The Paw Print Genetics Blog

The Genetics of Hairlessness

The Genetics of Hairlessness
A hairless Chinese Crested next to a Powder puff

Aficionados of the hairless breeds are motivated to perpetuate and conserve these very historical and special dogs. The Xoloitzcuintles (“show-low-itz-QUEENT-ly.” or just Xolo “SHOW-low”) and the Chinese Crested dog are the more common hairless dogs but are no means the only hairless breeds. Some controversy surrounds the hairless breeds due to the nature of the hairless gene variant and its inheritance from one generation to the next. Looking at some basic genetics and how they apply to the inheritance of the mutation responsible for hairlessness will benefit the breeder trying to determine the best pairing for these unique dogs.


All genes are inherited from the parents. Half of the genetic material, or alleles, come from the mother, the other set of alleles come from the father. Two alleles, one from the dam and one from the sire, make up the genotype. The genotype will then determine the phenotype, or what trait or condition we observe in the dog. Further, we define genes as either being dominant or recessive. A dominant gene requires only one allele, passed from one parent, to express its phenotype. Whereas, a recessive gene requires two alleles, one passed from each parent, for its phenotype to ...

Paw Print Genetics Launches 46 New Tests for Dogs

Paw Print Genetics Launches 46 New Tests for Dogs

Paw Print Genetics has launched 44 new inherited disease tests and two new trait tests for various breeds.  With nearly 300 different tests for more than 350 breeds of dog, Paw Print Genetics (PPG) continues to be the leader in providing genetic tests for dogs.  Here are some of the new tests being offered.  You can find these new tests for your breed under the category “Additional Disease Tests” on your breed-specific page on our website.

New Trait Tests

PPG has launched Saddle Tan (As locus) and Intensity (I locus) as part of their large number of coat colors and traits offered for various breeds.  Both of these genetic loci modify a dog’s coat color based on their genotypes at other coat color genes. For Saddle Tan, the variation in the RALY gene will modify a dog’s coat presentation only if the dog also has tan points (kyky at the K locus and at/at or at/a at the A locus).  Sometimes called creeping tan, a dog with one or two copies of the As variant and tan points may show a ‘shrinking’ dark saddle across ...

A Tribute to Trixie the Wiener Dog

A Tribute to Trixie the Wiener Dog

Today we mourn the loss of one of the founding members of Paw Print Genetics, Trixie the Wiener Dog. Trixie died peacefully on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.  She was a beloved member of our family, our children’s first dog, and made important contributions to Paw Print Genetics (PPG).

Along with being the official ‘spokesdog’ for PPG and adorning our brochures, Trixie provided the samples that we used to do market research of the other companies in the canine genetic testing space prior to launching PPG.  After identifying the gaps in the industry that we thought we could fill by starting PPG, Trixie supplied the first samples used to test our DNA extraction and start the development of our first genetic disease tests.  Trixie’s actual paw print is used in our logo and has become a symbol of PPG, with one of our blog categories even named Trixie’s Paw Prints.

It was fitting that Trixie was a founding member of PPG because she didn’t know she was a dog. Preferring to be with humans rather than our other dogs, Trixie could be found sleeping in my home office while I worked or laying on the couch with us ...

Picking the Right Genetic Test for Canine Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Picking the Right Genetic Test for Canine Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Canine progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a group of inherited eye diseases which are among the most common causes of inherited blindness in domestic dogs. Extensive study and characterization of the various PRAs have led to the discovery of well over a dozen different genetic mutations in many different genes which can now be identified to help prevent, predict, or diagnose PRA in many breeds. However, complicated PRA naming schemes and the breed-specific nature of the PRA tests can make it challenging for dog breeders or veterinarians to select the correct test for the dog in front of them.  

Multiple Genes, Similar Clinical Findings

The known underlying mutations associated with the various forms of PRA are found in a wide variety of different genes. Thus, highlighting the complexity of the biological pathways involved in the development and ongoing maintenance of the eyes. PRAs are marked by the abnormal development and/or the gradual degeneration of rod and cone photoreceptor cells of the retina. Each type of PRA may display variation in the age of onset, speed of disease progression, and the relative rates at which each of the two photoreceptor types are destroyed. However, when it comes to clinical ...

Happy, Happy New Year from Paw Print Genetics

Happy, Happy New Year from Paw Print Genetics

If you are like me, 2021 is a welcomed sight. As you all experienced, 2020 was full of challenges related to COVID-19. At Paw Print Genetics, some of us have been working from home since March and really miss being able to get together with our colleagues. The laboratory needed to go to different shifts to allow for social distancing, which really put a strain on our turn-around times. We have experienced delays in getting laboratory reagents that allow us to do our testing, as they are being used by other laboratories for COVID testing, and the US Postal Service has been struggling even before the holidays to deliver our kits and your samples in a timely manner.

Even with these challenges, I have kept track of what I like to call the COVID silver linings. First, in Washington State, veterinary services were deemed essential business so although many restaurants and gyms were forced to close, Paw Print Genetics (PPG) remained open. This meant that we were able to serve our customers and keep our staff employed. Even with social distancing and shift work, we were able to meet our published turnaround times for more than 90% of cases! In ...

