Can I do a DNA test to see if my cat is a British Shorthair?

So you have a pet cat and are wondering can I DNA breed test it to see if it is a British Shorthair or is related to one.

Currently there is no DNA test to determine if your cat is a British Shorthair. Why not? Well there is not a big demand for cat breed DNA testing. Cats are popular pets but dogs ownership is much higher than cats. Also pet cats that are not a specific breed are normally just seen as a domestic cat rather than a mix of breeds of cats. Owners don’t have a desire to know the background of their genes.

Cat breeding is a little different to dogs as well. Breeding cats are not free to roam and mate into the general population. Breeders keep them housed and separate so there is very little chance of them getting out and cross breeding. Undesexed dogs are much easier to keep as pets and can go out for walks etc. They are more able to get about and reproduce. Given that purebreed cats are kept separate from domestic cats there is not really the same mixed breed effect that occurs in dogs. Cats are more purebred or domestic not a mix of both.

British Shorthair kitten, can I do a DNA breed test?
Purebreed British Shorthair Kitten

Early desexing of British Shorthairs, another factor

Early desexing is also now common in purebred cat breeding. British Shorthairs are a great example of cats that are desexed prior to sale. In some countries, including Australia, it has become the normal thing to do. It is also the law in some states that you have to desex before adoption. This means there is less and less chance of a fertile purebreed cat being out in the general cat population and making or having kittens.

What DNA tests do exist for cat breeds like the British Shorthair?

There are some tests that will tell you if you have a certain breed of cat. For example you can test to see if a cat is a Selkirk Rex as there is a gene that makes their hair curly. The only thing is that cat would be curly as it is a dominant gene so there would be no reason to test. You can see it.

There are also certain patterns specific to certain breeds. Colourpoint cats have dark faces, legs and tails with a light body. This originally came from Siamese but is now in many breeds of cats such as Ragdolls, Persians, Neva Masquarades and even British. If you have a colourpoint cat it would have to have something like that behind it. There is a DNA test for the colourpoint gene but it will not tell you which breed it came from.

Will I be able to DNA breed test my cat in the future?

Cats are really either a specific breed or a domestic. So there is not a demand for a DNA breed test in cats and that means the labs that provide the testing wont invest in the research to develop the tests. This could change in the future if demand grows or the cost of developing the tests comes down.

Specific breeds such as the British Shorthair are determined by the cats parents and their pedigree as opposed to a DNA test. You can find out more about British Shorthair pedigrees here

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