The genetic age that we report is an estimation of where your dog is in his or her healthspan.
Dogs age at very different rates due to a number of genetic and environmental factors. Body size is a strong genetic influence: for example, a seven year old Great Dane is at the start of his golden years, but a seven year old Pomeranian is just learning what "slow down" means. Just within this example, you can see that the old "one doggie year = seven human years" adage isn’t going to work.
And yet, knowing your dog’s age is important: it informs what your dog needs as far as food, frequency of veterinary checkups, and exercise. So how do you best determine how old your dog is?
Embark's genetic age feature calculates how old your dog would be if he or she were aging at an average human rate (using humans in the USA as the baseline). So going back to our Dane/Pom example, we'd estimate a seven year old Great Dane at about 80 years old (senior citizen), but a seven year old Pom would be about 42 (adult). Makes way more sense, right?
Personalized genetic age table for Elsy
17 human years
25 human years
31 human years
37 human years
43 human years
49 human years
55 human years
61 human years
67 human years
74 human years
All we need from you is a calendar age. It's okay if this is an estimation: it is just a starting point. We then factor in your dog's breed composition, information at certain genes that affect size, and their inbreeding coefficient to calculate genetic age. Like in humans, in dogs females tend to live longer than males (so an “80 year old” female dog = 80 year old woman). Exercise and diet also play a role in how long your dog will live. Nevertheless, genetic age is the primary risk factor for numerous diseases in dogs, including cancer, kidney disease, osteoarthritis, cataracts, cardiac disease and cognitive decline. It can help you and your vet know what you should feed your dog, what screenings to get, and other aspects of your dog’s care.
How wolfy is my dog?
Most dogs have wolfiness scores of 1% or less. We find populations and breeds with higher scores of 2-4% occasionally, and unique dogs with scores of 5% or above more rarely.
What it means for my dog
Your dog’s Wolfiness Score is not a measure of recent dog-wolf hybridization and does not necessarily indicate that your dog has some recent wolf ancestors. (If your dog has recent wolf ancestors, you will see that in the breed mix report.) Instead, the Wolfiness Score is based on the number of ancient genetic variants your dog has in our unique Wolfiness marker panel. Wolfiness scores up to 10% are almost always due to ancient wolf genes that survived many generations, rather than any recent wolf ancestors. These ancient genes may be a few thousand years old, or may even date back to the original domestication event 15,000 years ago. They are bits of a wild past that survive in your dog!
Your dog’s Wolfiness Score is based on hundreds of markers across the genome where dogs (or almost all of them) are the same, but wolves tend to be different. These markers are thought to be related to "domestication gene sweeps" where early dogs were selected for some trait. Scientists have known about “domestication gene sweeps” for years, but do not yet know why each sweep occurred. By finding rare dogs carrying an ancient variant at a certain marker, we can make associations with behavior, size, metabolism, and development that likely caused these unique signatures of “doggyness” in the genome.
Predicted Adult Weight
How does weight matter?
For people with puppies, you probably want to know how big of a crate to buy or just how big to expect your dog to become. But genetic weight is also useful for people with fully grown dogs. Just like with people, overweight and obese dogs suffer reduced length and quality of life. They can develop chronic health conditions and suffer from limited mobility and other issues. While over half of American dogs are overweight or obese, fewer than 15% of their owners realize it. By comparing your dog’s weight to their genetic predicted weight you have one more piece of information about their ideal weight. With this and other pieces of information like weight history and body condition, you and your veterinarian may want to discuss your dog’s diet, exercise, and weight control plan to give your pup the longest, healthiest life possible.
How do we predict weight?
Our test is the only dog DNA test that provides true genetic size not based just on breed ancestry but based on over a dozen genes known to influence a dog’s weight. It uses the most advanced science to determine your dog’s expected weight based on their sex, the combination of these genes, and breed-specific modifiers.
How accurate is the predicted weight?
