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Tenga

West African Village Dog

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“Tenga is from Burkina Faso in West Africa! She acts a lot like a cat, and her name means "sand."”

Place of Birth

Yako, Nord Region, Burkina Faso

Current Location

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

From

Yako, Nord Region, Burkina Faso

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Genetic Breed Result

West African Village Dog

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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 Tenga 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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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. Tenga 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 Tenga's DNA to a global panel of thousands of village dogs. This plot highlights regions of the world where Tenga'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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Traits

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

Base Coat Color

Base Coat Color

Coat Color Modifiers

Coat Color Modifiers

Other Coat Traits

Other Coat Traits

Other Body Features

Other Body Features

Body Size

Body Size

Performance

Performance

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Through Tenga’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.

Haplogroup

A1c

Haplotype

A278/334

Map

A1c

Tenga’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.

A278/334

Tenga’s Haplotype

Part of the large A1c haplogroup, this haplotype occurs most frequently 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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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 Tenga inherited from her mom and dad? Check out her breed breakdown.

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 Tenga is a female (XX) dog, she has no Y-chromosome for us to analyze and determine a paternal haplotype.

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