As people peer into DNA for clues to health and heritage, man’s best friend is under the microscope, too.
Genetic testing for dogs has surged in recent years, fueled by companies that echo popular at-home tests for humans, offering a deep dive into a pet’s genes with the swab of a canine cheek.
More than a million dogs have been tested in little over a decade.
The tests’ rise has stirred debate about standards, interpretation and limitations. But to many dog owners, DNA is a way to get to know their companions better.
‘It put some pieces of the puzzle together,’ says Lisa Topol, who recently tested her mixed-breed dogs Plop and Schmutzy.
Plop was the top-scoring mixed-breed, and Schmutzy also competed, in Saturday’s agility contest at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Judging toward the coveted best in show prize begins Monday.
A test by Embark – which this fall became Westminster’s first DNA-testing partner – confirmed Topol’s guess that her high-octane pets are more Australian cattle dog than anything else.