Unlike in people, healthy weight in dogs is controlled largely by only a few genes. Our algorithm explains over 85% of the variance in healthy adult weight. However, due to a few as-yet-undiscovered genes and genetic interactions that affect size, this algorithm sometimes misses. Occasionally it misses by a fairly large amount especially when a dog has a breed with an unknown size-influencing gene. If we have missed your dog’s weight, your dog may be a scientific discovery waiting to happen! Please be sure to go to the Research tab and complete the Nutrition & Exercise assessment, where you can answer the question "Has your dog been weighed in the past 3 months, and if so how much does he or she weigh" by telling us your dog’s actual weight. This information will inform our ongoing research into weight, nutrition and exercise in dogs.
Revealing your dog’s ancient heritage
Haplotypes are particular DNA sequences that are inherited entirely from a dog’s mom (maternal) or dad (paternal).
Because they are inherited whole, your dog and his or her mom share the exact same maternal haplotype.
If you have a male dog, your dog and his dad share the exact same paternal haplotype (female dogs don’t inherit paternal haplotypes).
Because most breeds were started with only a few individual dogs, many breeds are dominated by only one or a few haplotypes.
Revealing your dog’s ancient heritage
Haplogroups are groups of similar DNA sequences (called haplotypes) that are inherited entirely from the mother (maternal) or father (paternal) and don’t get shuffled up like other parts of your dog’s genome.
These groups all originally descend from one male or female wolf, usually one that lived tens of thousands of years ago.
Because they are inherited whole and not shuffled like other DNA, they can be used to trace the ancestral routes that dogs took around the globe en route to your home.
Only male dogs have paternal haplogroups because they are determined by the Y chromosome, which only male dogs have. Both males and females have maternal haplogroups, which come from a part of DNA called the mitochondrial DNA.
Breed analysis is based on comparing your dog’s DNA with the DNA of dogs from over 250 breeds, types and varieties.
How are Elsy's ancestors represented in her DNA?
All dogs are related and share some DNA. Siblings share lots of their DNA (half of it in fact), cousins share a bit less (an eighth), and so on. Because dog breeds are made up of a closed group of dogs, all dogs in that breed share a lot of their DNA, typically about as much as second cousins, though it varies by breed. Different breeds that are closely related share somewhat less DNA, and dogs from very different breeds share even less DNA (but still much more DNA than either dog shares with a cat).
DNA is inherited in pieces, called chromosomes, that are passed along from parent to offspring. Each generation, these chromosomes are broken up and shuffled a bit in a process known as recombination. So, the length of the segments your dog shares with her ancestors decreases with each generation above her: she shares longer segments with her mom than her grandma, longer segments with her grandma than her great-grandma, and so on.
How does Embark know which breeds are in Elsy?
We can use the length of segments Elsy shares with our reference dogs to see how many generations it has been since they last shared an ancestor. Long segments of DNA that are identical to known purebred dogs tell Embark's scientists that Elsy has, without a doubt, a relative from that breed. By testing over 200,000 genetic markers, we build up her genes one DNA segment at a time, to learn the ancestry with great certainty. Other dog DNA tests look at many fewer genetic markers and have to take a guess at breed ancestry based on that.
What does this mean for Elsy's looks and behavior?
Look closely and you'll probably find Elsy has some physical and/or behavioral resemblance with her ancestor's breeds. The exact similarity depends on which parts of DNA Elsy shares with each breed. Some traits associated with each breed are listed in the Breed & Ancestry section of our website. Embark will tell you even more about Elsy's traits soon!
P.S. In a small proportion of cases, we find dogs that don’t share segments with other dogs we have tested, indicating the presence of a rare breed that is not part of our reference panel or possibly a true "village dog" without any purebred relatives at all. In these rare cases we contact the owner to find out more and let them know about their unique dog before they get their results. With this in-depth detective work, we are pushing science forward by identifying genetically unique groups of dogs.
Yes! Some dogs descend from other dogs that were themselves mixed breed. These other dogs can give small contributions to the ancestry of your dog, so small that they are no longer recognizable as any one particular breed. We call this portion unresolved or “Supermutt” since it confers super powers! Just kidding. But we do think supermutts really are super!