Is a Puppy the Right Holiday Gift?

Is a Puppy the Right Holiday Gift?

Happy Holidays!

As we enter this season of giving, it is best to keep in mind the level of commitment you and others have for specific gifts, such as a new puppy. While getting a puppy on Christmas may be fun and can bring people joy, once the holiday magic is gone, the responsibility may be too much for some people. Here are a few things to keep in mind while deciding if a puppy is the right gift choice for this holiday season.

Cost of Caring for a Dog

While gifting a dog to someone eliminates the initial cost, there are still many other costs that the new owner must think about. Food, vet appointments, toys, and other essential items start to add up. If you are gifting this pup to your family or kids, please note that the cost of a dog is around the cost of another child for 10-15 years. If you are unsure of the financial situation of the person you are gifting to, it is probably a good idea not to gift them something that requires a financial commitment.

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Another question to ask yourself is, “Does the person I’m gifting this puppy to ...

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Early Onset Risk Modifier

Pembroke Welsh Corgi  Early Onset Risk Modifier

Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a chronic, progressive neurologic condition that typically develops in the latter third of a dog’s life. DM starts in the central portion of the spinal cord then gradually progresses to involve all spinal cord segments. 1 Although DM is unique to the dog, it is a natural-occurring model of human amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.3,4 In dogs, the common form of DM results from a DNA change (mutation) in the SOD1 gene. This is a recessive condition, meaning that dogs with two copies of the mutation are at risk for developing DM. For most affected dogs this condition develops late in life, however a change in the DNA at a different gene than the SOD1 gene has been identified in some dogs that modifies the risk for DM in the Pembroke Welsh corgi. In dogs that have two copies of the at-risk DM mutation and have one or two copies of a mutation found in the SP110 gene, will reduce the age of onset for DM.   

Typical DM presents with dysfunctional and abnormal movements of the pelvic limbs around 8 years of age or later. Dogs may ...

At Your Service-ALWAYS!

At Your Service-ALWAYS!

Have you ever wondered why we chose AskUs@pawprintgenetics.com to be our contact email address? In addition to offering the highest accuracy in the industry, at Paw Print Genetics, customer service is At Your Service! We want you to ask questions prior to ordering or after receiving your results because we know that genetic testing can sometimes be confusing.

We consider our customers to be part of our family and treat them as such. When a customer is in need of help when placing an order or trying to understand their results, our expert staff is here, ready to help. You can always count on us to respond to your emails or answer your phone calls, even on weekends and holidays! That is because we understand that your dog's results are important to you, and you are important to us. There is no such thing as too small of a question.

Our one-of-a-kind client services staff is here to help by answering your email or phone call, helping to understand our ordering process, or even placing your order.  Our team members, along with our expert geneticists and veterinarians, are pleased to help you. No excuses, no complaints, just ...

Paw Print Genetics Launches New Trait Tests

Paw Print Genetics Launches New Trait Tests

Paw Print Genetics is excited to announce that it has launched six new trait tests for coat color (Cocoa, ba allele of the B Locus, d2 allele of D Locus), coat length (Lh2, Lh4) and ‘weak’ furnishings (Fw allele).  These tests compliment the other coat color and trait tests that PPG already offers and shows our dedication to providing the largest menu of genetic tests for dogs. The following tests can be ordered as individual tests or are now incorporated into the previously offered test.  It is important to order only those tests that are applicable for your breed, so be sure to notice the breeds that can have this mutation, located in the parentheses in the name of the test.  If you are unsure about ordering, please contact us as we are always happy to help you understand the usefulness of the tests that we offer.

Coat Length and Cocoa Coat Color for French Bulldogs

Prior to the discovery of the Cocoa mutation, many French Bulldogs had an untestable form of brown. Thanks to an international group of researchers, the DNA change (variant) responsible for the Cocoa coat color was identified. The ...

Tissue Management Prior to Genetic Testing

Tissue Management Prior to Genetic Testing

Nothing brightens the schedule like seeing an 11:20am slot given to Mrs. Doe who is bringing in a three-day old litter for assessment, tails and dewclaws.  The whole clinic reminds you all morning that puppies are coming in.  Then the magic hour arrives and in comes Mrs. Doe with a laundry basket covered in a towel that is making a surprising level of grunts and squeals.  Wow! Thirteen little fuzzballs in varied states of activity from litter-surfing to dreamless slumber that makes you a little jealous.  You go through the exam; each one is fully formed with no gross congenital defects.  While prepping your tools for dewclaw removal and tail docking, Mrs. Doe asks that you save the remnants so she can have the litter tested with Paw Print Genetics for known disease-causing mutations in this breed.  Hmmm, what does this entail?

Typically, we recommend to clients who choose to submit cheek swabs to wait until they begin weening the pups off mom. This allows them to separate the puppies from their mother to reduce possible contamination by the mother’s milk that may remain in the puppies’ mouths.  Given that testing takes ...