Groundbreaking Dog DNA Test Uncovers Breed Ancestry From a 40-Year-Old Canine Tooth

TORONTO, ON -- In a white paper envelope on Stephen Fratpietro’s desk are three teeth that once belonged to a dog named Thor. The teeth, now well over 40 years old, await DNA analysis at Lakehead's Paleo-DNA Laboratory as part of a groundbreaking test from canine genetics testing company, DNA My Dog.

Back in the 80s when Thor was just a puppy, the Irwin family had saved a few of his baby teeth after they’d fallen out and decided to submit them for DNA analysis after hearing about the Deceased Dog DNA Test from a friend. Being unfamiliar with the service, they did some research and were astounded to discover that they could, indeed, have Thor’s DNA tested - even four decades after he’d been gone.

In fact, the Paleo DNA Laboratory was specifically designed to test old and degraded DNA samples, making them uniquely equipped to perform these tests. After successfully extracting DNA from a 2,000-year-old mummified human hand, analyzing DNA from a 40-year-old dog tooth is a walk in the park for Fratpietro and the Paleo-DNA team. The only commercially available test of its kind, the Deceased Dog DNA Test is made possible by the partnership between DNA My Dog and the highly accredited Paleo-DNA Laboratory. The two have been in partnership for well over a decade and have since provided closure and insight to dozens of pup parents around the world.

In Thor’s case, the Irwin family obtained valuable information that provided both closure and answers to questions they’d always had about his unique quirks, behaviors, and his health.

Thor was a big, old, rough-and-tumble farm dog that they’d always believed to be a German Shepherd, based on his pointed ears, black & tan coat, and loyal, protective nature.

But where did his massive size, webbed paws, and the bluish-black spots on his tongue come from? They believed these traits would remain a mystery – until now.

It turns out they were right about the German Shepherd bit, but had no idea there was also Newfoundland Dog and Chow Chow in Thor’s genetic ancestry. The breed identification report provided by DNA My Dog revealed that Thor’s giant size and webbed paws were inherited from the Newfoundland Dog while the Chow Chow genetics were responsible for the blue-black spots on his tongue.

The results also indicated that all three breeds in Thor’s DNA are prone to hip dysplasia, an inherited genetic health condition from which Thor suffered in his later years.

Astonished that all this information was obtained from just one little baby tooth, and incredibly glad that they’d kept it all these years, the Irwin family was finally given a sense of closure by knowing what made Thor so special.

But teeth aren’t the only type of sample Lakehead and DNA My Dog can test. Ideal samples include items the dog has had oral contact with (that haven’t been washed or used by another dog) and biological samples like teeth, blood, and nails. The Paleo-DNA Laboratory has successfully extracted DNA from:

  • Toys (20+ years old)
  • Collars
  • Pieces of fabric from dog bedding, sweaters, etc.
  • Vomit
  • Feces
  • Teeth
  • Toenails
  • Scabs
  • Blood on blood card or medical syringes
  • Organs/tissue

Upon purchase, customers will be sent detailed instructions on how to send their samples of choice. Up to three samples can be sent for analysis, and items will always be returned upon request. Results are available online roughly two weeks after the sample is received at Lakehead’s laboratory in Thunder Bay, ON. Additional information can be found here.

About DNA My Dog:

DNA My Dog is a Canadian-owned and operated company that has been providing DNA testing services for dogs since 2008. The company provides a range of tests including a Canine Allergy Test, Essential and Premium Breed ID tests, and a patent-pending Genetic Age test that provides a dog’s accurate biological age.