DNA testing the dog

Me and Tello in August 2018. I am off to a 1940s event.

I have done a DNA-test, I have tested my parents and my partner and other relatives as well. Genetic genealogy is fun, interesting and exciting.

Out of curiosity I started to look for DNA tests for dogs. When testing dogs it seems like the go deep into the medical part, if your dog is at risk for a certain disease or carrier of specific genes.

Our dog, Tello, a beautiful male German shepherd was close to turing 15, a fantastic age for that kind of dog, the medical information wasn’t all that interesting to me.

I found a testing company, Embark, that got my attention, mainly for two reasons. I could buy the test at Amazon and I would also get access to the rawdata. Since I enjoy looking at endless files with a lot of information I figured that test would suit me and Tello.

I picked the fastest delivery option and just a couple of days later I had the test in my hand. Well, I am in Sweden so I thought that was really fast.

The box contained information and instructions and a swab much looking like the swabs we are used at from FamilyTreeDNA. The swabbing went easy, I had a pile of his favorite treats so he was very patient.

I activated the test and put it on the mailbox. About a week later I got an email confirming it had arrived. Then I got emailupdates so I could follow the process.

A month later the results were in.

I got a really pleasant surprise logging in, I found out that I got the result for haplogroup and haplotypes as well, amazing, both for mt and Y, I didn’t realize that was included in the test.

Mt haplogroup and haplotype  for Tello is C1 and C27/37.

And in the same way you get migrationmaps at FamilyTreeDNA you get migrationmaps for your dog.

Very exciting finding out that your dog have a very exotic mt-line that is associated with lines found in wolves, foxes and jackals and that way back a male dog mated with a female wolf.


The straight male line for Tello is A1a and H1a.15, most common among German shepherds.


I found out Tello was a purebreed German shephard and that was not a surprise since we got him from a German Sherpherd kennel. I can imaging that part is very interesting for someone having a mixedbred dog. I didn’t expect to find any DNA-relatives of Tello, being in Sweden. But there were several. And close ones too.

That is explained with that purebred often have many close family matches. His top match and he shared 55% DNA that would be fullsiblings. I the matchlist you can look closer at the matches, the might be photos and/or videos and stories. You can also look at a chromosomebrowser to see where and on what chromosome they match. Dogs have 39 pair of chromosomes.

I could also see that he wasn’t at risk for any of the diseases tested and not a carries of the genes tested. This is one of the big differences when doing a human DNA-test for genetic genealogy and testing your dog. On the genetic genealogy test only DNA where there are no genes are analysed. At Embark they look at the genes as well.

In the meny you will find something called traits and here you can get really nerdy. Tello had a section about colour and masks. If you look at a German Shephard for example they have diffetent colours and masks. Here you will get knowledge on special genes that affect the colour and mask. The information is easy to understand and there are links to more advanced information.

The price: I ordred from Amazon and with fast delivery and import fees since I am in Sweden the price ended up at 237 USD. If you compare to an autosomal test for a human it might sound much but looking at all the information I ended up with I don’t find it expensive.

The user interface on the homepage is easy to understand and easy to navigate. To help with research there are some surveys you can take.

For me, that have been doing genetic genealogy for some years now it was very interesting and I really enjoyed looking closer and learning more about dog DNA in general and particularly the DNA of Tello.

Tello was put to sleep on March 2nd in 2019 at the age of 15 years and 8 days. He had a long life,  he made our days and brought us so much joy. When we got him, we won the lottery.

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