Embark Dog DNA Test Reviews: Is Your Mixed Breed A Mystery?

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Embark DNA test tube: Embark Dog DNA Test Have you been pondering giving your dog a DNA test but heard that they’re unreliable? You’ll be happy to know; that’s not the case with Embark’s newest at-home dog genetic testing kit.

Thanks to recent scientific advances, Embark now offers the most accurate at-home dog DNA test available on the market — for breed identification AND genetic health risks.

View Embark DNA on Amazon

Article Overview

Embark

4.5 / 5
Embark
Ease of Testing 5.0
Genetic Health Screenings 5.0
Breed Identification 4.5
Pricing 3.5
Customer Support 4.5

Pros

  • Tests for 250 breeds
  • Offers 100 times more genetic information than other tests
  • Genetic mutation testing for over 175 canine health conditions
  • Results back in 2-4 weeks
  • Free replacement swab if yours gets damaged
  • Charitable work with animal shelters
  • Live chat or email available if you need help interpreting test results
  • Positive customer feedback that Embark is the most accurate dog DNA test
  • Website has blog, FAQs and newsletter signup
  • Ability to get raw DNA data

Cons

  • Expensive for the health test and genome sequencing

Key Features

  • Most scientifically advanced at-home dog DNA test available
  • Simple cheek-swab test
  • Tests for 175 known canine genetic health problems
  • Looks at 220,000 genetic markers — 100 times more than competitors
  • Partners with Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in ongoing research into genetic testing for dogs (you have the option to include your dog’s DNA data in their research)
  • Contributes funding and genetic testing kits to animal shelters in the U.S. and Nepal
  • Official dog DNA test of the Westminster Kennel Club
  • Embark has published the first novel discovery made from non-human direct-to-consumer genomics data, the genetic basis of blue eyes in Siberian Huskies
  • With Embark’s Dog DNA Breed Identification Kit, you get:
    • Breed Identification: a breakdown of your dog’s breed mix
    • Family Tree: a family tree that goes back to great-grandparents
    • Relative Finder: a list of pups in the database that are related to yours
    • Breed Mix Match Buddies: Find and view other dogs with similar breed mixes
  • Whole Genome Sequencing kit sequences the entire genome so you get more data and updates as research is released

Price

  • Breed Identification Kit – $129.00
  • Breed + Health Kit – $189.00
  • Whole Genome Sequencing – $349

Coupon

Embark is offering Canine Journal readers $30 off Embark Breed + Health Kit (Regular Price of $199) with Code: BESTINCLASS through 9/30/2019 when purchased directly from Embark's website. Just use this link to get started.

What Did We Discover With Our Dog’s Embark DNA Test?

Michelle, the founder of Canine Journal, had the opportunity to try this test out on her rescue dog, Bella, thanks to a free sample from Embark (this did not bias our review). Previously, she had tried another DNA test on Bella using Wisdom Panel but was very disappointed in the results. Below is her testimonial.

They said she was a mixed breed Pit Bull/Bulldog, with no signs of Labrador Retriever. However, for anyone that has ever met this dog, she is a lab through and through. Mixed breed? Yes. But no Lab at all? No way! We were very surprised and felt a little like we had wasted our money on the Wisdom Panel test.

Embark on the other hand gave more accurate results with the majority being Pit Bull and Labrador Retriever and some minor genes for Chow, Husky, Golden Retriever and “Supermutt.” In other words, I would’ve paid for this test to know her true genetic makeup the first time around had I known (and had it been available when I did the first test). Sure, it’s more expensive but better than throwing away money on a test that was only partially accurate.

Embark also surprised me by sending health-related genetic markers for Bella. Per her DNA reading, Bella is not at-risk for any genetic concerns, but she is a carrier for Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Progressive rod-cone degeneration (PRCD Exon 1) which are both eye conditions. She is spayed so this will not be passed along to future generations, and we can rest assured that she should continue to be healthy – hooray!

