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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||18 human years|
|2 years||25 human years|
|3 years||30 human years|
|4 years||35 human years|
|5 years||40 human years|
|6 years||46 human years|
|7 years||51 human years|
|8 years||56 human years|
|9 years||62 human years|
|10 years||67 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 Getting to know your dog survey, where you can answer questions about your dog’s current weight and body shape. This information will inform our ongoing research into the genetics of size and weight 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 analysisBreed analysis is based on comparing your dog’s DNA with the DNA of dogs from over 350 breeds, types and varieties.
How are Rhys's ancestors represented in his 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.
How does Embark know which breeds are in Rhys?
We can use the length of segments Rhys 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 Rhys 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.
What does this mean for Rhys's looks and behavior?
Look closely and you'll probably find Rhys has some physical and/or behavioral resemblance with his ancestor's breeds. The exact similarity depends on which parts of DNA Rhys 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 Rhys'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.
Still have questions?
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!
What are “Dogs Like Rhys?”
“Dogs Like Rhys” are based on the percentage of breeds the two dogs have in common. For example, two dogs that are both 27% Golden Retriever and 73% Poodle will have a score of 100%. Sometimes dogs with high scores look alike, and sometimes they don’t — either way the comparison is based on each dog’s unique DNA, which is much more accurate than judging by looks.
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Genetic Breed Result
The Schipperke is a small spitz-looking breed from Belgium. These guys were used as watch dogs and ratters, but today they can primarily be found as charming companions.
Based on the date of birth provided
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Explore the genetics behind your dog’s appearance and size.
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 loci. 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. Dogs who test as KBky may be brindle rather than black or brown.
More information: http://www.doggenetics.co.uk/black.htm
Areas of a dog's coat where dark (black or brown) pigment is not expressed either contain red/yellow pigment, or no pigment at all. Five locations across five chromosomes explain approximately 70% of red pigmentation "intensity" variation across all dogs. Dogs with a result of Intense Red Pigmentation will likely have deep red hair like an Irish Setter or "apricot" hair like some Poodles, dogs with a result of Intermediate Red Pigmentation will likely have tan or yellow hair like a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, and dogs with Dilute Red Pigmentation will likely have cream or white hair like a Samoyed. Because the mutations we test may not directly cause differences in red pigmentation intensity, we consider this to be a linkage test.
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
The D locus result that we report is determined by two different genetic variants that can work together to cause diluted pigmentation. These are the common d allele, also known as “d1”, and a less common allele known as “d2”. Dogs with two d alleles, regardless of which variant, 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 in certain breeds, dilute dogs have a higher incidence of Color Dilution Alopecia. Dogs with one d allele will not be dilute, but can pass the d allele on to their puppies. To view your dog’s d1 and d2 test results, click the “SEE DETAILS” link in the upper right hand corner of the “Base Coat Color” section of the Traits page, and then click the “VIEW SUBLOCUS RESULTS” link at the bottom of the page.
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”.
More information: http://www.doggenetics.co.uk/liver.html
The S Locus determines white spotting and pigment distribution. MITF controls where pigment is produced, and an insertion in the MITF gene causes a loss of pigment in the coat and skin, resulting in white hair and/or pink skin. Dogs with two copies of this variant will likely have breed-dependent white patterning, with a nearly white, parti, or piebald coat. Dogs with one copy of this variant will have more limited white spotting and may be considered flash, parti or piebald. This MITF variant does not explain all white spotting patterns in dogs and other variants are currently being researched. Some dogs may have small amounts of white on the paws, chest, face, or tail regardless of their S Locus genotype.
More information: http://www.doggenetics.co.uk/white.htm
Merle coat patterning is common to several dog breeds including the Australian Shepherd, Catahoula Leopard Dog, and Shetland Sheepdog, among many others. Merle arises from an unstable SINE insertion (which we term the "M*" allele) that disrupts activity of the pigmentary gene PMEL, leading to mottled or patchy coat color. Dogs with an M*m result are likely to be phenotypically merle or could be "non-expressing" merle, meaning that the merle pattern is very subtle or not at all evident in their coat. Dogs with an M*M* result are likely to be phenotypically merle or double merle. Dogs with an mm result have no merle alleles and are unlikely to have a merle coat pattern.
Note that Embark does not currently distinguish between the recently described cryptic, atypical, atypical+, classic, and harlequin merle alleles. Our merle test only detects the presence, but not the length of the SINE insertion. We do not recommend making breeding decisions on this result alone. Please pursue further testing for allelic distinction prior to breeding decisions.
More information: http://www.doggenetics.co.uk/merle.html
This pattern is recognized in Great Danes and causes dogs to have a white coat with patches of darker pigment. A dog with an Hh result will be harlequin if they are also M*m or M*M* at the M Locus and are not ee at the E locus. Dogs with a result of hh will not be harlequin. This trait is thought to be homozygous lethal; a living dog with an HH genotype has never been found.
More information: http://www.doggenetics.co.uk/harlequin.html
Other Coat Traits
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dogs with two copies DD of this deletion in the SLC45A2 gene have oculocutaneous albinism (OCA), 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.
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. Dogs with two copies of the ancestral C allele are likely to have a straight coat, but there are other factors that can cause a curly coat, for example if they at least one F allele for the Furnishings (RSPO2) gene then they are likely to have a curly coat. Dogs with short coats may carry one or two copies of the T allele but still have straight coats.
Other Body Features
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.
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 CC or TC dogs will have hind dewclaws.
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.
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.
The I allele is associated with smaller body size.
The A allele is associated with smaller body size.
The A allele is associated with smaller body size.
The A allele is associated with smaller body size.
The T allele is associated with smaller body size.
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.
Through Rhys’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, this haplotype occurs most frequently in Golden Retrievers, Beagles, and Staffordshire Terriers.
Some other Embark dogs with this haplotype:
The B1 haplogroup can be found in village dogs like the Peruvian Village Dog, pictured above.Learn more about Embark
Through Rhys’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.
For most of dog history, this haplogroup was probably quite rare. However, a couple hundred years ago it seems to have found its way into a prized male guard dog in Europe who had many offspring, including the ancestors of many European guard breeds such as Doberman Pinchers, St. Bernards, and Great Danes. Despite being rare, many of the most imposing dogs on Earth have it; strangely, so do many Pomeranians! Perhaps this explains why some Poms are so tough, acting like they're ten times their actual size! This lineage is most commonly found in working dogs, in particular guard dogs. With origins in Europe, it spread widely across other regions as Europeans took their dogs across the world.
Part of the A1b haplogroup, this rare haplotype occurs most often in Schipperkes and village dogs in Croatia.
Some other Embark dogs with this haplotype:
Great Danes and Pomeranians have this in common!Learn more about Embark