Who am I? Dog DNA Testing with Embark Veterinary


What better birthday gift could there be than the gift of knowing who you are? Not that I think Mr. N spends much (or any) of his time pondering his identity but the humans always want to know. Mr. N knows he is a terrier and would like some tasty rodents to chase please for his eighth birthday today.

A company new to the market, Embark Veterinary sent us a dog DNA test to try out. At the time of his adoption, we were told that Mr. N was a Yorkie/Maltese mix. And from his mannerisms and looks that seemed plausible although I always thought that his Yorkie side is predominant.

In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you).

The test itself is pretty simple. You swab your dog’s cheek with the provided swab and send it off in a pre-paid mailer and register online. Then you wait 6-8 weeks and voila!

The results came back as: 50 percent Yorkshire Terrier, 17 percent Pomeranian, 17 percent Shih Tzu, 11 percent Maltese and 5 percent Supermutt. No big surprises except for the Pomeranian part. I definitely don’t see any Pom in him. His paternal side is all Yorkie. All the breed mixing happens on the maternal side. Embark makes the results shareable and you can view Mr. N’s results here.

His weight prediction came in at 17 pounds which seemed a little high. They advise you to email if you feel like the weight results are off which I did. We’ll see what they say.

They also test for 160+ genetic diseases including Multidrug Sensitivity (MDR1), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), exercise-induced collapse (DNM1) and more. Mr. N’s results came back as negative for everything thankfully.

The test can also look for coyote, wolf or village dog ancestry. Not that Mr. N has any of those. He is a very domesticated wee beastie with test results to prove it (his wolfiness score came back as 0).

Embark partners with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and tests over 200,000 genetic markers to build your dog’s breed profile. You can opt in to have your dog’s DNA results included in studies in canine health and science (which I did).

The test does take longer than its competitors (6-8 weeks compared to 2-3 weeks) so if you’re in a rush, this is not the test for you. The big stickler is the price ($199). Embark is the most expensive test out there on the market. It’s also the most comprehensive test on the market providing the most data (you also have access to the raw data if you’re curious) and health testing and free updates (new info is added to your panel when new research is done).

I found their customer service to be helpful and responsive. I accidentally touched the swab while putting it in the tube and they reassured me that they could most likely sort out the human DNA from the dog DNA and if not, they would send me a new kit.

It’s worth the splurge to try it if you are curious about your dog’s health or breed identity. Also Christmas is coming up and this would make a nice addition to a wishlist.

Embark has also generously offered to give one of our readers a dog DNA test. Enter below!

This post was sponsored by Embark. They are not responsible for the contents of this article. All opinions expressed are our own. 




84 Responses

  1. Emma

    November 30, 2016 11:35 am

    Most important – Happy Howling Birthday! If we didn't know our family histories, Mom would have ordered one of these a long time ago. She wishes they had been available with her first dog Trine who was a shelter dog mix of some sort.

  2. Amber Ketchum

    November 30, 2016 6:40 pm

    I loved reading through his results! The last time I heard about these tests it was said that they aren't very accurate because there isn't a pomeranian gene etc, but I'm sure since then they've figured out how to figure it out lol! I'm definitely entering, but I'd have to work up the courage to find out that Gremlin is part chupacabra lol!

  3. Jane H

    December 1, 2016 2:16 am

    Happy Birthday Mr N! What a great present to find out about your ancestry. I think if they had a braveness test score you would have gotten a high mark in that category!

  4. Heather Reid

    December 1, 2016 3:14 am

    Happy Birthday Mr. N!! I hope you hade a wonderful day. I would love to give Max this present too. We were told he is a German Shepard mix, but he looks just like a bulky Rhodesian Ridgeback.

  5. Beth

    December 1, 2016 9:38 pm

    Happy birthday, Mr. N! I'm so glad you got such a good present for your birthday! I can't believe that he doesn't have any wolf in him 😉

  6. marlynn

    December 2, 2016 5:28 pm

    Happy birthday Mr N! This is one of those things I would never think about doing but then when I read about it I totally want to do this for our dog! How cool!

  7. OrangeMew

    December 2, 2016 7:19 pm

    What a fascinating little history Mr N, how did you get that SuperMutt in you…! Happy birthday, and I love the little family tree that they gave to help show the results!

  8. Pawesome Cats

    December 3, 2016 2:32 am

    Happy birthday Mr N. ~ all the kitties wish you a year ahead filled with walks, treats and lots of love. Those test results are interesting, the Pomeranian genetic link surprised me too…

  9. Hindy Pearson

    December 3, 2016 12:08 pm

    A very happy birthday to you Mr. N. Looking forward to reading about your antics for many more years to come. I would love to test Red's DNA. I suspect what she is, but I'd love proof. Too expensive though, hope I win!!

  10. Denise Gruzensky

    December 5, 2016 1:33 am

    Happy birthday Mr. N. What a great way to celebrate! We are surprised about the Pom part too. This testing seems really comprehensive. We'd love to check out Shasta one of these days.

  11. Dolly theDoxie

    December 5, 2016 2:06 am

    Mom is so jealous she's been wanting to do a DNA test on me forever! Although we're pretty sure the Doxie is dominant just like your Yorkie. We loved your results and thought they were so interesting! Love Dolly

  12. Janet Keefe

    December 8, 2016 4:13 pm

    Happy Birthday, Mr. N! Your Mom made a pretty good guess on your DNA.
    We were always skeptical of part of Luke's results – the mostly Lab seemed right, but the others were odd (and one of the odd ones was also Pomeranian)! We've always thought about doing another one to see if they matched.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets


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