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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.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Features
- Personal Experience
- What Does The Wolfiness Score Mean?
- How Does Dog DNA Testing Work? (Video)
- Is Embark Worth It?
- 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
- Expensive for the health test and genome sequencing
- 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
Embark is offering Canine Journal readers a December sale: $30 off Breed + Health Kits with code: JOY30 and $10 off Breed ID its with code: BREED10 (through December 31, 2019). Just use this link to get started.
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:
- 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.
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.
Check out Embark’s video to see how their dog DNA test works and what it can tell you about your pup.
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?
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