“Anatolian/Kangal Shepherd Dog from Turkey. Protector of her realm. Sweet, huge, independent, nocturnal and way too smart. Loves goats, my other dogs, digging craters and stealing my stuff. Dislikes include coyotes, birds of prey, being in the house at night, and coming when called.”
Village dogs are the free-breeding, free-roaming “outside” dogs found around the world living in and around human settlements big and small. They are also known as island dogs, pariah dogs, or free-ranging dogs.
Many village dog populations precede the formation of modern breed dogs.
They make up about 3/4s of the billion or so dogs living on Earth today. They serve as trash cleaners, sentinels, and even sometimes companions while still retaining much of their freedom. Embark’s founders have studied village dogs on six continents since 2007 in their efforts to understand the history, traits, and health of the domestic dog. Through this work they have discovered the origins of the dog in Central Asia, and also identified genetic regions involved in domestication and local adaptation, such as the high altitude adaptation in Himalayan dogs. Embark is the only dog DNA test that includes diverse village dogs from around the world in its breed reference panel.
So what breeds are in my dog?
In a very real sense, Middle Eastern Village Dog is the actual breed of your dog. Village dogs like this descend from separate lines of dogs than the lines that have been bred into standardized breeds like Labradors and Poodles. If you trace the family tree of Elsy back, you won’t find any ancestral dogs that are part of any of those standardized breeds.
The oldest known dog remains are from Israel, where dogs have been loved by humans, and buried with them, for over 12,000 years. Middle Eastern village dogs were instrumental in dog evolution. From the Middle East, dogs spread to Africa and Europe, where eventually they were bred to become most of the hundreds of dog breeds we know today. Dogs that remained in the Middle East took on the iconic form of the saluki, sleek and cool under the desert sun.
have lived just about everywhere across the world for thousands of years. Long
before there were any recognized dog breeds, there were village dogs around the fires and trash heaps of early human
villages. Elsy is part of this ancient heritage, not descended from a specific
breed, but continuing the ancient lineage of dogs that were our first, best friends.
Embark's co-founders studied Village Dogs on six continents in their efforts to understand the history, traits, and
health of the domestic dog. Through this work, they discovered evidence for the origins of the dog in Central Asia
, and they also identified
genetic regions involved in domestication and local adaptation. As a result, Embark has the largest Village Dog
reference panel of any canine genetics company.
We compared Elsy's DNA to a global panel of thousands of village dogs.
This plot highlights regions of the world where Elsy's DNA is most similar to
those village dogs. The areas of darkest red reflect the greatest similarity to our village dog panel.
A genetic health condition indicates a genetic mutation that increases the risk that
an animal develops a specific disease. For example, having two copies of a
mutation in the PRCD gene increases the risk for developing a type of
Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which is a condition that causes vision loss in dogs.
A clinical trait is a genetic mutation that is NOT associated with increased risk
for a specific disease, but could influence how your veterinarian interprets your dog’s clinical data,
or how they determine your dog’s diagnostic, monitoring, or treatment plan.
Vets are often able to make use of clinical trait information during their practice.
For example, Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT), is a value that vets measure in routine bloodwork.
Learning if your dog's ALT values are normal or not from a DNA test can
help your vet better understand bloodwork results in relation to your dog's liver health.
DNA sequences that are close together on a chromosome tend to be inherited together. Because of this, we can use genetic variation surrounding a mutation (i.e. "linked" to it) to infer the presence or absence of a mutation of interest.
Linkage tests do not directly assay a mutation of interest; therefore, they may not be perfectly predictive of your dog’s true genotype.
Explore the genetics behind your dog’s appearance, size, and genetic diversity.
Base Coat Color
Dark or Light Fur
E (Extension) Locus
Can have dark fur
Melanocortin Receptor 1 (MC1R)
This gene helps determine whether a dog can produce dark (black or brown) hairs or lighter yellow or red hairs. Any result except for ee means that the dog can produce dark hairs. An ee result means that the dog does not produce dark hairs at all, and will have lighter yellow or red hairs over their entire body.
