Do Dogs Have Blood Types?


A common question that arises immediately in our mind is, Do Dogs have blood types like humans? Or all these generations have the same blood or blood group!

Human blood is based on three types of antigens, A, B and O which results in four types blood groups A, B, AB and O which can either be positive or negative. O type blood is the rarest among all and used as universal donor and type AB blood group is universal recipient.

Blood Group of Dogs:

So, just like humans, dogs also have different types of blood groups in them. In case when the blood transfusion is needed, the same blood is given from the same blood type.

More than 13 blood group systems are recognized but very little is known about their distribution frequencies due to the breed population. Dogs having 8 different antigen in their blood are called Dog Erythrocyte Antigen: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6 etc.

The canine blood groups most commonly recognized as are DEA 1.1, DEA 1.2, DEA 3, DEA 4, DEA 5 and DEA 7. An Erythrocyte is a red blood cell. Blood groups and types vary and their differences are inherited.

do dogs have blood type

Antigens are basically made up of toxins, carbohydrates, protein and other substances through which antibodies will produce.

Just like humans, Dogs also have positive and negative blood types. Those dogs which have specific antigen in their red blood cells are called positive blood group while others who don’t have these antigens present in them have negative blood group.

Canine Blood Group System:

The blood group system which is defined by the expression of various antigen on the surface of the red blood cells is called canine blood group system having antigen either of positive charge (having antigen) or either having negative charge (missing antigen).

When a canine blood group studied for more than 50 years and examined or classified at molecular, genetic and biochemical level. Now the Canine blood group is more than a dozen in dogs.

Universal Donors and Universal Recipient Blood Types:

Most common blood types in Dogs are DEA 1.4 and DEA 1.6 and it is present in 98% of canines. So, it is considered that Dogs having blood group DEA 1.4 and DEA 1.6 are universal donors. Most commonly, a specific breed always has a specific blood type.

Dogs having blood group DEA 1.1 positive are universal recipients. Golden Retrievers and Labradors also have blood group DEA 1.1 positive from this predisposition.

Dogs having blood group DEA 1.1 negative are universal donors. Dobermans, Greyhounds, Boxers, German Shepherds, Irish Wolfhounds ,and Pit Bulls also have blood group DEA 1.1 negative from this predisposition. DEA 1 both positive and negative most commonly found in America and in European countries.

Cross Matching Technique and First Transfusion:

The way people having the same antibodies in their blood canines also have naturally occurring antibodies. Dogs’ immune system doesn’t immediately recognize different blood groups until he has been exposed to it.

Many times in emergency circumstances , to save the life of a dog, a dog’s first transfusion takes place. So, it seems that such blood does not have any negative effects from different blood types.

Therefore, most of the dogs receive different blood groups for the first time, but it happens only once. But, after that the immune system is prepared to recognize the foriegn blood and in case this transfusion again takes place, it will be life threatening.

Cross Matching Technique and First Transfusion

To prevent any serious reaction in the immune system of the donor blood dog, there’s a test called “ Cross Matching ”. This test helps in checking the overall compatibility of Donor and recipient blood. During the test, a drop of donor blood mixes with blood of the recipient blood. It will clump if in that case it is incompatible.

Transfusion Reaction:

People and cats have wrong strong antibodies in them. In case there is transfusion of blood in the body of a human, our immune system immediately recognizes non-compatible blood and after that it treats the blood as forigen attacker viruses or bacteria. When a person has a wrong blood transfusion, this transfusion reaction immediately kills that person.

Although the signs are not specific there so it is really difficult to know what is wrong specially on time. Signs include a change in heartbeat, difficulty breathing, collapse, drolling, convulsions, weakness, vomiting and fever. Luckily severe reactions are rare in dogs.

Breeds having Negative and Positive Blood Groups:

Here we listed the dogs having both negative and positive type blood groups:

Dogs having positive blood group are:

  • Golden retrievers
  • Labradors

Dogs having positive blood group are:

  • Lurcher
  • Saluki
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Bearded Collie
  • Border Collie
  • Boxer
  • Curly Coated Retriever
  • English Bull Terrier
  • Flat Coated Retriever
  • German Shepherd
  • Greyhound
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Weimaraner
  • Dobermann
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • American Bulldog
  • Basset Hound

Dogs and their Blood Banks:

In 1989, one of the first blood banks in history for pets was launched in Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston. Transfusion has been a great medicine in the last few decades.

Dogs and cats often take transfusions as a part of their treatment. A standard whole blood unit is of 500cc or 17 ounce while on the other hand red blood cells and plasma units are quite smaller as compared to them.

dogs blood type

Usually, a pet’s size or its illness determines how much blood it needs. The blood donor program enlisted the pet dogs on the basis of their size, health, weight and age for the donation of blood.Our priority is always welfare.

You’ll always try to donate the blood of your dog specially when you know it is needed. Every donor and donation is valued and appreciated.

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