June 16, 2007 -- For dog owners who have mixed-breed dogs, it's the age old question that always comes up at the park: What kind of dog is that?
A new blood test administered by veterinarians is helping a lot of pet owners get answers.
"Our dogs are part of our families, so we want to know everything we can about them," said veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Jellison. "The good thing about this test is that it also enables the vet to help determine the dog's health. And it makes it a more personalized health plan. We can find out if there are concerns about medical issues that might come up that we normally wouldn't have any about."
Syna Brenton found her dog, Alaska, about a dozen years ago. Since then she's wondered about Alaska's pedigree. She visited "Good Morning America" in May and explained why she wanted to get Alaska tested.
"First, curiosity," Brenton said. "Second, I want to get this test for Alaska because, but he has such a wonderful temperament and he's getting older now, and when he does pass on, I'd like to get a new dog that's a same mix."
After the show, Brenton guessed what she thought Alaska might be -- a white Sheppard mix. Jellison administered the test, and after several weeks, the results finally arrived.
Brenton was shocked to learn Alaska was part Doberman and part Labrador.
"I never would have guessed that," she said.
Even after learning the results, Jellison said she couldn't quite see the mix in Alaska.
"When you think about a mix, this is a kind of fingerprint of Alaska," she said.
Mixes can go back hundreds of years, Jellison added.