frequently asked questions
  • What is Embark?
    Embark is more than a product or even a company. It is a promise to share the journey of a lifetime with you and your dog. You invite us, via our mobile-friendly website, into your home to help you understand and care for your dog like never before. We invite you to join us in making new discoveries in dog health, wellness, care, and understanding: via our research questions, regular results updates, blog posts, social media, and events.
  • I’m interested in testing my dog. Can I buy a test now?
    Yes! Kits are now on sale. Order yours now at our online store.
  • How does the testing process work? Does it require a blood sample or vet visit?
    A cheek swab and instructions will be mailed to you. By swabbing your dog’s cheek, you can easily take a sample in under a minute at home, no blood required. Then all you have to do is mail us the sample in a provided pre-paid return envelope and your results will be available in a few weeks. For more tips, see How to swab your dog.
  • How long does it take?
    Our typical turnaround time from when we get your test kit returned to us is 2-4 weeks. However, during the holiday season, please allow for up to 6 weeks to receive your results.
  • How much does it cost?
    The Embark dog DNA test kit, including immediate results as well as updated results as new discoveries are made, is available for purchase at $199. If you'd like to test your whole 4-legged pack, save money by using the following coupon codes:

    MULTIPACK2 - 10% off 2 kits.
    MULTIPACK3 - 15% off 3 kits.
    MULTIPACK4 - 20% off 4 or more kits.

    These MULTIPACK discounts do not apply to Embark for Breeders products, and cannot be combined with other coupons or limited-time offers. For an order to qualify for this discount, kits must be ordered together and shipped to the same address.

    If you are interested in our Embark for Breeders products, please email
  • Is there a discount for purchasing tests for multiple dogs?
    If you'd like to test your whole 4-legged pack, save money by using the following coupon codes:

    MULTIPACK2 - 10% off 2 kits.
    MULTIPACK3 - 15% off 3 kits.
    MULTIPACK4 - 20% off 4 or more kits.

    These MULTIPACK discounts do not apply to Embark for Breeders products, and cannot be combined with other coupons or limited-time offers. For an order to qualify for this discount, kits must be ordered together and shipped to the same address.

    If you are interested in our Embark for Breeders products, please email
  • Which breeds can you identify?
    We test for over 250 breeds - and even wolf, coyote, dingo, and village dog ancestry. Together, these breeds cover over 98% of dogs in America. This is the only test that can test for village dogs, and we can distinguish where village dogs come from! For more information see the full list of breeds that we test for. You can learn more about our breed and ancestry test on the Breed & Ancestry page.
  • Do you offer expedited shipping?

    Yes! Expedited shipping options are available for an additional fee.

    First Class Shipping (3-7 business days), Price: Free; Priority Shipping (1-3 business days), Price: $7.50; Priority Express Shipping (1-2 business days), Price: $31.00.
  • What exactly are village dogs?
    Village dogs are the free-breeding, "outside" dogs found around the world living in and around human settlements big and small. They're 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 co-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 (did you know Himalayan dogs have a gene for high altitude adaptation?). Embark has the only dog DNA test that includes diverse village dogs from around the world in its breed reference panel.
  • Which health conditions and disorders do you test for?
    We test for over 165 genetic health conditions, and that number continues to increase over time as more research is done. For more information see the current complete list of conditions included with the test. If you’d like to learn more generally about our health tests see the Health page.
  • How does Embark benefit my wallet?
    Americans spend on average over $400 per dog in veterinary expenses each year, and this amount increases as a dog gets older. The Embark DNA test results helps you prepare in advance for numerous possible genetic health conditions, allowing you to take preventative steps to avoid costly treatments later on, and reducing the likelihood you’ll face expensive bills for avoidable clinical or genetic tests later on if symptoms of these conditions develop in your dog.
  • How will my dog's results be given to me?
    Your dog’s results will be delivered online in easily understandable, interactive ways that guide you to understanding your dog and caring for them better. Additionally, we provide a Print Report, which is a PDF that can be downloaded or printed to share with others. We also facilitate conversations with your veterinarian with a Veterinary Report. We encourage you to discuss your dog's results with your vet. You should not take any action based on our tests until you have discussed the results with your vet.
  • Something went wrong when I swabbed! What happens if my dog eats my swab, if I don't get enough DNA on the swab, or the sample sits in my mailbox all weekend?
    Our sampling kit works under a wide variety of conditions, so usually even people who don't think they have enough DNA on the swab wind up having enough. Occasionally, though, our lab will find that there is not enough DNA. In those cases (or if you lose your swab - down your dog's mouth or otherwise), we'll send you a free replacement swab. Also, have no fear about postal delays: once you've closed your DNA collection tube the liquid inside will stabilize the saliva, and keep your dog's DNA ready for analysis for many months.
  • What kind of voodoo do you do in your lab to get me all these results?
    Your swab is analyzed at our state-of-the-art, CLIA-certified, dog-approved lab facility. At the lab we extract your pup's DNA and run it on our custom-built genetics "chip", which is a proprietary DNA microarray with over 200,000 markers. This produces an incredibly detailed view of dog's genome which we run through our bioinformatics pipeline, which was created and is run by the top dog DNA scientists in the world. Your dog’s results go through several steps of verification and quality control. Whenever we see a questionable result, it is hand-checked by our scientific experts, so you know you can trust our findings.

