Breed ID Can Be Surprising

Check out some Embark dogs with surprising results, and the science behind how this can happen

Meet Charlea

“The shelter told us Charlea was part Chihuahua and Poodle, but as she got older her body got longer, and she looked less like a Poodle. We googled “chiweenie” and assumed that’s what she was. Charlea’s Embark results shocked us! We’ve been calling her a “secret Poodle” ever since we got them.” – Alex I, MA

A lot of people are surprised about Poodle ancestry in their dogs. The gene that causes the Poodle’s curly coat is not always inherited in mixed breed dogs. Some mixes even inherit the coat texture but not the curls (caused by a separate gene), which makes them look almost like terriers. Small Poodles can have the genetic variant for the “long and low” body type found in breeds like the Dachshund, which explains Charlea’s looks.

Meet Bowie

“Between his floppy ears and his singing, we all thought Bowie was a hound, possibly a Beagle mix. The shelter thought he was part Labrador Retriever and Dachshund. While he does have some Lab, he’s a mix of a lot of breeds, some of them surprising.” – Jen S, MA

Bowie is 7.6% Mountain Cur, a working hound breed. He’s a great example of how when many breeds are combined in a dog’s ancestry, the genetic variants responsible for some of the most visible traits — coat color, ear set, fur length — might cause a dog like Bowie to not look like any one individual breed in his ancestry.

Labrador Retriever ancestry is commonly seen in mixes, and sometimes misidentified. There are also a lot of dogs suspected to be Lab mixes who don’t have Lab in them at all. Learn more about how Lab ancestry can express itself in a mixed breed dog.

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Labrador Retriever