Did You Know?
If a dog has a ee result then the fur’s actual shade can range from a deep copper to yellow/gold to cream - the exact color cannot be predicted solely from this result, and will depend on other genetic factors.
This gene helps determine whether a dog produces brown or black pigments. Dogs with a bb result produce brown pigment instead of black in both their hair and skin, while dogs with a Bb or BB result produce black pigment. Dogs that have ee at the E (Extension) Locus and bb at this B (Brown) Locus are likely to have red or cream coats and brown noses, eye rims, and footpads, which is sometimes referred to as "Dudley Nose" in Labrador Retrievers.
Did You Know?
“Liver” or “chocolate” is the preferred color term for brown in most breeds; in the Doberman Pinscher it is referred to as “red”.
This gene helps determine whether a dog has lighter “diluted” pigment. A dog with a Dd or DD result will not be dilute. A dog with a dd result will have all their black or brown pigment lightened (“diluted”) to gray or light brown, and sometimes lightens red pigment to cream. This affects their fur, skin, and sometimes eye color.
Did You Know?
There are many breed-specific names for these dilute colors, such as “blue”, “charcoal”, “fawn”, “silver”, and “Isabella”. Dilute dogs, especially in certain breeds, have a higher incidence of Color Dilution Alopecia which causes hair loss in some patches.
This gene helps determine whether the dog has a black coat. Dogs with a kyky result will show a coat color pattern based on the result they have at the A (Agouti) Locus. A KBKB or KBky result means the dog is dominant black, which overrides the fur pattern that would otherwise be determined by the A (Agouti) Locus. These dogs will usually have solid black or brown coats, or if they have ee at the E (Extension) Locus then red/cream coats, regardless of their result at the A (Agouti) Locus. Dogs who test as KBky may be brindle rather than black or brown.
Did You Know?
Even if a dog is “dominant black” several other genes could still impact the dog’s fur and cause other patterns, such as white spotting.
This gene is responsible for causing different coat patterns. It only affects the fur of dogs that do not have ee at the E (Extension) Locus and do have kyky at the K (Dominant Black) Locus. It controls switching between black and red pigment in hair cells, which means that it can cause a dog to have hairs that have sections of black and sections of red/cream, or hairs with different colors on different parts of the dog’s body. Sable or Fawn dogs have a mostly or entirely red coat with some interspersed black hairs. Agouti or Wolf Sable dogs have red hairs with black tips, mostly on their head and back. Black and tan dogs are mostly black or brown with lighter patches on their cheeks, eyebrows, chest, and legs. Recessive black dogs have solid-colored black or brown coats.
Did You Know?
The ASIP gene causes interesting coat patterns in many other species of animals as well as dogs.
In addition to determining if a dog can develop dark fur at all, this gene can give a dog a black “mask” or “widow’s peak,” unless the dog has overriding coat color genetic factors. Dogs with one or two copies of Em in their result will have a mask, which is dark facial fur as seen in the German Shepherd and Pug. Dogs with no Em in their result but one or two copies of Eg will instead have a "widow's peak", which is dark forehead fur.
Did You Know?
The widow’s peak is seen in the Afghan Hound and Borzoi, where it is called either “grizzle” or “domino”.
The RALY gene is responsible for the Saddle Tan coat pattern, where a dog's black hairs recede into a "saddle" shape on the back as the dog ages, leaving a tan face, legs, and belly. This gene only impacts dogs that have atat at the A (Agouti) Locus, do not have ee at the E (Extension) Locus, and do not have KB at the K (Dominant Black) Locus. Dogs with one or two copies of the normal "N" allele are likely to have a saddle tan pattern. Dogs that with a II result (where "I" represents the mutant allele) are more likely to be mostly black with tan points on the eyebrows, muzzle, and legs as commonly seen in the Doberman Pinscher and the Rottweiler.
Did You Know?
The Saddle Tan pattern is characteristic of breeds like the Corgi, Beagle, and German Shepherd.
