Fur Relatives, Hair-itage, and Beyond: What Embark’s Dog DNA Test Can Tell You

This article is brought to you in partnership with Embark. Scroll down fur a promo code.

Got a mystery mutt? Congratulations! You’re in the majority of U.S. dog parents. And like many of us, you might be curious about your bestie’s breed breakdown (or why she has the floof of a Golden Retriever but the fetch “skills” of a Basset Hound). In celebration of National DNA Day (April 25), we gave away an Embark Dog DNA Test to Sidewalk Dogger Lauren Boatner to find out what her pupper Finnick is made of. Got any guesses?

Finnick, 100% good boi.

If you guessed 50% German Shepherd Dog, 27.6% English Springer Spaniel, and 22.4% Australian Cattle Dog, you’re a fluffin’ genius.

So what else can a slobbery cheek swab from your dog reveal? A whole heckin’ lot. Check out Finnick’s results to see fur yourself. Here’s a sampling of what they’ll dig up.

Hair-itage and fur-sibs. An Embark Dog DNA Test reveals your dog’s breed ancestry back to great-grandparents, and traces the ancient heritage on both sides of her family. It can also pawtentially connect you with your dog’s biological fam—one of many cool factors that helped land it on Oprah’s 2018 List of Favorite Things. If another dog has been tested who shares DNA with yours, Embark’ll let you know.

Hey, sis! Long time, no sniff.

Sidewalk Dogger Brian Sweet experienced this firsthand when his dog Scout’s results indicated Scout’s sister had also taken the test.

“I was able to see that dog’s info, and her owner mentioned they were from my city and adopted her from the same rescue around the same time,” Sweet says. The hoomans chatted via Embark and later got the fur-sibs together for a playdate. (They didn’t seem to remember each other, but we can’t speak dog so arooo knows.)

Why Fifi sheds so doggone much. A quick genetics lesson: dogs have 39 pairs of chromosomes. (Humans have 23 pairs.) One pair is gender, and the other 38 are everything else. Take shedding, fur example. The amount Fifi sheds isn’t because of an averaging or blending of her breeds, but because it was inherited from a specific breed or breeds in her ancestry. Embark fetches more than 200,000 genetic markers to sniff out what part of each chromosome in your dog came from what breed, and gathers ‘em into a rather fascinating chromosome illustration that’s pretty enough to frame (scroll down to “DNA Breed Origins” to see it).


Embark’ll also show you other pups in its database with similar breed mixes.

Having a database of detailed results from thousands of dogs is even helping Embark to uncover some of the mysteries of different breed traits, like why Siberian Huskies nearly always have blue eyes (beyond using them to make everyone swoon). So when your dog takes a test, he’s also advancing science—all with a swab of slobber.

Stuff to bork to your vet about. Embark’s mission is to end preventable disease in dogs. To make it happen, it partners with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and examines more than 175 genetic health conditions and traits to help pawrents keep pooches at their puppin’ best.

When Sidewalk Dogger Katie Lease Longfield tested her dog, Kato, she found he had a gene mutation associated with reduced alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity that Embark recommended she tell her vet about. “He doesn’t need any vet attention right now but it had to go into his vet record. If he has to have a liver test, his test will have to be read differently or it could be life-threatening,” Longfield says.

Sidewalk Dogger Amanda Nelson learned that her rescue dog, Lucy, is MDR1 sensitive, which can cause reactions to some common veterinary medicines. She let her vet know, too.

Wanna try it out fur yourself? Use code “DNA30DAY” for $30 off an Embark Dog DNA Test.

Embark’s Dog DNA Test reveals information about breed, health, ancestry, and more, down to your dog’s every chromosome. The company has a mission of ending preventable disease in dogs and is partnered with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Use code “DNA30DAY” for $30 off a test.

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