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My Review and Experience Using Embark’s Dog Breed DNA Test and Health Screening Kit

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Guys, I have to tell you, I’ve been having a bit of an identity crisis. I recently had Dustin’s DNA tested with Embark and I found out he isn’t really a terrier mix like I have been thinking for the last 7 years.

For those of you who do not know, Embark is a company that tests your dog’s saliva to analyze their DNA. They are affiliated with Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine and use over 200K genetic markers to determine your dogs breed identification, to show you your dog’s family tree, and to screen your dog for over 165 genetic health conditions.

The first step in the process is to order their kit. It is a box that comes in the mail like anything else you order. It includes an activation kit, a swab, a return box, and instructions. The process was overall really easy- although Dustin didn’t love it. I simply activated the kit on their website. Then I swabbed the inside of Dustin’s cheek for 60 seconds. Next, I sealed the swab, packaged it in the provided return box, and headed off to the post office to mail it back (return postage was included).

 

The next step was waiting. And waiting.

Embark did a really good job keeping me updated throughout the process. They let me know when they received the kit, when his DNA began processing, when his health results were ready, and then when his breed results were ready.

The timeline that I experienced was:

December 2- Kit received, account created, swab performed

December 4- Embark said my kit was in transit

December 8- Embark received the kit

December 15- Embark’s lab began genotyping Dustin’s sample

December 22- Embark updated me that Dustin’s sample was still genotyping

December 31- Embark notified me that Dustin’s health results were ready to view

Thankfully Dustin’s health results came back 172 out of 172 tests clear. It means that he is not genetically predisposed to any of the diseases that Embark tests for. Dustin has had a fair share of problems with his eyes so I was actually surprised that he was negative for all 172- I had been expecting some to come back positive.

January 1- Embark sent me a final email letting me know that Dustin’s breed results were ready

Now let me tell you, I was so excited to view Dustin’s breed results. I was also SHOCKED. They were not what I was expecting at all. Drum roll please, and here they are!

Dustin is 28% mini poodle and this is the breed with the highest percentage. You guys, I have a freaking poodle. I can’t believe it. My scruffy terrier mix is a poodle. Or as my dad and I decided, a Germapoo Terrier (German shepherd, poodle, yorkie, pitbull mix. Get it? ;).

Now the question is, what do these results ultimately mean? How will they affect us? And I think my honest answer is they don’t really mean much and they really won’t affect anything. Finding out Dustin’s breed has not changed the relationship that I have with him, it doesn’t affect how I will interact with him, how I interpret his behavior, or any training that I do with him. At the end of the day his breed doesn’t matter. What is important for me to do is to analyze the individual in front of me, and do what is best for that dog based on their behavior and their environment; whether it is Dustin or any other dog.

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