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Embark ‘s expertise in canine DNA analysis is undeniable. Their advanced technology makes it possible to examine the genetic make-up of dogs, giving owners and breeders an in-depth understanding of racial characteristics, hereditary traits and potential health risks. The kits available are among the most comprehensive on the market, with the ability to identify over 350 breeds – including lesser-known breeds and even wolves – and to screen for over 250 diseases. In addition to racial identification, these tests also take into account the dog’s intestinal and oral microbiome.

  • Offers the most complete kits available on the market
  • Analysis of over 350 breeds, including stray dogs and wolves, and more than 250 diseases
  • Studies both the gut and mouth microbiomes
  • Create a family tree for dogs
  • Traces dogs’ origins and ancestry
  • Includes a search tool to find canine relatives
  • Gives users access to raw, reliable genetic data
  • Option to share results to help dog genetics research
  • Access to a team of veterinarians for interpretation of results
  • Exportable results
  • Inclusion of a metal collar with access to the dog’s genetic information.
  • Results provided in English only
  • No option to import data from other services
  • User reviews suggest possible test inaccuracy
  • High cost of testing

Many vets, owners and breeders trust Embark to analyze their dogs’ DNA. But do Embark’s DNA tests really offer an in-depth understanding of canine genetics, or are they simply expensive products of little value? The reliability of the information provided by these tests is an essential issue. To answer this question, we decided to put Embark’s products to the test and share our professional assessment with you. Here’s what we discovered.

About Embark

Founded by the Boyko brothers, who are passionate about canine genetics, Embark has carved out a place for itself in the world of DNA testing for dogs. These scientists have scoured the globe, collaborating with renowned institutions such as National Geographic to further their research and develop a rich and varied genetic database.

Their perseverance has paid off: today, this American company enjoys a solid reputation with a diverse audience. Dog professionals, veterinarians and breeders, as well as dog owners, trust the company for its expertise in canine health, thanks to its significant advances in genetic testing.

DNA tests available from Embark

Embark offers two canine DNA testing options: one to determine the breeds that make up your dog, and the other combining this function with a complete health check.

Breed DNA test

With Embark’s breed DNA kit, discover the secrets of your dog’s genetic heritage in the blink of an eye. An in-depth exploration awaits you, offering the key to unlocking the mystery of the racial origins that run through the veins of your faithful four-legged companion. This DNA test goes beyond simple identification: it maps genetic heritage and reveals precisely which breeds have contributed to your pet’s unique crossbreeding.

Dog DNA Test

Breed + health DNA test

Embark’s “Breed + Health” kit is an enriched version of their dog breed identification test. This comprehensive test reveals much more than your dog’s ancestry, highlighting his susceptibility to a variety of over 250 genetic conditions. The kit also indicates your dog’s reactivity to certain medicinal substances, essential for preserving his health.

Breed + Health Dog DNA Tests

The results will help you personalize your four-legged friend’s diet, lifestyle and medical care. In addition, the “Breed + Health” kit analyzes over 35 physical characteristics, including size, coat type and grooming requirements. This in-depth analysis provides an enriched understanding of your dog’s distinctive traits, whether purebred or crossbred.

Other practical DNA tests

In addition to DNA analysis, Embark offers 3 practical tests for your dog’s health.

DNA age test

Embark’s age test offers a scientific method for determining your dog’s biological age, which may differ from his chronological age. This test analyzes your dog’s DNA to measure methylation, a biological process that changes with age. By evaluating these changes, Embark can estimate the dog’s age and birthday, providing valuable information on its potential life expectancy.

Dog Age Test

This tool is particularly useful for owners of adopted dogs whose exact age is unknown. By better understanding their dog’s biological age, owners can tailor care, diet and exercise to their pet’s specific needs at different life stages. Age testing also helps to anticipate future health and welfare needs, enabling a proactive approach to managing the animal’s health.