    Ultimately, we use several proprietary algorithms to build the story of your dog and his or her DNA one chromosomal segment at a time. If numbers are your thing, we test about 256 quadrillion (that's 500 million times 500 million) different possible genetic ancestry combinations for your dog using the latest and greatest science. The DNA processing steps typically take about 2-4 weeks and we'll send you email updates along the way.
  • How is Embark different from other dog DNA tests?
    Embark was created by the world leaders in dog genetics. The Embark test is the only comprehensive test on the market, providing you results for over 160 genetic health conditions, the most accurate breed identification scientifically possible (based on more than 100 times as much genetic information as other tests), and so much more, all packaged to make it easy for you to understand, share, and use to improve your dog’s health and happiness. Our platform is built and run by the world’s top dog geneticists, meaning you and your dog get the absolute best information while contributing to research for the betterment of dogs and humans into the future. We have published a detailed comparison that explains all the differences between the Embark test and the rest.
  • Can you diagnose diseases in my dog?
    While Embark detects over 160 genetic variants associated with increased disease risk, we cannot provide medical diagnoses. You should talk to your vet if you are worried about specific medical conditions in your dog.
  • Why don’t I see any of my dog’s relatives in Doggy DNA Relative Finder?
    If you are a breeder who purchased an Embark for Breeders dog DNA kit, you do not have access to view your dog’s DNA relatives in the Doggy DNA Relative Finder feature. At this time, we also do not give access to this feature for dogs with over 10% wolf content, due to privacy concerns voiced by the wolfdog community. However, we’re hard at work building relatedness features to meet the specific needs of each of these communities and are aiming to release these features next year! If you have your dog’s breed preferences set as private, you also will be auto-set as private and opted out of Doggy DNA Relative Finder.

    If you are not a breeder or are still confused about why you are not seeing relatives, please contact

