Doggie DNA Reveals Mutt's Identity

New DNA test reveals what breeds make up a mutt.

ByABC News via logo
May 20, 2007, 8:22 AM

May 20, 2007 — -- Although purebreds compete in front of judges for best in show at the Westminster dog show, it's every day mutts that compete for the affection of millions of Americans.

Now, thanks to a new doggie DNA test -- the wisdom panel from Mars Veterinary -- curious mutt owners can finally trace their dogs' roots.

"This is where high tech meets high touch. You're going to take a small blood sample from this dog and take its unique DNA and be able to determine what the breed makeup is and it's ancestry," Dr. Marty Becker told "Good Morning America Weekend Edition." "So you will know its grandparents, its parents and know exactly what kind of dogs are in this makeup of this mixed breed."

Becky and Alex Shelton wanted to learn more about the background of their family pet Sol, a stray they rescued from their neighborhood.

"When you look at him, I just want to know what he is so bad, just to know when people ask me, what kind of dog is that? I can actually tell them that's what he is," Becky said.

At a compact 45 pounds with short legs, a long body and long floppy ears, the Sheltons believe that Sol is part German Shepherd and part Jack Russell Terrier, with a personality to match.

"You can't not like him. He's so hyper, but he's got the sweet little face," Shelton said. "And he just sits with you and wants to be loved."

Becker tested Sol for the Sheltons.

Beyond simply satisfying curious dog owners, DNA testing also serves an important medical purpose.

"Once you know what the breed makeup is, there are certain diseases that are more prevalent in those breeds, so you'll be able to be on the look out for those diseases and actually take steps to prevent them," Becker said.

Once the results are back, Alex and Becky Shelton finally learn their lovable stray's origins.

Sol is a mix of a Dachshund, German Shepherd and Norfolk Terrier.