An Overview Of My Experience With Both Wisdom Panel And Embark:

Pie graph showing test results: Bella's Embark DNA Test Reults

  • The test process is the same for both companies (cheek swab and mail in the sample).
  • The waiting period is slightly longer for results with Embark (2-4 weeks with Embark vs. 2-3 week with Wisdom Panel).
  • The price is higher for Embark ($80 for Wisdom Panel vs. $189 for Embark ($129 if breed only)).
  • However, if I am spending the time and money to get a DNA test for my dog, I would rather have a more accurate result. So, if I had to do it again, I would pay the extra cash for Embark, especially since it also provides health concern information, too.

What Does Embark’s “Wolfiness” Score Mean?

Bella got a high wolfiness score of 3.1% (most dogs score 1% or less). Does that mean she’s part wolf? No, but she has inherited more wolf genes than many other dogs. A wolfiness score below 10 doesn’t mean your dog is a product of a recent dog-wolf mating.

Almost all wolfiness scores below 10 are from ancient wolf genes that have been passed down multiple generations — possibly even dating back to 15,000 years ago when people began domesticating wolves.

How Does Dog DNA Testing Work?

Check out Embark’s video to see how their dog DNA test works and what it can tell you about your pup.

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Is The Embark Dog DNA Test Worth It?

View Embark DNA on Amazon

Embark is slightly more expensive than its competitors. However, if you want to know all you can about your dog and feel confident in the results, we believe Embark is worth it. Its genetic health screening is, paws down, the best you’ll find for an at-home dog DNA test (Embark blows other DNA dog tests out of the water). You also get breed identification results from the same DNA test.

Be sure to check out our Dog DNA Tests Reviews to see how other tests compare to Embark. Learn more about Embark DNA in our interview with its veterinary geneticist and also with its co-founder Ryan Boyko.

If you genetically test your dog and find that it is predisposed to certain chronic illnesses, you may consider pet insurance. Read our pet insurance comparison to see which company we ranked #1.

Have you tried a DNA test with your pup? Learn anything interesting?

About The Author:

Sally holds a BA in English from James Madison University and began her 25-year writing career as a grad student at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism & Mass Communications. She’s been a pet parent since college years (and spent her whole childhood with pets).

Now as a parent of two teenagers, she’s made sure to raise her daughters to learn how to love and care for pets (and other animals) in the most responsible and loving ways. As a result, she and her daughters now have 5 rescued dogs and cats who essentially rule their home! Sally has also volunteered over the years to help raise funds for various animal nonprofit organizations.

Disclaimer: The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.

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A A Ownby
Did you do anything to qualify the accuracy of the test? You could have sent multiple samples of the same dog’s DNA to see if the test was consistent, sent in DNA for a dog of known parentage, and sent the same DNA to multiple companies for testing, for example. Believing the year is accurate because it gave you what you expected is not very scientific or particularly helpful.

I have two complete and utter mutts. I would love to know what all is in there. However, without having some idea of the test’s breed accuracy, the $200 for each test would be better used to support my local shelters.

Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Take a look at this article and you can see where we tested two dna tests on the same dog. Find out if the results were the same or not.
Alex
Embark DNA is a scam! I sent them samples they requested by overnight shipping. It cost me over $150. Then 6 months later I still never heard back whether they processed them. Zero response from their team that was so responsive before I sent the samples. They say on their website they take customer satisfaction seriously but they clearly do not. Please do not support this scam of a company and waste your time/money!
Cynthia
Just curious, did you also upload a photo of your dog when you created your Embark account?
Michelle Schenker (Admin)
No, I did not upload a photo of Bella to our account but you can if you want to.
Kristen
Will this test tell us if our feral rescue dog is part cyote?
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Here is a list of breeds that are tested for Embark DNA. Coyote isn’t a dog breed, so it’s not on the list. You pose a very interesting question! I suggest reaching out to Embark and asking. Let us know what you find out!