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Dog Decoded: The Shaggy Poodle Mix

June 25, 2021

Do you know what your dog is? The truth is, most people don’t! Just looking at your dog won’t tell you their genetic make-up. DNA can be tricky.

Every day, we get messages from pet parents who were shocked to discover what their dog’s breed mix really was. So we’re highlighting one of those surprising breed reveals and asked a member of Embark’s world-class science team to answer our burning questions.

Question: Does this look like a Chihuahua and Poodle mix to you?

Bella Shaggy Coat

This dog, decoded

We asked Adam Boyko, our Chief Science Officer, what could cause a Chihuahua and Poodle mix to look so… terrier-y. Why doesn’t she have those famous Poodle curls? 

“Though you wouldn’t expect it, Bella’s non-shedding coat comes from the Poodle,” Adam told us. “The same gene that produces this coat is also responsible for shaggy Terrier hair which explains the resemblance. A separate gene gives Poodle coats their curl. Bella didn’t inherit this which is why she doesn’t look very poodle-y.”

The gene that gives Bella her shagginess is the RSPO2 gene. Dogs with one or two copies of the F allele on this gene can have thick mustaches, beards, and eyebrows. This is what gives dogs like the Schnauzer their signature look.

The gene responsible for the curly coat (the curls Bella didn’t inherit from her Poodle side) is KRT71. For dogs with long fur, dogs with a TT or CT result for this gene are very likely to have a wavy or curly coat.

With our research-grade micro-array, Embark can analyze 200,000 genetic markers (delivering 2x more information than any other dog DNA test on the market). So the Embark Dog DNA Test is the most accurate test available for finding out your pup’s breed mix.

Do you have your own surprising breed reveal that you’d like decoded? Submit your story here for the chance to be featured. And get an Embark Dog DNA Test to get to know your pup, right down to their DNA.

Learn more about Bella and her decoding journey