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Assessing a potential mate? Start with a COI request.


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Responsible breeders know the value of genetic COI (coefficient of inbreeding) in making breeding decisions: Not only is it correlated to overall canine health and lifespan, but it can also be extremely useful in assessing potential breeding mates for your dog. In fact, it’s one of the reasons many breeders choose Embark for their DNA testing: Only Embark provides the predicted average litter COI for any two Embarked dogs—free—when you Embark-test your dog.

Evaluating a mate: What you can learn at a glance

The ability to predict average litter COI makes it easy to include genetic inbreeding as a factor in your breeding program planning. With each COI assessment from Embark, you’ll learn:

  • The degree of inbreeding present in each potential sire and dam
  • How the inbreeding score for each dog compares to the average for your breed
  • The expected average genetic COI of a litter from the two dogs

By comparing the predicted genetic COI of the puppies in the litter against the COI of each adult dog, breeders can identify if the degree of inbreeding present in their lines will improve or deteriorate based on the proposed mating. This information can be highly impactful not only to the individual breeders but to breed clubs and other organizations working to preserve genetic diversity in their purebred populations.

How to submit a COI or COR request

Genetic COI information is included in every Embark for Breeders DNA Test. And obtaining the predicted average genetic COI of a litter for any given breeding pair is just as easy. If your breed is one of the 40+ breeds available on Matchmaker (Embark’s global database of breeding dogs), you can select any listed to view the predicted results of a hypothetical mating. This includes the predicted average litter COI, as well as expected occurrence of genetic health conditions and certain physical traits in the offspring.

If your breed is not available on Matchmaker, simply submit your request to Embark’s Customer Service team, and you can expect the results in just 3-5 business days (larger requests for numerous dogs may take up to 10 business days).

Simply email and include the following information:

  • If you own both dogs, please provide:
    • Your full name
    • Email address used on your Embark account that includes the dogs
    • Registered name of each dog to test (not the “call name”)
    • Swab code or activation code of each dog (preferred but not required)
  • If someone else owns one of the dogs, you must also include in your email:
    • Include the other owner on the email via the “CC” field
    • Full name of the other owner
    • Email address used on the Embark account containing the other dog
    • Brief statement asking the other owner to reply-all to confirm the request and provide the registered name and swab or activation code if not already provided.
Embark for Breeders dog DNA test kits
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Getting the most from your results

Predicted average litter COI is just that—an average—and individual puppies will vary slightly above and below that average number. So once your chosen breeding pair has produced a litter, we advise testing each puppy with an Embark for Breeders DNA Kit. This will not only help inform ideal puppy candidates for future breeding, it will provide lasting peace of mind to puppy buyers.

Submit a COI or COR request

There is also a tool in the Embark for Breeders dashboard called Pair Predictor which takes the guesswork out of assessing potential matings, and the predicted litter outcomes. Pair Predictor for health conditions will work with all breeds. Pair Predictor for COI is limited to approximately 60 breeds. Log in to test it out.

For more information about genetic COI, contact us.

Lisa Peterson Contributor

Award-winning writer, journalist, and podcast host Lisa Peterson is a canine subject matter expert and Content Strategy Lead at Embark Veterinary. She served as the American Kennel Club director of communications and club communications for 10 years before becoming a Westminster Kennel Club public relations consultant from 2016 to 2021. Lisa began owning, breeding, and handling Norwegian Elkhounds more than 35 years ago, and today is an AKC judge and AKC Breeder of Merit.

Read more about Lisa Peterson

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