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Doggy DNA: To test or not to test, Part 1

Hunter Box Final
Embark Veterinary, Inc.
Hunter Box Final

In our human quest to find our genetic roots, millions of people are buying commercial DNA test kits like Ancestry.com and 23andMe. But wait, if our pets are part of our family, don’t we want to know their origins as well?

Sixty-five million US households own dogs. And we spend a lot of money on them. It’s a market that cries out for commercial doggy DNA testing.

So what are these DNA tests for dogs, and what do they measure? Why do dog owners buy these tests which can cost anywhere from under a $100 to $300 and up? How accurate are doggy DNA tests? And what should dog owners do with the results?

In Part 1 of our story, KSFR reached out to: a Santa Fe dog owner who purchased a commercial DNA test for her rescue dog Sky and to Travis Dhanraj, host of the Canadian Broadcasting Company's Marketplace program. Dhanraj led an investigation into the accuracy of Doggy DNA tests to determine a dog's breed.

What we learned may surprise you. Whether you’re a dog owner or a dog lover, or just a curious listener, you don’t want to miss this story.

In Part 2 of KSFR's Doggy DNA story, we turn to canine genetics experts to discuss the pros and cons of such tests.

Mary Lou Cooper reports on consumer issues for KSFR as well as on politics and elder affairs. She has worked for the U.S. Congress as well as for the Nevada and Tennessee legislatures, and remains a political junkie. She worked many years for an association of Western state legislatures and was a contributor to “Capitol Ideas,” a national magazine about state government. In 2016 Cooper received a public service award from the New Mexico Broadcasting Association for her KSFR story on Internet romance scams. She has received journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and from the National Federation of Press Women. She grew up in Oak Ridge, TN and received her BA from Emory University in Atlanta and her MA from the University of Texas Austin. She also holds fiction and screenwriting certificates from the University of Washington.