Largest ever dog DNA study infographic


Genetic testing for dogs can help identify diseases and enable preventive care

Results from the largest ever study of its kind show that genetic testing can predict if a dog is at risk for developing certain diseases

Results from the largest ever study of its kind show that genetic testing can predict if a dog is at risk for developing certain diseases. The study “Frequency and distribution of 152 genetic disease variants in over 100,000 mixed breed and purebred dogs”, published in PLOS Genetics, was conducted by Wisdom Health and Genoscoper Laboratories. This research is the first to show the genetic diseases mixed breed dogs are most likely to develop.

The study also shows that fewer mixed breed dogs than purebreds are affected by the most common disease-causing mutations tested in the study. Knowing a dog’s disease-related genetic make-up could enable owners, breeders, and veterinarians to make more informed decisions about a dog’s health. The research was based on WISDOM PANEL™ Health genetic testing technology.  

“There has been a long-standing perception that mixed breed dogs are less disease-prone than purebred dogs. This DNA-testing-based evidence shows that while mixed breed dogs are in fact less likely than purebreds to develop the recessive disorders evaluated in the study, they may still be carriers. Importantly it’s now clear that all dogs can benefit from genetic testing,” said Cindy Cole DVM, PhD, DACVCP, General Manager at Wisdom Health. “It’s exciting that new diagnostic tools are now available to veterinarians, breeders and owners alike to enable them to make more informed decisions about overall care for dogs.” 

Testing is key to understanding if a dog will be at risk of developing a genetic disease. Based on the 152 diseases tested:  

  • Approximately 2/100 mixed breed dogs are at risk of becoming affected and 40 out of 100 are carriers for at least one of the diseases.  
  • Approximately 5/100 purebred dogs are at risk of becoming affected and 28 out of 100 are carriers for at least one of the diseases.  

The research also showed that through healthy breeding practices, which often include genetic testing, some diseases appear to have been eradicated from breed pools. With the proactive management of inherited disorders through the use of DNA testing and sustainable breeding decisions, breeders and veterinarians can work to decrease the incidence of genetic diseases in dogs. For example, X-linked Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (XSCID) a mutation originally found in Basset Hounds, appears to have been eradicated. 

“For owners, understanding for which genetic diseases their dog is at risk can help them and their veterinarians design a personalized care and wellness program for  their dog,” said Jonas Donner, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at Genoscoper. “More broadly, for veterinarians to understand which disorders are common across the overall population is extremely valuable information for the future of proactive medical care.  Using genetic tools to further disease monitoring and eradication in different populations, can, over time have a positive effect on both purebred and mixed breed dogs.” 

About the Study 

  • The study examined the DNA of more than 100,000 dogs, including 18,000 purebreds representing 330 breeds, types and varieties and 83,000 mixed breed dogs, for the presence of 152 genetic disease mutations. 

Some of the genetic disease mutations tested include: 

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy – multiple forms 

  • Hyperuricosuria 

  • Collie Eye Anomaly 

  • Multidrug sensitivity (MDR1) 

  • von Willebrand’s Disease – multiple forms 

The study showed that testing is important to help an owner know if their dog  is at risk for one of the genetic diseases tested, such as Exercise-induced Collapse (a neuromuscular disorder) and to consult with their veterinarian about a preventative care plan. 

The three body systems most commonly affected across both the pure and mixed breed dog populations in the study were: 

  • Vision 

  • Nervous  

  • Circulatory  

The study findings underscore the importance of using tools such as the WISDOM PANEL™ Health canine DNA test, in conjunction with ongoing veterinary care. 

Dog owners looking to take this proactive step in preventative care can test their pets with the new WISDOM PANEL Health canine DNA test. Owners simply swab their dog’s cheek at home, activate their kit online and receive their results two to three weeks from the time their sample reaches the lab. It’s recommended that owners share these results with their veterinarian and discuss future care.

Genetic screening for disease and breed detection is easy, inexpensive and readily available as the WISDOM PANEL Health canine DNA test includes breed identification for 250+ breeds, types and varieties and detection of more than 150 disease-causing mutations.