Intestinal DNA test

Embark teams up with AnimalBiome to launch a new product focused on intestinal health for dogs. This partnership enables owners to discover the state of their pet’s microbiome thanks to an easy-to-perform test. Thus, common disorders such as digestive or skin problems and certain abnormal behaviors can be associated with bacterial imbalances precisely identified by this analysis.

Gut Health Test

What’s more, the service doesn’t stop at diagnosis; it also offers personalized advice on how to optimize your companion’s diet, or even adjust his lifestyle or administer appropriate food supplements. The process is simple: after collecting and sending a fecal sample from the dog to Embark.

Oral DNA test

Poor oral hygiene in our four-legged friends can lead to problems such as halitosis and even tooth loss. To overcome these problems, the Embark test uses DNA analysis to identify bacteria lodged in the dog’s oral cavity. By examining the microbiome of the animal’s mouth, it is possible to establish whether dental cleaning is necessary.

Oral Health Test

How the DNA test works

Using Embark kits is child’s play. Simply follow the step-by-step process and you’re done!

Kit opening

Once you have placed your order on the site, the kit is delivered to your home. It’s essential to open it and check the contents carefully. In the box, you should find two key elements:

  • A metal label flanked by the Embark logo
  • The address of a website on one side of it

It also contains all the equipment needed for sampling: a swab and a special tube. Make sure that all these components are present before you start handling.

DNA test activation

When you receive your kit, the first thing to do is register it on the official website. Use your smartphone or computer to access the portal and enter your personal information.

For details about your canine companion, it is necessary to fill in the following specific information:

  • his age
  • physical condition
  • its diet
  • any medical treatment he may be undergoing

If your household has several pets with different kits, we recommend grouping them together under a single user profile. This will make managing their information much easier. Once your account has been activated, create an individual space for each dog, associating the Embark kit number.

Taking samples

To carry out a DNA test on your four-legged friend, you’ll need to take a sample of its saliva. First, make sure your pet’s gums are clean. If your dog seems uncooperative, be patient: collection may take longer than expected. Once the saliva has been obtained, transfer it to the tube supplied with the kit, containing a specific liquid. It is important to close the tube tightly and shake it vigorously to ensure that the genetic data is properly preserved.

If you’re testing for intestinal disorders, you’ll need to take a fecal sample. Whatever the nature of the test chosen – identification or health – follow the instructions for packing the sample before sending it off.

Then use the prepaid envelope included in your kit to send your package to the analysis laboratory. You will be notified by e-mail as soon as the specialists in charge of genetic or intestinal decoding have confirmed receipt of the samples.

Deadlines for results

Data from your samples will be available on the web between 14 and 21 days after receipt by the laboratory. You will receive a notification that everything is ready for viewing.

DNA test results

The data provided by Embark is divided into five main sections:

  • Identifying origins,
  • Lineage details,
  • Medical assessment,
  • Characterization of physical and behavioral characteristics,
  • As well as recommendations for the animal’s well-being.

“Search” tab

Embark’s “Research” tab invites you to contribute to the development of canine genetics research. This initiative, carried out in collaboration with Cornell University, solicits your participation in DNA studies thanks to the information you can provide about your four-legged friend’s habits and behavior.

Current research is focusing on various concerns, such as the genetic factors influencing certain disorders in our canine friends. These include serious diseases such as gastric cancer and the neurological syndrome known as Wobbler. Studies are also looking at how genetics can affect obesity and arthritis in dogs.

The “breeds” tab

The “Breeds” tab lets you explore the genetic make-up of your four-legged friend. You’ll discover the different breeds that run through its veins, expressed in precise percentages. This is accompanied by an insight into the past and roots of the races concerned.

Your pet’s genealogy is also highlighted, with a tree tracing its ancestors. Embark also enriches the experience with photos of dogs sharing similar genetic characteristics to your own.

Finally, a remarkable feature gives you the chance to trace your dog’s genetic ancestry, offering a deeper understanding of the hereditary heritage that contributes to its uniqueness.