    Have thoughts or input on relatedness features you’d like to see as a breeder? Email us at
  • What if I find out my dog has an incurable genetic disease?
    Embark gives you the most comprehensive genetic insights into your dog possible, and guidance and care advice that you can discuss with your veterinarian that is tailored for your dog’s unique genetic profile. There is a small chance Embark will tell you that your dog has heightened risk of developing an incurable disease. This news may be difficult to hear, but having this knowledge early can help avoid costly misdiagnoses or unnecessary, expensive, possibly invasive testing later on. Knowing the symptoms to look out for and having the opportunity to develop a care plan with your veterinarian can help maximize the number of healthy years you can spend with your dog, and minimize any suffering if disease strikes.
  • What happens to my dog’s data? Will you share my dog’s information with anyone?
    Embark values both privacy and scientific openness. Your information and your dog's identifying information will never be shared with anyone without your explicit permission. We do work with other scientists to use aggregated, non-identifying information to drive scientific discoveries. If you do not want your dog to be a part of that research you will be able to opt-out when ordering the test.
  • Can I get my dog's raw data?
    Yes! We firmly believe that you own your dog’s genetic data. Once your dog’s analysis has been completed, you will be able to download your dog’s raw, uninterpreted data from over 200,000 markers. Navigate to the Advanced section of your dog’s results to find the download link.
  • What if I want to reach out and see if my pup’s doggy DNA Relatives’ owners want to set up a playdate!
    You can reach out directly to doggy DNA relatives owners via our Chat function, which you’ll see with every match who has their privacy settings open to accept direct chats from other pet owners.
  • What happens if my dog’s ma or paw (we couldn’t help ourselves with that pun!) is tested in the next month, or in the future? Will I see them in Doggy DNA Relative Finder?
    Your Doggy DNA Relatives today are just the beginning. As more and more dogs Embark with us, we'll send you updated Relatives, uncover new discoveries about your dog's extended family, and further enable you to connect other dog owners to your dog's distant relatives. Because every dog that Embarks with us becomes our family, too.
  • Why is the breed mix between my dog and his or her DNA relative so different?
    Distant relatives can have very different breed mixes since they are usually only related through one of the breeds in the mix (possibly a trace breed!). Even close relatives like first cousins are likely to have very distinct breed mixes, although ancestry results for full siblings should generally be similar (although not identical since there is randomness in how chromosomes are inherited).

    Learn more about this here.
  • I don’t see my dog’s relatives on the family tree. Why?
    Our family tree feature shows the breeds that your pup’s ancestors were, to help you better understand how your dog’s breed makeup came to be from his or her parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. We do not yet show your dog’s relatives within a family tree diagram.
  • What’s the difference between my dog’s relatives and Breed Mix Match Buddies?
    Breed Mix Match Buddies are other dogs that share a similar breed makeup to your pup. The higher the score (100 is highest), the closer in breed breakdown the pup is to yours. Learn more about our Breed Mix Match feature here.

    Doggy DNA Relatives are your pup’s family: dogs who share DNA with yours. Learn more about our Doggy DNA Relative feature here.
  • Does access to my dog’s relatives cost extra money?
    Access to our Doggy DNA Relative Finder is free with the purchase of an Embark Dog DNA Test Kit.

    Doggy DNA Relative Finder is not included with purchase for Embark for Breeders Dog DNA Test Kit, and is currently not available for dogs with wolf content 10 percent or higher.
  • Will you provide customer service?
    Yes. You will be able to get help interpreting your results from Embark's team of scientists and veterinarians. You can use the online customer service form, and when available you can live chat with our team (typically weekdays 9-11am and 1-3pm CT). You can also email us at with a question or a request to make a telephone appointment. We're happy to help you understand your results, walk you through the swabbing process, or how to use the website. We look forward to speaking with you!
  • Who is involved with Embark?
    Embark is a research partner of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and we have a permanent Scientific Advisory Board. Embark is committed to working with the best veterinarians and dog researchers in the world.
  • How is Embark improving the lives of dogs?
    While we provide you with the latest and greatest in genetics-driven dog care, your dog's sample and questionnaire data are providing scientists across the world with the data necessary to make the next breakthroughs for better canine health and wellness. We are also looking to expand our shelter partnerships to give back to animals in need.
  • Is Embark interested in working with veterinarians?
    Yes! If you are a vet interested in learning more about working with Embark, please use our contact form or email us at
  • I am a researcher interested in collaborating with Embark on a study. How can I learn more about how to do so?
    We would love to hear from you! Please email us at
  • I am a breeder or breed group interested in learning more about what Embark can do for me and my breed. How can I get more information?
    Please email us at and we will get right back to you!
  • I am a member of the press interested in speaking with the founders of Embark. How can I reach you?
    Please email with your request.

Get the skinny on your dog's genes today