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Embark Identifies Rare Mutation in Labrador Retriever


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Meet Arthur. He may look short for a Labrador Retriever, and he is, but that doesn’t affect his personality one bit. He’s a very special dog with a very special story. And as it turns out, a very rare genetic mutation identified by Embark.

labrador retriever

Arthur’s story

Arthur’s fur mom Celeste Wilkinson took him in when her nephew, Arthur’s original owner, had to attend a year-long training with the Air Force. When Celeste’s nephew asked her to take care of Arthur, she agreed right away.

Celeste traveled to Florida to meet her nephew and pick up her new pup.

“I loved Arthur the moment I saw him,” she said.

Celeste then drove Arthur 2,015 miles to her home in Las Vegas. Arthur was previously traumatized by a plane ride from the United Kingdom to the United States. Even though he was on a plane exclusive to pets, Arthur was not impressed. Celeste decided that a car ride was the only option.

Living in Las Vegas

Celeste said Arthur loved Las Vegas the moment he arrived. He adapted to his new surroundings with ease and was a big hit with Celeste’s friends and neighbors.

“Everybody loved him. All the dog lovers we know play with Arthur. He is so friendly,” Celeste explained.

She says Arthur is full of personality, extremely intelligent, and a “very sensitive, very sweet, very short little Labrador.”

She went on to say that he loves to run—and run fast. Arthur has a lot of energy and is able to tire out his dog friends, including a Doberman Pinscher, Labradoodle, and German Shepherd.  

“He can tire them and then he can catch up to them, and then he challenges them to run more,” Celeste said, laughing. “He has a bit of a Napoleon complex.”

Arthur runs 5 miles or more every morning and loves every minute. After a run, he looks forward to mealtime. Celeste cooks for Arthur every day. She says he’s a picky eater but loves boiled chicken and his favorite snack is a banana.

“He’s like a monkey,” Celeste said with a chuckle.

In addition to running, Arthur also loves to play in the mud.

embark labrador retriever

Arthur’s Embark results

Most people assumed that Arthur had many breeds in him, but his breeder said that he was 100% Labrador Retriever. He even has a hunting and field dog pedigree.

“I needed to do a DNA test,” Celeste said. “So I looked for the best.”

She landed on Embark. After she submitted her test, the betting began. She said her friends and family, and even people at the dog park were betting on Arthur and his breed mix.

As it turns out, Arthur is 100% Labrador Retriever. He also has a rare mutation that Embark identified, which leads to short legs.

A screenshot of a dog named Arthur's genetic breed results, showing he is 100% Labrador Retriever.

Dr. Erin Chu, Senior Veterinary Geneticist at Embark, said the mutation is thought to be fairly rare and was first identified in one extended pedigree of a Labrador Retriever

“There are actually quite a few different forms of skeletal dysplasia in the Labrador. This mutation doesn’t associate with increased risk for joint disease or developmental abnormalities as some other inherited skeletal dysplasias do,” Chu said. “For all intents and purposes, Arthur is a totally normal dog who is just a little short! Which, as a shorty myself, I think only improves his perspective on life.”

Arthur’s height doesn’t bother him or Celeste. In fact, she said he’s even more adorable with his short legs.

Want to learn more about Arthur? Check out his Embark results.

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