Thursday, March 29, 2018

Embark Dog DNA Test Review

Embark Dog DNA Test Kit

Dogs are such wondrous mysteries.  When we adopt a rescue animal, there is this vast unknown.  It is only natural to have a desire to discover as much as possible about a new family member.  In the quest to uncover a newly adopted fur baby’s history, more and more pet parents are choosing to explore their dog’s breed mix, heritage, and health profiles through DNA analysis.  This is where the Embark Dog DNA Test comes into play.

Finn's Disability is Congenital
I have had so many questions about my newest dog, Finn.  Because he was rescued from a situation of extreme neglect, and because Finn has a congenital condition (Medial Patella Luxation), it seemed especially critical to know more about potential health issues.  Of course, like most people who choose to have their dogs tested, I was also excited to gain a greater insight into Finn’s family tree.  One of my biggest questions, with regard to Finn being rescued with a group of dogs (a hoarding case), has centered on what his relationship might be to the other dogs that were trapped in the same household with him.

My decision to send Finn’s DNA to Embark’s veterinary geneticists came about when a fellow adopter of one of the dogs saved with Finn spoke to me about Clark’s DNA results.  I suspected that Finn and Clark might share a Border collie ancestor.  Curiosity led me to go online and order my Embark Dog DNA Test so I could compare Clark and Finn’s results.  Amazingly, my test kit arrived within three business days. 

Finn's DNA Sample
Collecting Finn’s DNA sample took just 30 seconds.  Using the swab in the kit, I soaked up a small amount of saliva and secured the sample in the vial provided for preservation.  Mailing the vial could not have been easier.  A postage paid label and box were provided.

Embark is exceptional when it comes to communication.  At every step along the way, I was notified by email and text message about what was happening with Finn’s DNA sample.  For instance, I knew when it was in the centrifuge, when it was being purified, when the DNA was being replicated (one million copies!), and when the geneticists were beginning to build Finn’s profile chromosome by chromosome. 
Finn's Health Summary
First, I received Finn’s health summary.  I was relieved to see that he is clear of each of the common genetic conditions identified for his breed mix.  Competitors charge extra for each test.  I appreciated the advantage of having all of these genetic disease tests included in the price of the Embark test kit.  As a bonus, a custom report was provided for Finn’s vet.  

Finn's Breed Mix
Next, the greatly anticipated breed mix report arrived through my online portal.  Wow!  I was expecting Finn to be part poodle and part Border collie.  That was confirmed.  What I didn’t anticipate were all of the other interesting breed mixes and percentages.  

Finn's Family Tree

There are other advanced features and analyses too involved to cover in this review.  One thing I will mention is that Finn now has the opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research.  When I chose the Embark Dog DNA Test, one of the factors that appealed to me most was that of the ongoing research which would provide me with continual updates. 

Though there are less expensive DNA tests, with faster results, I am completely sold on Embark's comprehensive package.  I feel the cost was reasonable for what I gained in terms of knowledge about Finn, reassurance about his genetic disease risk, and the fascinating details about canine genes.  I highly recommend Embark's Dog DNA Test.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”



  1. How awesome to know what breed(S) Finn is. And thank you for the review. I thought dog DNA tests were probably far more general - too general to be worth the money. Thank you for showing us the entire results. It is much more detailed than I would have expected.

    1. Some of the DNA tests are far more general. The one Clark's owner purchased provided much less information.

  2. That is really fascinating! It has never even occurred to me to seek out a doggie DNA test. I had no idea they were available. I am really glad that all of Finn results were so good and that he has none of the genetic diseases they test for. Seeing his breed family tree is very interesting indeed. Looking at it made me wonder if his parents were brother & sister because the breed mix for their parents are exactly the same. Since it was a hoarding situation, it seems conceivable that the same owner had them all.

    1. In terms of the family tree, they display the same breed mix on both sides of the tree because the analysis can't determine which mix is maternal and which is paternal. Also, the advanced analyses presented an inbreeding score and chart. Finn's degree of inbreeding wasn't high. I thought it might be higher due to the hoarding situation. I'm glad it was better than I expected, since inbreeding often leads to health issues.

  3. I had no idea a DNA test for dogs was even available. I'm still getting used to the fact that the human DNA tests are so readily available and commonly used today. It really is amazing. It was fun to read all about Finn's background in such detail.

    1. I wasn't really aware of dog DNA testing until my friend showed me Clark's results. One of the interesting elements of testing Finn was all that I learned about the dog genome and how the mapping of it is helping with that of the human genome. It was fascinating to compare how dog genes and human genes are similar and different. One of the lead geneticists said that Finn's raw DNA data will be incredibly helpful (given his congenital condition).

  4. Like other commenters, I had no idea that DNA tests were available for dogs. What a terrific idea! And it sounds as though the Embark test you chose provided very detailed information and insights regarding Finn's heredity and his congenital condition. I'm so glad the results were as positive as they were, especially considering the situation in which he was living before you rescued him!

    1. So wonderful to see you here. Thanks for caring about Finn's well-being. Very much appreciated.

  5. Very interesting! My friend had her rescue pup tested, will check to see which company she used. These test results are more informative then what she received. Her pup was an interesting visual mix of what looked like two breeds, but the DNA showed quite a varied mix in the lineage.

    1. I will be interested in learning which product your friend used. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Appreciated!

  6. Wow! First off, I'm glad to hear that Finn was cleared for any genetic risks. Secondly, it's amazing how much DNA testing can uncover. It's so interesting that he is a mix of so many different breeds. Third, you are so wonderful for rescuing such a sweet little furbaby in need of a loving home. I miss fostering rescues - but I love the two I adopted. I'm tempted to have their DNA tested now.

    1. DNA testing reveals so much that we could never imagine or discover on our own. Let me know if you decide to have your dogs tested. I'm really glad I did. Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments. I appreciate all of the lives you have graced through fostering and adoption. You make the world a better place.


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