Doggie DNA Tests: Owners May Not Like the Answers
Are you really getting what you think when you lay down hundreds of dollars for a designer dog?
Using the same techniques as you would to find out about your own ancestors, you can test your dog's DNA but you might not like the answers.
Read: How Reliable Are Home DNA Ancestry Tests? Investigation Uses Triplets to Find Out
Phyllis Von Saspe of New York wanted to know if her $1,700 designer dog Emma really is a Shorkie, a mix of Shih Tzu and Yorkie. So she had the dog’s DNA tested.
According to DNA tests, Von Saspe’s dog, Emma, who was purchased from a breeder in Washington State, is not a Shorkie but she's a mutt – part Shih Tzu and part Pomeranian, according to her DNA analysis.
“I felt deceived,” Von Saspe said.
Cliff Mintz was also eager to know more about his dog Moose, which was sold to him by a New Jersey breeder as a purebred Havanese.
According to a DNA test, he's not a purebred Havanese, but part Shih Tzu and part Havanese.
“I think it happens a lot more than you know,” Mintz said.
So with the help of Kathleen Summers of the Humane Society of the United States, Inside Edition went puppy shopping in Manhattan. At the Chelsea Kennel Club we spotted a cute little doggie in the window.
The store's manager told us three different times that the dog was a purebred Coton de Tulear.
Purebred Coton's are known for their cotton white coats. The dog, named Jak, was purchased by Summers and Inside Edition for $950.
From there, we took the little guy straight to the vet, where we had his cheek swabbed for DNA, just like is done with humans.
The DNA sample was then sent to Adam Boyko, the chief science officer and co-founder of Embark - a company that specializes in analyzing dog DNA.
“He’s a mutt, just like my dog at home,” Boyko said of Jak. Boyko says Jak’s DNA results show he is not a purebred Coton and is actually a combination of Maltese, Havanese and other mixed breed groups.
The manager of the Chelsea Kennel Club, where we purchased Jak, insists that the dog is a full breed Coton.
Read: How Accurate Are Home DNA Ancestry Kits? Investigation Uses Triplets to Put Companies to the Test
“We have documentation and registry papers that say that it’s a Coton from the breeder itself," the manager said.
The pet store sent us registration papers, signed by the breeder, which list Jak and his parents as Coton's. They say these papers, not DNA, are the industry standard for determining whether a dog is a pure breed.
Jak now lives with a loving family in Baltimore who couldn't care less whether he's a mutt or not.
Sarah Jensen, Jak’s new owner, said: “We don't care if he's a Coton or a Maltese or whatever he is. We are going to love him forever.”
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