Americans are testing their dogs’ DNA, with some remarkable results

CARNEGIE VIOLET DOG-FULLER live a happy life in Hollywood. He likes to chew on ice cubes and listen to Snoop Dogg. Life was not always so easy. Found an injured stray in Santa Monica, she spent time at a rescue center before being adopted by Gregg and Lindsay Fuller last year. They considered her to be a French bulldog mix. but a DNA The test revealed that she was more American Staffordshire Terrier (39%) than French Bulldog (24%), with significant Pomeranian genes (16%). “We were shocked,” admits Mr. Fuller.

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Genealogy was once reserved for elite dogs. Their breeders take a special interest in keeping the bloodlines pure, creating new champions, and raising the prices of puppies. The pedigree of common street dogs is now being traced. Wisdom Panel, a pet testing firm DNAsaid on March 3 that its database had expanded to 3 million animals (more than 95% of them dogs), up from 1 million in 2018. Embark Veterinary, a similar company that has 1 million dogs in its database, it was valued at $700 million in July after a $75 million investment.

During the pandemic, 23 million Americans adopted puppies, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Rebecca Chodroff Foran, director of research for the Wisdom Panel, believes this trend has collided with another: the growth of human resources.DNA business. Owners “now view their pets as key members of the family,” she says.

Animal DNA the tests work in a very similar way to the human ones. They compare genetic markers to a database of verified pedigree pets, revealing canine lineage and potential health issues. Embark claims to be 99.9% accurate; Wisdom Panel claims over 98%.

Some owners are horrified to discover that their expensive crossbreed is, in fact, a mix of completely different breeds. But owners of adopted and rescued dogs, who make up 67% of the Wisdom Panel’s database, are eager to learn. Murray, who lives in New York with his owner, Erica Hyman, looks like a Jack Russell but with his ears pricked up. He turned out to be a mix of 23 races. “Now I just tell people ‘he’s just a dog!’” says Ms. Hyman.

Chico Lopez, who breeds American Pit Bull Terriers, thinks DNA it is a decent investment for stray dogs. He compares them to second-hand cars: “You don’t know if the engine is from a Toyota, the transmission from a Bugatti and the tires from a motorcycle, so first you have to… find out what’s going to break. “But those who want a thoroughbred, he says, must not depend entirely on DNAas reputable breeders already have precise knowledge of a dog’s ancestors.

Adopted dog owners like to search for long-lost relatives. About 12% of the dogs in the Embark database discover a sibling, parent, or offspring. And, as with the human being DNA test, there is a chance of stumbling upon a family secret. Some dog owners are now discovering that their sweet pooch had a litter in another state before eloping. paw shape

This article appeared in the US section of the print edition under the headline “Son of a bitch.”

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