“What kind of dog is that?”
As a pet parent, you probably hear that question once a week if not daily.
When you get a dog from a shelter or rescue, you might not know the answer to that question—or anything else about their past, for that matter. Of course, it doesn’t matter where they came from or where they’ve been. They’re your family now and you wouldn’t have it any other way. But do you ever catch yourself wishing you knew a little bit more about your rescue pup?
A simple doggy DNA test can help solve the mystery of your dog’s breed (or breeds) and give you a little glimpse into their background. It won’t tell you the whole story of your dog’s history, but it’s a little piece of the puzzle that can help fill in the blanks. At the very least, you’ll have an answer ready when the next person stops to ask.
Aside from the satisfaction of getting a glimpse into your pet’s past, knowing your dog’s breed(s) can actually help you better care for your furry family member. Certain breeds require more exercise than others. Others need more frequent grooming. Some breeds are prone to certain medical conditions.
“Knowing that you need to be on the lookout for issues that are common in your dog’s breed can help ensure your dog lives a longer, happier, healthier life,” says Irith Bloom, CPDT, CDBC, a certified professional dog trainer and behavior consultant who owns The Sophisticated Dog in Los Angeles, California.
Sure, learning of your dog’s breed(s) is exciting in itself, but why not share the surprise with the rest of your family and friends? After all, they are part of your dog’s extended family and circle of friends, too. They’re probably just as curious about your pup’s origins as you are!
A dog breed reveal party is a fun way for everyone to find out your dog’s breed(s) all at once.
A dog breed reveal party is sort of like a gender reveal party during which expecting parents find out the sex of their baby. With a gender reveal party, some parents-to-be find out the baby’s gender by cutting into a cake that is either blue or pink inside. Others open a box of blue or pink balloons. Obviously, with a dog breed reveal party, the big surprise is finding out the dog’s breed(s), but you can still look to gender reveal parties for inspiration.
We’ve got the details for how to throw a one-of-a-kind bash for your one-of-a-kind pup.
Before the party planning begins, you'll need to get your dog’s DNA tested with a DNA kit, like Wisdom Panel 3.0 breed identification dog DNA test kit. As part of the process, you usually need to send in a sample of your dog’s salvia or cheek cells and register on the DNA test’s website.
The results from most tests take at least two weeks to get back, and they’re usually available online. When planning a dog breed reveal party, you'll need to decide if you will be hosting the party yourself, or if a close friend or family member will be handling it for you. If you want to keep it a surprise, designate a point person to open the results for you. Another option is to have the designated point person register under their own name and contact info; that way you don’t inadvertently open or look at the test results. If you have no willpower, opt for the latter!
Stephanie Grassullo, associate editor for pregnancy and parenting website The Bump, says unlike a baby shower, where a friend or family member usually does the planning, a gender reveal party—or in this case, a dog breed reveal party—can be thrown by the parents or someone else.
“If you’d rather sit back and enjoy the show, you can see if a friend or family member is willing to host the soiree,” she says. “Or if you’d prefer to take the reins on it, that’s totally fine, too. Whether you’re revealing the sex of a baby or the breed of a dog, it’s your secret—you get to choose how to divulge it.”
Throwing the party yourself doesn’t mean you’ll spoil the surprise. Take a cue from gender reveal parties and appoint one person to handle the big reveal—just make sure they can be trusted to keep the results of your dog’s DNA test to themselves!
You’ll also need to decide on the guest list and venue. Again, there are no hard-and-fast rules here.
“You can make your guest list as big or as small as you want,” Grassullo says. “Some may want to keep the affair intimate, inviting only their immediate family for the festivities, while others make it an open invitation for extended family members and friends.”
Feel free to extend the invite to your guests’ dogs, too, as long as the dogs are friendly.
The number of guests will likely depend on the venue. Grassullo says that more often than not, gender reveal parties are held at the expecting parents’ house or a home of a close friend or family member. You can do the same for a dog breed reveal party.
“Having the party at a home is not only convenient, but it makes the moment all the more intimate,” Grassullo says. “It’s super-sweet to share this exciting moment in a place that’s special to you.”
