Yesterday, we received the results of my DNA test from Embark. Momma and I were both quivering with excitement and curiosity. Although the results also covered health and ancestry, we were mostly curious about my breed. Would I be a purebred or a hybrid? She was hoping I was all Aussie, but I didn’t care. As with humans, I am a big proponent of doggie diversity. (Momma: “Whatever.”) Anyway, here goes!
The health section of the report covered diseases for which I may be at risk, a carrier or clear. First, I am thrilled to report that I did not test positive for any of the “at risk” diseases screened for.
Next, I learned I am a “carrier” for only one, a recessive genetic trait called progressive retinol atrophy. Luckily, I will not suffer any symptoms, but must be mindful of the gene if I “should have children,” as Embark refers to my possible puppies.
Finally, I tested “clear” for eight diseases common to my breed, and “clear” of the 163 others included in the test.
Yay! All great news! Doesn’t this just “beg” the question, though – why am I always at the vet?
And now, the result we’d been waiting for. What am I really? This may come as no surprise, with my sheep herding skills and all, but I am 100% Miniature Australian Shepherd! (Apparently Embark’s test results do not differentiate between minis and toys.) And this is their description of my breed:
“Miniature American Shepherds have the trainability, intelligence and energy of the larger Aussie cousins, and excel at outdoors activities and agility competitions.”
Well, I couldn’t woofed it better myself. So far I’d have to give Embark an A+ on their work.
My maternal ancestors can be traced back to South Asia (looks like China according to the map) and Europe. Dogs with which I have genetic commonality include English Setters, English Bulldogs and American Eskimo Dogs.
My paternal ancestors cannot be traced because I do not have the Y chromosome (girls have XX makeup) necessary for that research. And speaking of chromosomes, did you know dogs have 38, while humans have only 23. Sounds to me like we might be a tad superior to our human companions, after all. Just woofin’.
And here’s the most interesting thing of all about my genetics. My makeup includes 1.8% “wolfiness.” This is considered high as most dogs score 1% or less on the wolfy scale! This does not mean that my recent ancestors are wolves, but that I carry ancient wolf genes that go back thousands of years. Embark ends its summary by saying the genes “are bits of a wild past that survive in your dog.” Maybe I really am my Momma’s daughter.
Here I am with my Valentines Day gift from her. Look a little wolfy, don’t you think?
My genetic results also predicted that my adult weight will be 25 pounds, and that I am currently 39 years old (one of Momma’s past fake ages). Excuse me. First, I weigh 11 1/2 pounds, and Momma will NEVER let me get to 25 — even if she has to limit me to one morsel of food per day for the rest of my life. And second, I know I have the maturity of a 39 year-old, but if that age is accurate chronologically, I’ll be older than Moses when I die. May have to lower that grade to an A-!
This was a bit of a disappointment as I expected a family tree showing my greats, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. Instead, all I found out was that (in addition to some more distant relatives) I share 39% of my DNA makeup with an Aussie named Bandit. Frankly, this Bandit is kind of cute. The site says he has been a member of Embark since February 15, 2018. Actually, now that I think about it – this is a bit like on-line dating. I’m going to drop him a line. Momma, are you paying attention?
In closing, I’m going to share a couple of doggie fun facts that Embark passed on: Compared to humans, we have twice the amount of muscles in their ears, hearing that goes four times the distance, but only one-fifth of the taste buds.
Lina, Pure Aussie