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Please note that genetic age is different from calendar age. We cannot (yet) estimate calendar age—how long since your dog was born—from DNA. To learn how vets estimate calendar age you can read How old is your dog? How veterinarians estimate dog age.
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?
|Calendar age||Genetic age|
|1 year||17 human years|
|2 years||25 human years|
|3 years||31 human years|
|4 years||37 human years|
|5 years||44 human years|
|6 years||50 human years|
|7 years||57 human years|
|8 years||63 human years|
|9 years||70 human years|
|10 years||76 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 his ancestors decreases with each generation above him: he shares longer segments with his mom than his grandma, longer segments with his grandma than his great-grandma, and so on.
We can use the length of segments FREEDOM 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 FREEDOM has, without a doubt, a relative from that breed. By testing over 200,000 genetic markers, we build up his 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.
Look closely and you'll probably find FREEDOM has some physical and/or behavioral resemblance with his ancestor's breeds. The exact similarity depends on which parts of DNA FREEDOM 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 FREEDOM'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!
“Freedom is a Vietnamese Phu Quoc ridgeback, one of only a few thousand in the world.”
|Predicted Adult Weight:||61 lbs Learn More|
|Genetic Age:||23 human years Learn More|
Would you like more information? Have you found a lost dog wearing an Embark dog tag? You can contact us at:
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.
The E Locus determines if and where a dog can produce dark (black or brown) hair. Dogs with two copies of the recessive e allele do not produce dark hairs at all, and will be “red” over their entire body. The shade of red, which can range from a deep copper to yellow/gold to cream, is dependent on other genetic factors including the Intensity (I) Locus, which has yet to be genetically mapped. In addition to determining if a dog can develop dark hairs at all, the E Locus 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 the Em allele usually have a melanistic mask (dark facial hair as commonly seen in the German Shepherd and Pug). Dogs with no copies of Em but one or two copies of the Eg allele usually have a melanistic "widow's peak" (dark forehead hair as commonly seen in the Afghan Hound and Borzoi, where it is called either “grizzle” or “domino”).
More information: http://www.doggenetics.co.uk/masks.html
The K Locus KB allele “overrides” the A Locus, meaning that it prevents the A Locus genotype from affecting coat color. For this reason, the KB allele is referred to as the “dominant black” allele. As a result, dogs with at least one KB allele will usually have solid black or brown coats (or red/cream coats if they are ee at the E Locus) regardless of their genotype at the A Locus, although several other genes could impact the dog’s coat and cause other patterns, such as white spotting. Dogs with the kyky genotype will show a coat color pattern based on the genotype they have at the A Locus.
Citations: Candille et al 2007
More information: http://www.doggenetics.co.uk/black.htm
The A Locus controls switching between black and red pigment in hair cells, but it will only be expressed in dogs that are not ee at the E Locus and are kyky at the K Locus. Sable (also called “Fawn”) dogs have a mostly or entirely red coat with some interspersed black hairs. Agouti (also called “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.
More information: http://www.doggenetics.co.uk/tan.html
Dogs with two copies of the d allele will have all black pigment lightened (“diluted”) to gray, or brown pigment lightened to lighter brown in their hair, skin, and sometimes eyes. There are many breed-specific names for these dilute colors, such as “blue”, “charcoal”, “fawn”, “silver”, and “Isabella”. Note that dilute dogs have a higher incidence of Color Dilution Alopecia, especially in certain breeds. Dogs with one copy of the d allele will not be dilute, but can pass the d allele on to their puppies.
More information: http://www.doggenetics.co.uk/dilutes.html
Dogs with two copies of the b allele produce brown pigment instead of black in both their hair and skin. Dogs with one copy of the b allele will produce black pigment, but can pass the b allele on to their puppies. E Locus ee dogs that carry two b alleles will have red or cream coats, but have brown noses, eye rims, and footpads (sometimes referred to as "Dudley Nose" in Labrador Retrievers). “Liver” or “chocolate” is the preferred color term for brown in most breeds; in the Doberman Pinscher it is referred to as “red”.
