The Paw Print Genetics Blog

Help! I Bred Two Cream Dogs and Got an All Black Litter!

Help!  I Bred Two Cream Dogs and Got an All Black Litter!

The genetics of coat color inheritance for an individual dog can be confusing, and for some breeds, determining the potential colors of your pups can be even more difficult. For those breeders that are concerned or simply curious about potential coat colors of their future litters, genetic testing of prospective parents can save a lot of time, money and heartache when it comes to predicting colors. 

This color chart attempts to show how the various, known genes interact to produce certain colors. Some genes are dominant over other genes, while some alleles (specific copies of a gene) are dominant over other combinations of alleles at the same gene (or locus) or dominant over other genes in this pathway. By understanding how these genes interact, you will be able to better predict the outcomes in your breeding program.

So how can two light colored parents produce an all black litter? In some circumstances, it depends on the breeds of the parents, as some breeds, such as the poodle, have genetic modifiers that can change the color of the coat over time (most commonly a progressive graying or “fading” of the coat). These modifiers can be observed in the phenotype of the ...

Why Do My Dog’s B Locus Results Say ‘maybe black or brown’?

Why Do My Dog’s B Locus Results Say ‘maybe black or brown’?

Coat color genetics can be very confusing. There are many different genes that can contribute to the overall coat color in a dog and for each gene, there can be different mutations that can contribute to color variations.  The B locus (or gene) is responsible for many of the brown coat colors seen in dogs (also referred to as chocolate or red, depending on the breed).  When performing genetic testing of the B locus, the test result is determined by examining three specific locations within the B gene of a dog, known as the bc, bd, and bs. The overall B locus genotype for a dog is determined by the combination of genotypes (variations) present at the bc, bd, and bs loci (locations within the B gene). 

For most genes in the dog, there are two copies of that gene, one inherited from the mom and one inherited from the dad.  The B locus is no exception in that although both parents have two copies of the B locus, the mom contributes only one copy of the B locus to each of her pups, randomly selected from her two B alleles that she carries ...

Nature Versus Nurture- The Case of the All-Male Litter

Nature Versus Nurture- The Case of the All-Male Litter

The often-debated biological argument of “nature versus nurture” is at the center of the challenging considerations dog breeders must make in their effort to produce the healthiest, happiest, and most beautiful dogs they can. Breeders routinely contact the veterinarians or geneticists at Paw Print Genetics (PPG) looking for genetic testing to identify dogs that may be at risk of producing puppies with certain diseases. Given the emotional, temporal, and monetary damages associated with being forced to remove a dog from a breeding program, it is important for breeders to understand whether the disease in question appears to be inherited or whether there might be a more likely environmental explanation for what they see in their blood line. However, when no genetic testing is available for a particular condition, the answer to the question of nature versus nurture may not be quite as straight forward as it may seem at first glance. Keeping your mind open to environmental factors associated with disease might prevent your clients from having to remove their prized breeding dog from their gene pool.

An All-Male Litter?

As a veterinarian, one of the great joys of helping improve the genetic health of dog kennels are the many ...

Happy Holidays from Paw Print Genetics

Happy Holidays from Paw Print Genetics

I enjoy writing this annual holiday message to thank our customers for their trust and loyal patronage throughout the year.  It also gives me a chance to reflect on the year and once again point out that Paw Print Genetics exists because of you, our customers.  Before we started Paw Print Genetics (PPG), we performed extensive market research and identified many gaps not filled by the available laboratories. Some of the ways in which we have filled these gaps include our online case management system within our website that allows you to have all of your genetic testing records in one place, the largest menu of disease, coat color and trait tests in the industry, and our uncompromised quality, accuracy and service in all that we do.

Filling these gaps has led Paw Print Genetics to become the most trusted laboratory and the leader in canine genetic testing in just a few short years.  This continues to demonstrate to me that people are willing to try something new because they want the best for their breeding program.  Once they have tried PPG, many customers have expressed to me that they have found their “home”; a place where they ...

Canine Genetics in Practice- Congenital and Early-onset Inherited Diseases

Canine Genetics in Practice- Congenital and Early-onset Inherited Diseases

Some of the most emotionally challenging canine cases seen in the veterinary hospital are those involving serious illnesses of newborns or young puppies. Owners’ joyous expectations of a long, healthy relationship with their new puppy makes a disease which decreases that puppy’s quality of life or results in early euthanasia, all the more heartbreaking. Though infectious diseases like parvovirus are often of particular concern in young pups, some puppies ending up on the exam room table show signs of one of a wide array of inherited diseases caused by a known genetic mutation. Unfortunately, limitations in available therapies for many inherited diseases often lead to frustrating and emotional outcomes for all the parties involved; veterinarians and veterinary staff included. Thereby, making prevention of inherited disease through the use genetic testing, an essential part of healthy dog breeding.

Historically, methods to prevent inherited diseases have been limited to selective breeding practices. However, an inability to identify asymptomatic carriers of recessively inherited diseases or dogs in the preclinical phase of late-onset inherited diseases, have traditionally made great reductions in disease incidence difficult to obtain through selective breeding alone. Genetic testing is now playing an important role in identifying these dogs such that ...

Paw Print Genetics Launches Twelve New, Highly Desired Disease Tests

Paw Print Genetics Launches Twelve New, Highly Desired Disease Tests
Thank you to the many PPG customers who offered photos for this important announcement. The photos in the first two rows were selected from a large number of customers who provided photos for this article.

