Friday, 3 October 2014

DNA testing Foreign Dogs

 Over the past few years there have been an increasing number of street dogs being brought to the UK for rehoming.  Just in the past year I have noticed a sharp increase of street dogs, particularly from Romania, coming to the UK and owners are asking me for DNA tests.  
 The Blackdog DNA database of known dog breeds is intended only to test dogs from the UK, US, Australia, Canada and near Europe such as Eire, France and Germany.  Known pedigree breeds make up this database.  A dog rehomed from the streets in Romania is extremely unlikely to have any UK pedigree dogs in its ancestry!  Do you expect a Cardigan Welsh Corgi to be roaming the streets in Romania?  or perhaps a Pedigree Basenji? a prizewinning German Spitz?? or a Champion Poodle?  It just doesn't work, and it is not realistic to expect to find any known UK breeds in there.
Your dog might have the appearance of a dog breed you recognize from the UK Pedigree known dogs, but that is where it ends.  Street dogs have been roaming and breeding uncontrolled for as long as humans have been civilized.  Their appearance is determined by genes which control things like ear length, nose length, colour, coat, leg length.  It is just coincidence when these genes come together in a random way and the dog accidentally resembles a pedigree breed we might recognize.  In view of the sharp increase of foreign street dogs coming to the UK I have now changed the wording on my website and litereature to warn against DNA testing these dogs.  The results will reflect ancient breeds or a group of breeds which are linked historically. This will result in a seemingly unlikely result, but reflects the true breed ancestry.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Something Smelly!

Have you noticed how in cold weather your dog takes much more time to sniff everything?  It can be annoying if you are in a hurry to get along but your dog needs to take time to read all the local information.   The reason your dog takes so long in Winter is because the scents do not smell as strong when the weather is cold.  During warm or hot weather the molecules in the object of the sniff (a pee from another dog for instance) will be moving and going around at high speed. These items of scent are called 'volatiles'.  Think of your hot cup of tea or coffee for instance.  The heat creates volatile substances that rise at high speed into the air... you know it as steam.   But in cold weather the volatile scents are hardly moving at all, and it is these volatile scents that your dog is sniffing for.  So in cold weather there is hardly any scent coming off the object that he or she is sniffing - hence, they need to give it a jolly good, long, hard sniff to find out what it is.  Give them more time please! don't just pull them away.