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Kona

West Asian Village Dog

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  • Photo of Kona, a West Asian Village Dog  in Bahrain Photo of Kona, a West Asian Village Dog  in Bahrain

“Kona was part of a litter found together in the desert of Bahrain when some monster(s) poisoned the entire pack. The litter was found by kindly people who’d been caring for the tame and friendly pack of “wild” dogs. The most common dogs I saw in Bahrain were saluki’s, huskies, german shepherd’s, and golden retrievers. Kona definitely has the unpredictability claimed to be common of “desert dogs” but has been a joy for me and companion for my elderly mom. Loves, but not too closely.”

Place of Birth

Bahrain

Current Location

Iowa, USA

From

Bahrain

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Genetic Breed Result

West Asian Village Dog

Village dog trace breed analysis

Village dogs often have short stretches of DNA that match purebred dogs, due to a distant common ancestor or a more recent mating between a purebred and a village dog. Kona has short stretches of DNA in common with these breeds:

What exactly are village dogs?

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, West Asian 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 Kona back, you won’t find any ancestral dogs that are part of any of those standardized breeds.

West Asian Village Dog

West Asian village dogs were instrumental in dog evolution. From this region, dogs spread across Africa and Europe, where eventually they were bred to become most of the hundreds of dog breeds we know today.

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Village dogs 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. Kona 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 Kona's DNA to a global panel of thousands of village dogs. This plot highlights regions of the world where Kona's DNA is most similar to those village dogs. The areas of darkest red reflect the greatest similarity to our village dog panel.

Village Dog Map
Similarity to village dog groups around the world. Darker red reflects greater similarity.

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Through Kona’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.

Haplogroup

A1b

Haplotype

A361/409/611

Map

A1b

Kona’s Haplogroup

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!

A361/409/611

Kona’s Haplotype

Part of the A1b haplogroup, this haplotype occurs most frequently in German Shepherd Dogs, Poodles, and Shiloh Shepherds.

Some other Embark dogs with this haplotype:

A1b is the most common haplogroup found in German Shepherds.

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Through Kona’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.

Haplogroup

D

Haplotype

H10.2

Map

D

Kona’s Haplogroup

The D paternal lineage is very common in well-known populations of dogs. Breeds belonging to the D lineage likely have direct male ancestors that can be traced all the way back to the origin of domestic dogs themselves! One popular breed that commonly sports a D lineage is the Boxer. Boxers were developed in the late 19th century from Mastiff dogs, so it is no surprise that D is well represented among Mastiffs, Bulldogs, as well as Terriers. Intriguingly, D is also found among Lhasa Apsos, an ancient Tibetan breed, and Afghan Hounds. While the presence of this lineage in Polynesia or the New World can be chalked up to interbreeding with European dogs brought during voyages of discovery or later settlement, D is also well represented among village dog populations in the Middle East and Africa. If the fact that we find dogs bearing a D lineage in the Middle East (not to mention the large amount of diversity among Middle Eastern D lineage males) is any indication of ancient residence in that region, then the presence among Oceanian village dogs is peculiar. Rather, it may be that D is part of a broader Eurasian group of ancient paternal lineages which disappeared from the eastern portion of its original range, persisting in the island of New Guinea as well as West Asia and Africa. With the rise of Mastiff breeds, the D lineage received a new life as it became common among many types of working dogs.

H10.2

Kona’s Haplotype

Part of the D haplogroup, we have detected this rare haplotype in village dogs in Qatar.

Some other Embark dogs with this haplotype:

The D paternal lineage is common in Boxers.

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