If you live in a city or small apartment where space is limited, Grassullo suggests considering a dog-friendly park or other dog-friendly outdoor space.
“The pups will be able to roam around and play with each other without being restricted by indoor space,” she says.
You can’t throw a dog breed reveal party without decorations. Well, you could, but what would be the fun in that?
The theme of the party is, obviously, dogs, and there are plenty of doggy decorations available online and at party stores.
Decorate the space with balloons shaped like different dogs breeds, like Pugs or Golden Retrievers, or balloons with pictures of dogs on them. Grassullo also suggests printing silhouettes of different dog breeds and using it as wall art or crafting them into pop-up centerpieces for any tables.
For an easy DIY “photo booth,” all you really need is a backdrop. Hang a large picture of a dog house or fabric or even wallpaper with dog-themed designs, and start snapping pictures.
Grassullo suggests getting into character and handing out wearable dog ear headbands and whiskers. Pull in some dog supplies—like a dog collar, dog leash and dog bone—and you’ve got yourself some props for your photo booth.
The reveal is the whole reason for throwing the party, and there are many options for how to do it.
“It’s all about finding the one that suits you best,” Grassullo says.
As mentioned above, gender party reveals are usually done with a pink or blue cake or balloons. Other methods include setting off pink or blue confetti poppers or smoke bombs, spraying pink or blue silly string and even paint gun fights with pink or blue paint.
“If you’re having a dog reveal party, you can still find inspiration from these staples,” Grassullo says.
Take the balloons in a box, for example. Instead of filling it with either pink or blue balloons, your party point person can fill it with balloons shaped like your dog’s breed (or breeds), or they can create custom balloons with pictures of the different breeds on them. Places like Etsy and Party City allow you to customize balloons simply by uploading JPGs or PDFs, which they then print onto the balloons for you. You should be able to find a photo or illustration of the dog breeds online from a simple image search. Be sure to put weights on the balloons so they don’t fly away and you don’t miss the actual reveal!
Test guests’ canine knowledge with trivia games. Grassullo suggests asking questions about different dog breeds, their origins and other fun facts. The guest who answers the most questions correctly can win a dog-themed prize, like a #Basic coffee mug and pupachino dog toy gift set or, for guests without a dog at home, this adorable dog breed journal from Pet Shop by Fringe Studio. Or print out different photos or silhouettes of dog breeds and label each one with a number. Hand out numbered sheets and have guests write in the breed names that corresponds with the dogs in the pictures.
If you’re a fan of pop culture, describe some of entertainment’s most well-known dogs—Pluto, Snoopy, Air Bud and Scooby-Doo, for example—without saying the dogs’ names and have guests guess which famous Fido you’re talking about.
Don’t forget to get your four-legged guests in on the fun. You can create a little obstacle course in the yard for dogs to run through. Set up HDP’s Collapsible Agility Dog Training Tunnel and Trixie’s Agility Dog Training Ring around the yard and time each pup as they work their way through. Get more outdoor dog game ideas here.
Another option is to hide treats around the house or yard and have a doggy scavenger hunt. You also can hide treats in puzzles made just for dogs, like the dog brick puzzle from Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound. Get more indoor dog game ideas here.
If any of the dogs become destructive or happy play turns into something more aggressive, call it quits.
Treat guests to something sweet.
“Colorful cupcakes, cookies, cakes, cake pops, doughnut walls and all kinds of tasty treats help to end the day on a (sugar) high,” Grassullo says.
For the dogs in attendance, you can serve dog-friendly versions of the same treats.
For a dog-friendly baked good, try these DIY mini cupcakes for dogs. They are made with a favorite dog ingredient: peanut butter. Bonus: The recipe makes 36 servings, so you can be sure your furry guests each get a treat.
Not much of a baker? Try Pooch Cake’s cake in a box.
Don’t have time to spend in the kitchen? There are plenty of ready-made dog treats available for purchase. Or check out a local bakery that specializes in dog cakes.
Don’t forget to offer doggy bags for guests to take home leftover goodies.
At the end of the day, how big the party is or how involved you are is totally up to you. It’s all meant to be in good fun and to celebrate your fur baby. There’s no better reason to throw a party than that!
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