This gene is responsible for mottled or patchy coat color in some dogs. Dogs with an M*m result are likely to have merle coat patterning or be "phantom" merle (where the merle allele is not obvious in their coat). Dogs with an M*M* result are likely to have merle or double merle coat patterning. Dogs with an mm result are unlikely to have a merle coat pattern.
Did You Know?
Merle coat patterning is common to several dog breeds including the Australian Shepherd, Catahoula Leopard Dog, and Shetland Sheepdog.
Likely unfurnished (no mustache, beard, and/or eyebrows)
This gene is responsible for “furnishings”, which is another name for the mustache, beard, and eyebrows that are characteristic of breeds like the Schnauzer, Scottish Terrier, and Wire Haired Dachshund. A dog with an FF or FI result is likely to have furnishings. A dog with an II result will not have furnishings. We measure this result using a linkage test.
Did You Know?
In breeds that are expected to have furnishings, dogs without furnishings are the exception - this is sometimes called an “improper coat”.
This gene is known to affect hair/fur length in many different species, including cats, dogs, mice, and humans. In dogs, a TT result means the dog is likely to have a long, silky coat as seen in the Yorkshire Terrier and the Long Haired Whippet. A GG or GT result is likely to mean a shorter coat, like in the Boxer or the American Staffordshire Terrier.
Did You Know?
In certain breeds, such as Corgi, the long coat is described as “fluff.”
This gene affects how much a dog sheds. Dogs with furnishings or wire-haired coats tend to be low shedders regardless of their result for this gene. In other dogs, a CC or CT result indicates heavy or seasonal shedding, like many Labradors and German Shepherd Dogs. Dogs with a TT result tend to be lighter shedders, like Boxers, Shih Tzus and Chihuahuas.
For dogs with long fur, dogs with a TT or CT result will likely have a wavy or curly coat like the coat of Poodles and Bichon Frises. Dogs with a CC result will likely have a straight coat—unless the dog has a "Likely Furnished" result for the Furnishings trait, since this can also make the coat more curly.
Did You Know?
Dogs with short coats may have straight coats, whatever result they have for this gene.
This gene can cause hairlessness over most of the body as well as changes in tooth shape and number. This particular gene occurs in Peruvian Inca Orchid, Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless), and Chinese Crested; other hairless breeds are due to different genes. Dogs with the NDup result are likely to be hairless while dogs with the NN result are likely to have a normal coat. We measure this result using a linkage test.
Did You Know?
The DupDup result has never been observed, suggesting that dogs with that genotype cannot survive to birth.
This gene causes oculocutaneous albinism type 2 (OCA2), also known as Doberman Z Factor Albinism. Dogs with a DD result will have OCA2. Effects include severely reduced or absent pigment in the eyes, skin, and hair, and sometimes vision problems due to lack of eye pigment (which helps direct and absorb ambient light) and are prone to sunburn. Dogs with a ND result will not be affected, but can pass the mutation on to their offspring. We measure this result using a linkage test.
Did You Know?
This particular mutation can be traced back to a single white Doberman Pinscher born in 1976, and it has only been observed in dogs descended from this individual.
This gene affects muzzle length. A dog with a AC or CC result is likely to have a medium-length muzzle like a Staffordshire Terrier or Labrador, or a long muzzle like a Whippet or Collie. A dog with a AA result is likely to have a short muzzle, like an English Bulldog, Pug, or Pekingese.
Did You Know?
At least five different genes affect snout length in dogs, with BMP3 being the only one with a known causal mutation. For example, the muzzle length of some breeds, including the long-snouted Scottish Terrier or the short-snouted Japanese Chin, appear to be caused by other genes. This means your dog may have a long or short snout due to other genetic factors. Embark is working to figure out what these might be.
This is one of the genes that can cause a short bobtail. Most dogs have a CC result and a long tail. Dogs with a CG result are likely to have a bobtail, which is an unusually short or absent tail. This can be seen in many “natural bobtail” breeds including the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, the Australian Shepherd, and the Brittany Spaniel. Dogs with GG genotypes have not been observed, suggesting that dogs with such a result do not survive to birth.