Citations: Schmutz et al 2002
More information: http://www.doggenetics.co.uk/liver.html
The "Saddle Tan" pattern causes the black hairs to recede into a "saddle" shape on the back, leaving a tan face, legs, and belly, as a dog ages. The Saddle Tan pattern is characteristic of breeds like the Corgi, Beagle, and German Shepherd. Dogs that have the II genotype at this locus 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. This gene modifies the A Locus at allele, so dogs that do not express at are not influenced by this gene.
Citations: Dreger et al 2013
Dogs with one or two copies of the F allele have “furnishings”: the mustache, beard, and eyebrows characteristic of breeds like the Schnauzer, Scottish Terrier, and Wire Haired Dachshund. A dog with two I alleles will not have furnishings, which is sometimes called an “improper coat” in breeds where furnishings are part of the breed standard. The mutation is a genetic insertion which we measure indirectly using a linkage test highly correlated with the insertion.
Citations: Cadieu et al 2010
The FGF5 gene is known to affect hair length in many different species, including cats, dogs, mice, and humans. In dogs, the T allele confers a long, silky haircoat as observed in the Yorkshire Terrier and the Long Haired Whippet. The ancestral G allele causes a shorter coat as seen in the Boxer or the American Staffordshire Terrier. In certain breeds (such as Corgi), the long haircoat is described as “fluff.”
Dogs with at least one copy of the ancestral C allele, like many Labradors and German Shepherd Dogs, are heavy or seasonal shedders, while those with two copies of the T allele, including many Boxers, Shih Tzus and Chihuahuas, tend to be lighter shedders. Dogs with furnished/wire-haired coats caused by RSPO2 (the furnishings gene) tend to be low shedders regardless of their genotype at this gene.
Citations: Hayward et al 2016
Dogs with a long coat and at least one copy of the T allele have a wavy or curly coat characteristic of Poodles and Bichon Frises, while dogs with two copies of the ancestral C allele have a straight coat. Dogs with short coats may carry one or two copies of the T allele but still have straight coats.
Citations: Cadieu et al 2010
A duplication in the FOXI3 gene causes hairlessness over most of the body as well as changes in tooth shape and number. This mutation occurs in Peruvian Inca Orchid, Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless), and Chinese Crested (other hairless breeds have different mutations). Dogs with the NDup genotype are likely to be hairless while dogs with the NN genotype are likely to have a normal coat. The DupDup genotype has never been observed, suggesting that dogs with that genotype cannot survive to birth. Please note that this is a linkage test, so it may not be as predictive as direct tests of the mutation in some lines.
Citations: Drogemuller et al 2008
Hairlessness in the American Hairless Terrier arises from a mutation in the SGK3 gene. Dogs with the ND genotype are likely to be hairless while dogs with the NN genotype are likely to have a normal coat.
Citations: Parker et al 2016
Dogs with two copies DD of this deletion in the SLC45A2 gene have oculocutaneous albinism type 2 (OCA2), also known as Doberman Z Factor Albinism, a recessive condition characterized by severely reduced or absent pigment in the eyes, skin, and hair. Affected dogs sometimes suffer from vision problems due to lack of eye pigment (which helps direct and absorb ambient light) and are prone to sunburn. Dogs with a single copy of the deletion ND will not be affected but can pass the mutation on to their offspring. 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. Please note that this is a linkage test, so it may not be as predictive as direct tests of the mutation in some lines.
Citations: Winkler et al 2014
Dogs in medium-length muzzle (mesocephalic) breeds like Staffordshire Terriers and Labradors, and long muzzle (dolichocephalic) breeds like Whippet and Collie have one, or more commonly two, copies of the ancestral C allele. Dogs in many short-length muzzle (brachycephalic) breeds such as the English Bulldog, Pug, and Pekingese have two copies of the derived A allele. At least five different genes affect muzzle length in dogs, with BMP3 being the only one with a known causal mutation. For example, the skull shape of some breeds, including the dolichocephalic Scottish Terrier or the brachycephalic Japanese Chin, appear to be caused by other genes. Thus, dogs may have short or long muzzles due to other genetic factors that are not yet known to science.
Citations: Schoenbeck et al 2012
Whereas most dogs have two C alleles and a long tail, dogs with one G allele are likely to have a bobtail, which is an unusually short or absent tail. This mutation causes natural bobtail in many 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 the GG genotype do not survive to birth.
