Darwin’s Dogs Project Takes Closer Look At Pets’ DNA And Behavior

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – When it comes to your dog’s breed, how sure are you that you really know what kind of dog you have?

The Corliss family thought they knew what their dog, Daisy, was.

“We thought she was a Redbone Coonhound and a mix of some sort,” says Mary Ann Corliss.

Daisy is a mix, alright.

“We found out that our Redbone Coonhound is actually half Bloodhound, one-third Boxer and another third Heinz 57,” says Corliss.

The Corliss family mapped Daisy’s DNA through a website called, “Darwin’s Dogs.”

They simply sent in a DNA sample, got the results, and now Daisy is one of thousands of dogs enrolled in the Darwin’s Dogs project.

Once you find out your dog’s DNA, you then help researchers gather information on your dog’s traits and behaviors by responding to online surveys.

“We can study behavior in dogs really easily by just working with the dog owners, by just asking them with a goal of trying to look at how differences in a dog’s DNA matches up with differences in their behavior,” says Darwin’s Dogs researcher Elinor Karlsson.

The initial goal of the project was to look at obsessive-compulsive behavior in dogs.

Now, the study has expanded to also explore food allergies among pets.

“We don’t understand what causes these diseases and the only way to really find new treatments and new effective ways of treating them is to know what the cause is,” says Karlsson.

They hope that by finding a cause hidden in dogs’ genetics, it could also eventually lead to breakthroughs in the same conditions in people.

“Even though there are a lot of differences between dogs and humans, you look at the really important things that are relevant to health, there’s not that many differences. Dogs get the same cancers, the same psychiatric diseases that we do,” says Karlsson

Researchers are always looking for new dogs to join the “Darwin’s Dogs” project. For more information, click here.

It’s free to sign up, and have your dog’s DNA tested.

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