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5 Myths About Purebred Dog DNA Tests

November 22, 2021

There are many misconceptions about purebred dog DNA tests. Did you know that DNA testing can help breeders, owners, and veterinarians make proactive choices that address breed-specific health conditions and traits?

Breeders know that genetic testing is an important part of producing healthy purebred puppies, and thousands of breeders have trusted Embark to help manage their breeding programs. Embark actively works with breeders and foundations that share our goal of ending preventable disease in dogs and extending dogs’ lives. That’s why we’re proud to be the preferred dog DNA test sponsor of The National Dog Show.

Today, we’re debunking five common myths about purebred dog DNA tests. We’ll also share a few key things you should know about genetic health risks in purebred dogs.

Myth #1: Purebred dog DNA tests will only tell me about my dog’s breed, which I already know.

That’s false! 

Fact: It’s true that the Embark DNA Test for Purebred Dogs will tell you about your dog’s breed and ancestry, but it does much more than that. Our Purebred Dog DNA Test also screens for 210+ genetic health risks, measures genetic diversity, and connects you with your dog’s relatives.

Myth #2: Purebred dog DNA tests won’t tell me anything useful.

False! 

Fact: Knowing about your purebred dog’s genetic health can help you catch risks early and take preventive steps. Embark makes it easy to share results with your veterinarian, so the two of you can form a proactive health plan for your dog and give him the best possible care.

Some health conditions are more common in certain breeds. Testing for genetic variants related to these conditions can help inform your dog’s care plan. For example:

Curious about relevant genetic health risks for your dog? You can search by breed to see the health conditions we test for, or search for specific health conditions you might be concerned about.

Myth #3: There’s no difference between the DNA Test for Purebred Dogs and the Breed + Health Kit.

That’s not quite true.

Fact: While many of the features are the same between the Breed + Health Kit and the Purebred Kit, we’ve specifically changed the user experience so it surfaces the information that’s more important and impactful for purebred dog owners. So, for example, you won’t see a breed reveal video if you purchase a Purebred Kit, but you will see your dog’s Genetic Diversity score (COI). If additional ancestry is found (mixed breed), that ancestry information will be shown on the profile under the “BREED” tab.

The Breed + Health and Purebred Kits are the same price because they are similar offerings. They test for the same ancestry, health, and traits.

If you previously used an Embark Breed + Health Kit, you don’t need to re-test your purebred dog using a Purebred Kit. Simply email our Customer Support Team at howdy@embarkvet.com and they can help switch you over to a Purebred Dog Owner profile.

Myth #4: If my purebred dog has ancestry in other breeds, he isn’t a purebred dog anymore.

That’s false. 

Fact: Genetic ancestry and purebred status are two different, completely separate things. Purebred status is defined by pedigrees at registration bodies. Ancestry looks at segments of shared DNA.

Here’s what you should know:

  • If you have a purebred dog:
    A purebred dog can sometimes share DNA with another breed. If this happens, you’ll see “Mixed Ancestry” in your dog’s DNA results. These results in no way affect registered “purebred” status or your dog’s standing with the registration body. Typically, a registration body certifies a dog’s purebred status through pedigree records and parentage verification, which do not rely on genetic testing.
  • If you have a designer dog:
    Designer dogs can sometimes share DNA with other breeds, in addition to the breeds of their parents. If this happens, you’ll see “Mixed Ancestry” in your dog’s DNA results. Sometimes, a designer dog might inherit more DNA from one breed than the other. In that case, the other breed will be listed in your dog’s Mixed Ancestry results.

Myth #5: I can use DNA test results to register my dog as a purebred dog.

False. DNA test results are informative, but are not enough on their own to certify a dog’s purebred status.

Fact: Sometimes, DNA testing can reveal that a dog that seems mixed breed is actually 100% of a single breed. “Single breed” is a DNA result, which is different from “purebred” status. Purebred status is determined by pedigree and registration bodies, not Embark. 

We encourage you to use DNA testing to learn more about your dog’s ancestry, health, traits, and relatives. The more purebred dogs we test, the more dogkind can benefit from research. But if you’re looking to register your dog, you’ll need to submit their pedigree to the appropriate registry body for that certification. 

Find out more about your dog’s genetic health by ordering your Embark DNA Test for Purebred Dogs today!