When Los Angeles resident Marie Kordus takes her rescue dog Anya out walking, some people say she looks like a wolf or a fox. Once a little boy even said, " 'Mommy, look at that lady, she's walking a coyote!' " Kordus recalls.
But when she adopted her slender, cream-colored rescue pup, she was told she was a German shepherd mix.
Still, Kordus decided to try to find out more about Anya's ancestry. She went online, ordered a DNA kit, swabbed Anya's mouth for saliva, put it in a tube, and mailed it off. One week later she had results.
"What came back was that 88% of her is German shepherd," she says. "So that tells you that one parent was probably a purebred and the other parent was a mix; and they identified it as the hound family, like a greyhound, bloodhound, or whippet."
So now when people say "coyote," Kordus says a firm "no, not a coyote."
If you're one of the millions of Americans who owns a rescue dog, you may be curious about what breed your best friend is. Increasingly, pet owners are buying DNA testing kits to try to figure out their dog's ancestry. But the promise of these kits may be getting ahead of the science, according to some geneticists and animal researchers.