The “Health” tab

Check your four-legged friend’s state of well-being in the “Health section. This area, specifically for holders of the breed + health kit, provides a global overview of the risks of genetic diseases. You’ll also find information on intestinal and dental conditions in the dedicated sections. For optimized management, you can archive your animal’s health documents. The icing on the cake: easily share this valuable data with your dog’s healthcare professional via the health dashboard.

The “Features” tab

In the “Traits” section of the report provided by Embark, you’ll discover the physical characteristics of your pedigree dog. This section describes elements such as coat color and pattern, as well as details such as ear shape.

You’ll also find other essential information, such as your canine companion’s eye color, palatability and ability to adapt to different environments, especially at altitude.

Embark also offers a prediction of your pet’s potential size when it reaches adulthood, a useful tool for finding out whether it is in good physical health or overweight. For those who aren’t sure of their dog’s exact age, an estimate based on its DNA is possible; this valuable data can be used to adjust the diet and prepare for changes linked to the advancing age of the faithful quadruped.

Accuracy and reliability

If you’re looking to deepen your knowledge of your four-legged friend’s genetic heritage, Embark is a reference in the field. With its team of renowned researchers and advanced technologies such as microarray, this certified laboratory guarantees precise analysis of canine genetic heritage.

Thanks to Embark, it’s now possible to improve the lives of our dog friends, based on the detailed information provided by their tests. The reliability and quality of Embark’s services are such that even the UFCAS (Union Française pour la Conservation des Animaux de Services) recognizes its dedication to canine welfare and research.

By choosing Embark, you’re making an informed decision that will not only contribute to a better understanding of your dog, but also actively participate in the scientific progress concerning their health and happiness.

Security and confidentiality

Embark places the security and confidentiality of its customers’ data at the heart of its concerns. Strict measures are in place to ensure the confidentiality and protection of each dog’s information. Personal data about you and your dog will only be disclosed with your express consent.

The company firmly undertakes not to sell or share this information for commercial purposes with third parties. Embark is constantly working to strengthen its security protocols in order to maintain the highest standards of data protection. By choosing Embark, you can be confident that your pet’s genetic data is being managed with the utmost care.

Test prices

Embark offers several types of DNA tests for dogs, with prices varying according to test type and package. Here is a summary of the prices:

  • Breed ID DNA Test: Normally $129, it’s currently on sale for $109. This test provides information on your dog’s breed mix, testing over 350 breeds.
  • Breed + Health DNA Test: Initially priced at $199, this test is now available for $159. It includes breed identification and parent tracing, as well as genetic health screening and insights tailored for mixed or purebred dogs.
  • Dog Age Test: Priced at $159, this test reveals your dog’s age and date of birth based on DNA methylation.
  • Gut health test: Initially priced at $125, it is now offered at $115. It helps to understand your dog’s daily digestive health.
  • Oral health test: Also reduced from $125 to $115, this test analyzes the bacteria in your dog’s mouth.
  • Pack of 2 Race + Health tests: This bundle is priced at $298, down from the regular price of $398, offering a saving of $100.
  • Purebred Health 2-test pack: Like the Breed + Health 2-test pack, this is also available for $298 after a $100 discount.
  • Pack of 2 age tests: This pack offers a saving of $20, reducing the price from $318 to $298.
  • Breed + Health Test Bundle and Purebred Test: Priced at $298, saving you $100 off the regular price of $398.
  • Race + Health and Age Test Bundle: Available for $298, a saving of $60 on the regular price of $358.

Our experience and opinion

We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of Embark‘s Breed DNA + Health kit. Used on our dog Rexy, the neat design and clear instructions made it easy to use. The inclusion of a smart medal to track genetic information in the event of disappearance is a clever find.

Rexy’s cooperation during sampling and the speed of the process won us over. In just a few weeks, the results were in, revealing that this dog, with the look of a German shepherd, had bloodhound and Siberian husky ancestors. The report detailed his physical condition with precision, including his hereditary tendencies.

Embark stands out as a wise choice for those looking for an exhaustive DNA test for their canine companion. Despite a slight difficulty in translating the results into French, the experience was instructive and rich in discoveries about Rexy’s genetic make-up.