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Is it Possible to Guess the Breed and Estimate the Age of a Puppy?

I have just adopted a puppy (looks like a Lab, not sure) not sure how old she is but know she is really young. She...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Sep 14th 2010


I have just adopted a puppy (looks like a Lab, not sure) not sure how old she is but know she is really young. She is eating dry and moist food for puppys. She had fleas really bad but I got rid of them with flea shampoo and a flea collar. Can a vet tell me about how old she is and what besides Lab she is ? I got her because her owner set her out at my house and I could not and would take her to the pound. I have been blessed in my life by being adopted by 3 other wonderful dogs ( 2 have passed) .

Mickie

Most vets can estimate the age of a puppy or kitten with relative ease. We do this based upon many factors. The eruption pattern of deciduous (baby) and permanent teeth is the most common feature used to estimate the age of puppies. Other traits such as eye color also play a role. In the end, a lot of the process is simply based upon experience — after handling thousands of puppies and kittens of various ages, one can pretty accurately guess an animal’s age.

It is much harder to guess the breed of a dog. Half of the mutts in America (including my pal Buster) look like Labs. It’s fun to speculate on dog breeds, but you must remember that even educated people only can speculate on this matter.

There is a DNA test, called the Wisdom Panel, that purports to be able to determine the breeds in any mixed-breed dog. A friend of mine told me that he ran the Wisdom Panel on his 100 pound dog. It came back as 1/4 Maltese, 1/4 Toy Poodle, 1/4 Chihuahua, and 1/4 Boston Terrier. I haven’t plumped for the Wisdom Panel since I heard that story.

I strongly recommend that you take you puppy to the vet as soon as possible, but not to determine his age or breed. Puppies need shots and deworming. Remember that some puppy worms can spread to humans and cause serious illness. Your vet can also discuss safer flea preventative options. And yes, he can take a guess at your puppy’s age and breed.