Did You Know?
While certain lineages of Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, Rottweiler, Miniature Schnauzer, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and Parson Russell Terrier, and Dobermans are born with a natural bobtail, it is not always caused by this gene. This suggests that other unknown genetic effects can also lead to a natural bobtail.
This is one of the genes that can cause hind dew claws, which are extra, nonfunctional digits located midway between a dog's paw and hock. Dogs with a CT or TT result have about a 50% chance of having hind dewclaws. Hind dew claws can also be caused by other, still unknown, genes. Embark is working to figure those out.
Did You Know?
Hind dew claws are commonly found in certain breeds such as the Saint Bernard.
This gene can cause heavy muscling along the back and trunk in characteristically "bulky" large-breed dogs including the Saint Bernard, Bernese Mountain Dog, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and Rottweiler. A dog with the TT result is likely to have heavy muscling. Leaner-shaped large breed dogs like the Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, and Scottish Deerhound generally have a CC result. The TC result also indicates likely normal muscling.
Did You Know?
This gene does not seem to affect muscling in small or even mid-sized dog breeds with lots of back muscling, including the American Staffordshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, and the English Bulldog.
This gene is associated with blue eyes in Arctic breeds like Siberian Husky as well as tri-colored (non-merle) Australian Shepherds. Dogs with a DupDup or NDup result are more likely to have blue eyes, although some dogs may have only one blue eye or may not have blue eyes at all; nevertheless, they can still pass blue eyes to their offspring. Dogs with a NN result may have blue eyes due to other factors, such as merle or white spotting. We measure this result using a linkage test.
Did You Know?
Embark researchers discovered this gene by studying data from dogs like yours. Who knows what we will be able to discover next? Answer the questions on our research surveys to contribute to future discoveries!
Through Elsy’s mitochondrial DNA we can trace her mother’s ancestry back to where dogs and people first became friends.
This map helps you visualize the routes that her ancestors took to your home. Their story is described below the map.
This female lineage was very likely one of the original lineages in the wolves that were first domesticated into dogs in Central Asia about 15,000 years ago. Since then, the lineage has been very successful and travelled the globe! Dogs from this group are found in ancient Bronze Age fossils in the Middle East and southern Europe. By the end of the Bronze Age, it became exceedingly common in Europe. These dogs later became many of the dogs that started some of today's most popular breeds, like German Shepherds, Pugs, Whippets, English Sheepdogs and Miniature Schnauzers. During the period of European colonization, the lineage became even more widespread as European dogs followed their owners to far-flung places like South America and Oceania. It's now found in many popular breeds as well as village dogs across the world!
Part of the large A1b haplogroup, we see this haplotype in village dogs in over 25 countries across the world. We have detected this haplotype in lots of breeds, and it occurs most commonly in German Shepherd Dogs, Maltese, English Springer Spaniels, and English Setters.
The Paternal Haplotype reveals a dog’s deep ancestral lineage, stretching back thousands of years to the original domestication of dogs.
Are you looking for information on the breeds that Elsy inherited from her mom and dad? Check out her breed breakdown and family tree.
Paternal Haplotype is determined by looking at a dog’s Y-chromosome—but not all dogs have Y-chromosomes!
Why can’t we show Paternal Haplotype results for female dogs?
All dogs have two sex chromosomes. Female dogs have two X-chromosomes (XX) and male dogs have one X-chromosome and one Y-chromosome (XY). When having offspring, female (XX) dogs always pass an X-chromosome to their puppy. Male (XY) dogs can pass either an X or a Y-chromosome—if the puppy receives an X-chromosome from its father then it will be a female (XX) puppy and if it receives a Y-chromosome then it will be a male (XY) puppy.
As you can see, Y-chromosomes are passed down from a male dog only to its male offspring.
Since Elsy is a female (XX) dog, she has no Y-chromosome for us to analyze and determine a paternal haplotype.