Please note that this mutation does not explain every natural bobtail! 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, these breeds do not have this mutation. This suggests that other unknown genetic mutations can also lead to a natural bobtail.
Common in certain breeds such as the Saint Bernard, hind dewclaws are extra, nonfunctional digits located midway between a dog's paw and hock. Dogs with at least one copy of the T allele have about a 50% chance of having hind dewclaws. Note that other (currently unknown to science) mutations can also cause hind dewclaws, so some TT or TC dogs will have hind dewclaws.
Citations: Park et al 2008
Embark researchers discovered this large duplication associated with blue eyes in Arctic breeds like Siberian Husky as well as tri-colored (non-merle) Australian Shepherds. Dogs with at least one copy of the duplication (Dup) are more likely to have at least one blue eye. Some dogs with the duplication may have only one blue eye (complete heterochromia) or may not have blue eyes at all; nevertheless, they can still pass the duplication and the trait to their offspring. NN dogs do not carry this duplication, but may have blue eyes due to other factors, such as merle. Please note that this is a linkage test, so it may not be as predictive as direct tests of the mutation in some lines.
Citations: Deane-Coe et al 2018
The T allele is associated with 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. The “bulky” T allele is absent from leaner shaped large breed dogs like the Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, and Scottish Deerhound, which are fixed for the ancestral C allele. Note that this mutation does not seem to affect muscling in small or even mid-sized dog breeds with notable back muscling, including the American Staffordshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, and the English Bulldog.
Citations: Plassais et al 2017
The I allele is associated with smaller body size.
Citations: Sutter et al 2007
The A allele is associated with smaller body size.
Citations: Hoopes et al 2012
The A allele is associated with smaller body size.
Citations: Rimbault et al 2013
The A allele is associated with smaller body size.
Citations: Rimbault et al 2013
The T allele is associated with smaller body size.
Citations: Rimbault et al 2013
This mutation causes dogs to be especially tolerant of low oxygen environments (hypoxia), such as those found at high elevations. Dogs with at least one A allele are less susceptible to "altitude sickness." This mutation was originally identified in breeds from high altitude areas such as the Tibetan Mastiff.
Citations: Gou et al 2014
Through FREEDOM’s mitochondrial DNA we can trace his mother’s ancestry back to where dogs and people first became friends. This map helps you visualize the routes that his ancestors took to your home. Their story is described below the map.
B1 is the second most common maternal lineage in breeds of European or American origin. It is the female line of the majority of Golden Retrievers, Basset Hounds, and Shih Tzus, and about half of Beagles, Pekingese and Toy Poodles. This lineage is also somewhat common among village dogs that carry distinct ancestry from these breeds. We know this is a result of B1 dogs being common amongst the European dogs that their conquering owners brought around the world, because nowhere on earth is it a very common lineage in village dogs. It even enables us to trace the path of (human) colonization: Because most Bichons are B1 and Bichons are popular in Spanish culture, B1 is now fairly common among village dogs in Latin America.
Part of the large B1 haplogroup, we see this haplotype in village dogs across the world, including those from Central America, the Middle East, South Asia, and the French Polynesian Islands. Among the 31 breed dogs we see it in, we see it in Poodles, Otterhounds, and Labrador Retrievers. It is also our most commonly-sampled Golden Retriever haplotype!
Some other Embark dogs with this haplotype:
Through FREEDOM’s Y-chromosome we can trace his father’s ancestry back to where dogs and people first became friends. This map helps you visualize the routes that his ancestors took to your home. Their story is described below the map.
A is the distant relative of some of the most numerous paternal lineages in the world. Characterized by a single sub-lineage, this is a rare and interesting paternal line! The A line is found most commonly in Siberian Huskies and in Alaskan village dogs. It seems plausible that this paternal lineage diverged within the last 10,000 years from a group arriving with the first Arctic explorers. The recent ancestors of dogs with this lineage actually allowed humans to survive in some of the most forbidding conditions on the face of the earth!
The lone member of the A haplogroup, this haplotype occurs most commonly in Siberian Huskies and village dogs from Alaska.
Some other Embark dogs with this haplotype: