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Sunsum

West African Village Dog

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“Sunsum is a street dog from Ghana! I got him at about 10 weeks old when I was in the Peace Corps and couldn’t leave him behind.”

Place of Birth

Akyem Kukurantumi, Eastern Region, Ghana

Current Location

Severna Park, Maryland, USA

From

Ghana

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Genetic Breed Result

West African Village Dog

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 African 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 Sunsum back, you won’t find any ancestral dogs that are part of any of those standardized breeds.

West African Village Dog

African village dogs live in many different environments: desert, plains, forest, woodland, mountains, and more. As such, African village dogs vary as widely as African cultures. Despite their differences, they all tend to be independent and resourceful, and can make excellent companions if adopted young and raised in the right environment.

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Genetic Stats

Wolfiness

3.4 % HIGH

Predicted Adult Weight

47 lbs

Genetic Age
68 human years

Based on the date of birth provided

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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. Sunsum 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 Sunsum's DNA to a global panel of thousands of village dogs. This plot highlights regions of the world where Sunsum'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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Health Summary

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Sunsum is at increased risk for one genetic health condition.

And inherited one variant that you should learn more about.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (Type I)

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Sunsum inherited one copy of the variant we tested

What does this result mean?

Our research indicates that this genetic variant is likely to increase the risk that Sunsum will develop this disease.

Scientific Basis

Research studies for this variant have been based on dogs of other breeds. While dogs with similar breeds to Sunsum have not yet been the focus of research studies, our data indicates that Sunsum is likely to be at increased risk.

What is Intervertebral Disc Disease (Type I)?

Type I Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is a back/spine issue that refers to a health condition affecting the discs that act as cushions between vertebrae. With Type I IVDD, affected dogs can have a disc event where it ruptures or herniates towards the spinal cord. This pressure on the spinal cord causes neurologic signs which can range from a wobbly gait to impairment of movement. Chondrodystrophy (CDDY) refers to the relative proportion between a dog’s legs and body, wherein the legs are shorter and the body longer. There are multiple different variants that can cause a markedly chondrodystrophic appearance as observed in Dachshunds and Corgis. However, this particular variant is the only one known to also increase the risk for IVDD.

Collie Eye Anomaly

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Sunsum inherited one copy of the variant we tested

What does this result mean?

This result does not impact your dog’s health. It could have consequences for siblings or other family members, and you should let them know if you are in contact with them.

What is Collie Eye Anomaly?

Named for its high prevalence in Collie dogs, Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) is more correctly termed choroidal hypoplasia. The choroid anchors the retina to the underlying structures and supplies it with oxygen and nourishment. CEA is a developmental disease of the choroid.

Breed-Relevant Genetic Conditions

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Additional Genetic Conditions

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Clinical Tools

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Explore the genetics behind your dog’s appearance and size.

Base Coat Color

Base Coat Color

Dark or Light Fur
E (Extension) Locus
Can have dark fur
Red Pigment Intensity LINKAGE
I (Intensity) Loci
Any light fur likely yellow or tan
Brown or Black Pigment
B (Brown) Locus
Black or gray fur and skin
Color Dilution
D (Dilute) Locus
Dark (non-dilute) fur and skin
Coat Color Modifiers

Coat Color Modifiers

Hidden Patterning
K (Dominant Black) Locus
More likely to have patterned fur
Body Pattern
A (Agouti) Locus
Fawn Sable coat color pattern
Facial Fur Pattern
E (Extension) Locus
No dark mask or grizzle facial fur patterns
Saddle Tan
No impact on coat pattern
White Spotting
S (White Spotting) Locus
Likely to have some white areas in coat
Merle
M (Merle) Locus
Unlikely to have merle pattern
Harlequin
No impact on coat pattern
Other Coat Traits

Other Coat Traits

Furnishings LINKAGE
Likely unfurnished (no mustache, beard, and/or eyebrows)
Coat Length
Likely short or mid-length coat
Shedding
Likely heavy/seasonal shedding
Coat Texture
Likely straight coat
Hairlessness (Xolo type) LINKAGE
Very unlikely to be hairless
Hairlessness (Terrier type)
Very unlikely to be hairless
Oculocutaneous Albinism Type 2 LINKAGE
Likely not albino
Other Body Features

Other Body Features

Muzzle Length
Likely medium or long muzzle
Tail Length
Likely normal-length tail
Hind Dew Claws
Unlikely to have hind dew claws
Back Muscling & Bulk (Large Breed)
Likely normal muscling
Eye Color LINKAGE
Less likely to have blue eyes
Body Size

Body Size

Body Size 1
Smaller
Body Size 2
Larger
Body Size 3
Larger
Body Size 4
Larger
Body Size 5
Larger
Performance

Performance

Altitude Adaptation
Normal altitude tolerance
Appetite LINKAGE
Normal food motivation
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Through Sunsum’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

A1c

Haplotype

A330

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A1c

Sunsum’s Haplogroup

About 15,000 years ago in Central Asia, females from this lineage were some of the wolves domesticated as the original dogs. Since then, dogs from this lineage traveled through the Middle East to Africa, where they became some of the African village dogs and basenjis, which are a native African breed of dog. There are also still pockets of dogs with this lineage that remained in Asia or places along the route to Africa, such as India. This lineage has also been found in the Borzoi, a Russian dog breed.

A330

Sunsum’s Haplotype

Part of the large A1c haplogroup, this haplotype occurs most commonly in Basenjis. It’s a rare find!

Some other Embark dogs with this haplotype:

The presence of A1c in a Borzoi indicates a deep history of this lineage in Eurasia

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Through Sunsum’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

F

Haplotype

H9

Map

F

Sunsum’s Haplogroup

F is the odd duck in the family of domestic dog male lineages. This paternal lineage is genetically closer to wolves, foxes, and jackals than to other dogs. This indicates that it came into the dog population after dogs were originally domesticated, when one particularly attractive male wolf mated with a female dog, over 6,000 years ago. Since then, these dogs found their way into Africa and Mongolia. It hasn't been found outside those areas except in Basenjis. Basenjis are an iconic African breed, that first made its way to the USA in the early 20th century when a handful of individuals were imported from the Congo. The Basenji is an ancient breed which is distantly related to other dog breeds (most of which are European or Asian), and it has the earliest separation date from all other breed populations. Unsurprisingly, the F lineage has also been found in African village dogs, as well as, surprisingly, some samples from Mongolia. The fact the lineage is found in two very distant places is evidence that it entered the dog population many thousands of years ago.

H9

Sunsum’s Haplotype

A member of the F haplogroup, this haplotype is found in Basenjis and village dogs throughout Africa.

Some other Embark dogs with this haplotype:

Congo Dogs in Africa commonly have this hapgloroup.

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