Choosing the right dog is important. Just as we all have different needs and temperaments, so do our four-legged friends. But when we adopt pups from shelters — which we totally recommend — we don’t always know what breed, or mix of breeds, we’re getting.
One company is setting out to change that and add some transparency to the adoption process. Wisdom Panel, a brand of Mars Veterinary — a company that specializes in canine genetic testing — has introduced Dogtrax DNA tests. The test was designed for animal shelters to offer prospective owners information about a dog's breed history.
Understanding a dog's genetics can help owners better understand behavior, strengthen their relationship and take better care of the dog’s health. And a September 2013 survey — conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Wisdom Panel — found that among 2,000 U.S. adults, 86% consider the breed characteristics of a dog at least somewhat important were they to adopt from a shelter.
Over the next nine months, the Wisdom Panel "Swab-A-Thon" Tour, hosted by celebrity pet expert and dog trainer Harrison Forbes, will partner with shelters in up to 24 cities to swab the DNA of a number of their dogs. People looking to adopt can attend a number of consumer pet events to see the tested dogs, along with their breed ancestry reports.
In addition, existing owners can bring their dogs to the Wisdom Panel booth to get them swabbed for $30 or purchase a take-home DIY kit for $50.
"Whether it's a shelter dog or a dog that's already found a loving home, an understanding of his natural tendencies makes it possible to create a tailored training, exercise and nutrition program to fit his one-of-a-kind needs," Forbes said in a release.
Owners will be emailed an official ancestry report of their dog's genetic background within three weeks of receipt of the cheek swab test. For every 10 dogs swabbed at the events, Wisdom Panel will donate one Dogtrax DNA test kit to a local dog shelter.