Paw Print Genetics is excited to announce that it has launched 12 new, very sought-after disease tests.  These tests compliment the breed-specific assays that PPG already offers, and cements our dedication to providing the largest menu of genetic tests for dogs. The following tests can be ordered as individual tests or may be part of one of our breed-specific panels that should be considered for any breeding dog.

Degenerative Myelopathy in the Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog (BMD) has been identified as breed that can inherited degenerative myelopathy (DM). In this particular breed, two different mutations in the SOD1 gene have been identified. Degenerative myelopathy SOD1B is caused by a mutation of the SOD1 gene currently identified only in the Bernese mountain dog that is a different mutation from the common SOD1 mutation causing DM in a large number of breeds.  Bernese mountain dogs are known to develop a more slowly progressive form of degenerative myelopathy associated with the SOD1B mutation.  Both types of DM affect the white matter tissue of the spinal cord and is considered the canine equivalent to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) found in humans. Affected dogs usually present around 8-9 ...

Canine Safety - Are you prepared for a disaster?

Canine Safety - Are you prepared for a disaster?

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath, it is hard not to think about how we can help those affected by the floods. Another common thought is how we would personally prepare to keep our families and pets safe. In the past Paw Print Genetics has attended the Washington State Search and Rescue Conference in Ellensburg, Wash. The conference provides educational classes for civilian search and rescue personnel, including canine teams. Most counties have a search and rescue team ready to accept new trained members. Classes and teams can be found online by performing a google search for “Search and Rescue (SAR) near me”.

While several canine-related classes were offered at the conference we attended in 2013, including tracking, testing and meteorology, a valuable class I would like to share was the first-aid class offered by Dr. Michael Fuller, a 30-plus-year veterinarian at the local Ellensburg Animal Hospital. He covered a lot of material in the hour-and-a-half session, everything from must-have items in a first aid kit to broken bones. And while the class was devoted to SAR teams that are often far removed from help, the suggestions on what to pack make an excellent quick, easy-to-carry kit for travelers ...

Cheek Swabs Serve a Very Important Purpose

Cheek Swabs Serve a Very Important Purpose

Canine genetic testing is somewhat of a mystery for non-scientists who are just starting to learn more about the ins and outs of the genetic world. I was recently given the opportunity to tour Paw Print Genetics’ state of the art laboratory and was amazed at what is possible to achieve with the sample after the simple act of swabbing a dog’s cheek.

During the tour, it dawned on me that one of the most important parts of the process of genetic testing is the moment when the cheek cells are being collected. Although the process itself is not complicated, it is still important to make sure to collect as many cells as possible and avoid collecting foreign matter that might interfere with the testing or confound the results. The cells that are being collected are dead skin cells, comparable to how we shed skin from our arms. It is a painless process for the dog but  might make them a little uncomfortable so having a friend help  collect the cells would be a good idea.

Optimal collection of cells  is achieved when the inner cheek surface is brushed for a slow count of 30 using the cyto-brushes provided by ...

Canine Genetics In Practice- A Veterinarian’s Role in Preventing Adult-onset Inherited Disease

Canine Genetics In Practice- A Veterinarian’s Role in Preventing Adult-onset Inherited Disease

Veterinarians examine, treat, and diagnose dogs with inherited diseases daily. Though treatments to fix some inherited disorders such as cryptorchidism and umbilical hernias are relatively safe and effective, rarely are the inherited disorders seen in practice remedied with a simple, relatively low-cost solution. In fact, in many cases of inherited disease, treatment options are extremely limited or non-existent. Therefore, an option to prevent these diseases before they occur would be preferable in most circumstances. Genetic disease testing made possible by the discovery of the causal mutations has become the best medicine to combat many inherited conditions.

Genetic testing of dams and sires has become commonplace in many dog breeds as breeders have recognized the power of identifying those dogs at risk of producing puppies with inherited diseases. Unfortunately, however, some breeders have been slow to adopt the routine use of genetic testing as they continue to rely on traditional selective breeding techniques. Limited by the inability to identify unaffected carriers of disease, selective breeding has historically proven relatively ineffective in the pursuit of large reductions in disease incidence.

Adult and late-onset inherited diseases pose an extra challenge in selective breeding because dogs become sexually mature before signs of the disease ...

Don’t be a Victim of Fraud – Advice from the CEO of Paw Print Genetics

Don’t be a Victim of Fraud – Advice from the CEO of Paw Print Genetics

It amazes me that some people would rather risk getting caught than do the right thing. In just the first six months of 2017, we have had three instances of fraud in which a breeder has supplied the puppy buyer with fraudulent documents bearing the Paw Print Genetics (PPG) logo.  In each case, the fraudulent documents were concocted in different ways but when presented to us, we could immediately see that they were not authentic.

Our team has spent considerable time in trying to address the issue of fraud and how to protect PPG. But more important to us is, how do our customers or future customers protect themselves? What should you ask for when buying a pup or considering breeding with another’s dog? How can you tell if the documents given to you are legitimate?

I am not going to show you how these documents were altered, as we do not want to give unethical people ideas about how to create such documents. Rather, it is important that you follow these simple rules when seeking information on a dog or pup that you may purchase or breed.

  1. Only accept complete, original documents. Do not accept written statements, summaries ...