What Is He?
We have just launched a study with the Richmond SPCA focused on the impact of the knowledge of DNA-identified breed mix on adoption choice. The question we are asking is, “When adopters are given a choice between adopting a ‘pit-type dog’ and a dog who looks like a pit type dog and has a DNA panel identifying him as a potential mix, are they more likely to choose one over the other?
It is important to note that the DNA test we are using (and has been used for much of the work around bully breeds and DNA) does not actually test for “Pit Bull” – but does test for many of the bully breeds that we often identify as pit-type dogs.
The study design essentially takes the pool of dogs that the intake staff identifies as dogs they would normally label on their cage cards as “pit mix” or “pit type” and then randomly chooses dogs from that pool to be either in the experimental group or the control group. Both groups have their cheeks swabbed for DNA analysis, and the experimental group has their DNA results (pictured below) posted on their cages, while the control group’s DNA results are hidden from both adopters and adoption counselors. The amazing staff at the Richmond SPCA follows the number of visits each dog gets, the time on the adoption floor prior to adoption, returns and more.
The study has just begun – with just a few dogs in each group. Most of the dogs have American Staffordshire in their mix, along with other ‘bully’ type breeds. It is way, way too early to look at data trends, but I had to peek… and I will just say I am excited by the results! Stay tuned for updates on this exciting new research.