we are able to determine characteristic signatures. CGA uses over 1,800 markers for analysis.
    • Numbers and types of dogs: Our database is used to compare your dog's DNA against a database of over 12,000 purebred dogs. Additionally, the more breeds, the better the test. CGA covers over 250 breeds, varieties and types.
    • Validation testing for accuracy: This includes repeated testing of a dog’s sample and review by independent third-party specialists, geneticists and leading authorities on canine genetics. All of the CGA tests are run in an USDA-accredited laboratory to ensure proper quality control.

All breed determinations are made by our proprietary computer algorithm. With each tested dog’s DNA, more than seven million calculations and comparisons are made to our purebred database using a complex statistical algorithm. This algorithm scans the genetic markers collected and looks for matches to breed signatures. It provides a marker-by-marker certainty score for each breed match. The computer then selects the single best combination of breeds and relative amounts of breeds detected that best match the tested DNA sample from this comparison with our extensive database of purebred signatures.

Can CGA detect breeds from outside the United States?

The CGA test has been developed using genetic marker data from American Kennel Club (AKC) breeds and some non-AKC breeds in the U.S., as well as, purebred dogs from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany. Through the course of our test development, we have observed that certain breeds sometimes have quite different genetic breed signatures in different geographical regions, particularly with comparison to the same breed in Europe or Australia. If your dog was imported from a country other than Canada, the UK, Australia, Germany, or mainland U.S., or you suspect that your dog’s ancestors are from outside these countries, his or her breed ancestry may not be well represented in our database.

If you have questions about the CGA test and how it can benefit your dog’s health care plan, talk with your local Banfield veterinarian.