Embark Vet: The Best DNA Testing Kit for Dogs?
Mixed breed dogs and purebred dogs provide the exact same love and affection, and when it comes down to it, dog owners love their dogs regardless of breed. However, for the owners of mixed breeds, and especially for the owners of rescues with uncertain backgrounds, curiosity is always there. What is your dog mixed with?
Canine DNA tests have grown so much in popularity in recent years, as science has made it possible to find out a dog’s (supposedly) exact breed mix. The process is similar to human DNA testing.
When I recently had the chance to find out Weston and Fira’s DNA, I jumped at it! Embark is a kit that tests for over 210 genetic health conditions and over 350 breeds, even wolf.
Being a French Bulldog owner, I thought how helpful this is especially if you’re curious what kind of genetic future your dog could have. If your dog is predisposed to a health risk, you and your vet could tackle it sooner than later. The custom test results can also be sent to your vet.
What breed is my dog?
To better understand and justify the financial aspect of purchasing a DNA test for your dog, let’s look at a few of the benefits. A dog DNA test isn’t a priority investment for everyone, but it does offer a unique opportunity to know and comprehend your fur friend on a deeper level.
The more you know about your best fur friend, the easier it will be to understand him or her, and it can also simplify the process of providing appropriate food, toys, activities, and health screenings. Finding out a few things about your dog’s heritage can make you feel closer to your pooch — it’s not a surprise that dog DNA testing has become so popular!
When you opt for getting a purebred dog, you can often learn things about the breed that helps you understand why your dog behaves a certain way. When having a mixed breed dog with an unknown genetic background, however, differentiating a learned behavior from the behavior the dog is genetically predisposed to can be hard.
Although we already know what breed Weston + Fira are since they were from a breeder, this is such a cool feature for all the mixed mutts out there. How cool to know what characteristics your dog could have because of their breed. It’s always tricky finding the right breeder, so I could see this helping considerably for future dog owners.
With the growing popularity of French Bulldogs, this would be great for breeders or even pup parents to know if their dog is mixed with anything else and check for health issues.
The sooner you catch a health problem in dogs, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to treat it or slow down its progress. Many dog owners try DNA testing for their dogs mainly for the health portion of the report, which makes sense.
Is Embark The Best Dog DNA Test?
One thing that has Embark tests standing out on the dog DNA test market is the fact that they test more genetic markers than any other dog DNA testing company. This means that another testing company could have the same number of breeds in their breed database, or even more, but they will be less likely to properly detect these breeds due to testing fewer genetic markers.
Ok, time to test…
While the science behind dog DNA testing is complex, the tests themselves are surprisingly easy to use. No blood tests or vet visits are required and all can be carried out at home by collecting a saliva sample from the dog.
We swabbed the inside of their cheeks and inserted the special Q-tips back into their tube with its stabilizing liquid and popped ’em in the mail! Took less than a minute.
The final step is to send it off to the lab. Shipping is free within the United States and pre-paid packaging is included, but if you are sending the swab back from somewhere outside the United States – you will have to pay for and arrange shipment yourself.
Less than 4 weeks later, we got the results.
What are Weston + Fira?
100% French Bulldog!
Not that we were surprised, but the especially fun part was seeing how much “wolf” is in their DNA. Little sis Fira’s percentage is higher than Weston’s! Weston is quite embarrassed (lol).
It also shows predicted adult weight, although Weston + Fira’s actual weight is lower than the number they predicted. I guess because they were the runts of the litter! Genetic Age results are their current ages.
We also found out they did not test positive for any genetic diseases Embark scans for or common diseases in the French Bulldog breed including hereditary cataracts, kidney + bladder stones, degenerative disorder of the spinal cord and more. Yay!
The Embark health testing is also superior to the health tests offered by many other brands, and when you choose to purchase the Embark Breed + Health Kit, your dog will be screened for over 200 genetic health conditions!
If you purchase the Embark Breed Kit only, you can always upgrade with health testing later on without having to swab your dog again. You basically just pay to unlock the health portion of the test results.
French Bulldog Ancestry
Another cool feature is seeing where their mom and dad came from in the world. You can see the type of haplogroups and haplotypes your dog has which can explain how your dog’s ancestors migrated across the globe. You could also use this information to confirm their origins or verify their pedigree. You’ll also see a section that shows other dogs’ profiles who have done the test who share certain DNA (relatives?!).
An interesting fact is that a dog may showcase behaviors inherited from ancestors far back in its family tree, and it doesn’t have to look like a breed in order to behave like it.
Finding Your Dog’s Relatives
Another unique feature about Embark and their dog DNA test is that it could lead you to your dog’s long-lost relatives! That’s right – Embark lets you know if any of your dog’s relatives have been tested, and they offer the option for you to get in touch with his or her owner.
I get notification emails and even Instagram messages once in awhile: “My dog is 52% related to Weston!”
Imagine finding your dog’s mom, dad or littermates?
Interesting stuff. We were so giddy opening their test results — it’s like finding out who their birth parents are! Overall, I think this dog DNA test is totally worth it to find out what breed(s) your furry loves are and more importantly, what potential diseases they could carry. You could end up uncovering medical information that could save your dog’s life.
[ Disclaimer: I was sent these DNA kits for my honest review and experience. However, if you order through the button above, I will receive an affiliate commission which helps keep this blog running smoothly. I only recommend products I fully believe in! ]