The AKC DNA Program has launched the AKC Canine Genetic Counseling Center as a source of reliable information to help make smart breeding decisions. The canine genetic testing space is constantly evolving and can be difficult to navigate. New tests are developed frequently, and technology is updating rapidly. Breeders should focus on DNA tests that reflect diseases found in the breed with robust validation.
The following questions present challenges and are examples of how an AKC Canine Genetic Counselor can assist you:
- Which tests are relevant to my breed?
- Should I use a specific genetic test to make breeding decisions?
- How do I interpret the results to help make educated breeder decisions?
- Which health conditions are the most important for me to prioritize?
- How do I tell my puppy buyers about this test result and what it means for their puppy?
Staffed by veterinary professionals with experience in the clinics, the AKC Canine Genetic Counselors can talk you through these difficult questions. Most importantly, they are a source of information and provide nonjudgmental advice. Dog breeding entails weighing many pros and cons of a dog, including structure, temperament, health characteristics that do not have DNA tests (ie a family history of cancer, epilepsy etc), and more. As experts in their breeds, the AKC strives to support breeders in making their own decisions and preserving the art of dog breeding. In the coming months, the AKC DNA Program is launching a new DNA health test product called AKC DNA + Health, which includes over 328 markers for health and traits. AKC Canine Genetic Counselors are well versed in tests provided by that test, as well as DNA tests recommended by parent clubs. For a list of included tests, please visit https://www.akc.org/breeder-programs/dna/dna-resource-center/akc-dna-health-kit-tests-available/