Thursday, July 27, 2017

Embark DNA Testing a Suspected Wolfdog From a Shelter

Order an Embark DNA test by clicking HERE.

When I adopted Faolan from a local shelter five years ago, he was officially adopted out as a "husky mix." Turns out, that is true. But there are a few other breeds present in him as well.

Faolan was an owner surrender to the shelter, and they seemed to think I was going to be his third owner. The person who surrendered him gave a story that suggested they may have gotten him from out of state. The shelter staff guessed him at approximately 9 months old in July of 2012. They thought he was neutered, turns out his testicles just hadn't descended yet. One small one popped up (or popped down?) a couple of weeks after I adopted him, and he was neutered shortly after that.

A few years back, I did an earlier version of Wisdom Panel on Faolan, and I wasn't terribly impressed with the results. So I decided to do an an Embark DNA test on him.

Not only does Embark have an extensive database to test for various dog breeds, they also test for 160 genetic diseases, all of which Faolan is clear of.

Faolan came back with five breeds present, and nothing was supermutt or too mixed to tell.

wolfdog from a shelter
What do you think he is?

It was an easy process. I ordered his kit. The day after it arrived, I fed him (and Neeko and Bruce) breakfast as usual. That afternoon, I pulled up the water, and waited about 45 minutes. I then showed Faolan a piece of cheese, which got him drooling. I swabbed him as directed, and inserted the swab into the tube as directed. Then I gave him the cheese for being such a good boy.

I had already activated the kit online, so I put the swab/tube into the postage paid envelope and dropped it in the mail the next day.

Then I waited...

Several days later I received an email that they had received it.

I waited some more...

About two weeks after that I received an email that it was being processed, and I could expect results at the end of August.

I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email five weeks to the day after my first email from Embark that his health results were ready, and I could expect breed results in the next few days. Fortunately his health results were good.

Faolan has had his breeds phenotyped by others in the past. German Shepherd, Siberian Husky, wolf, Alaskan Malamute, and Collie frequently come up.

I received his breed results.

Faolan has five breeds present in him.

They are, in descending order by percentage-

  • Wolf
  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Siberian Husky
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Samoyed
Embark DNA results for a wolf hybrid

Turns out he is in fact a low content wolfdog. Samoyed is the only breed that surprised me, and I was honestly somewhat surprised that collie wasn't present. 

In my opinion, he has some physical and behavioral traits that seem to fit with all of the breeds detected in him. I will post about that at a later time. 

Another neat thing that Embark does is present a family tree. It is not necessarily accurate, but just their best guess based on the dog's genetics.

wolfdog family tree, wolfdog lineage

Overall, I am super impressed and super pleased with the process and the results. 

I would really like to test both Neeko and Bruce as well. Bruce is from a local rescue group, and amazingly enough I do know a little about his lineage. Neeko was from an "oops" litter, but I was not allowed to view her mother. (Shady and stupid, I know.) I am very curious as to what their heritage actually is.

If you would like to view Faolan's actual Embark results, click HERE.

If you would like to order an Embark DNA kit for your dog, click HERE.


  1. Oooo, maybe I'll do this too for Rita. We did a Wisdom Panel a while back... I think they have since changed how they show their results because my sis did it too, and her results seemed to be way more vague than what we got for Rita. The part I'd be interested in is the genetic disease info. (Do you think that's more for info on your dog's possible future health, or is that aimed at getting info for folks who breed their dogs and wanting to know if they'll pass on possible disease??) I remember when I talked to the WP folks before the test, I asked if they thought they'd include health/disease info in the future (since they have that info for folks) and they didn't really have an answer, so I'm excited to see that.

  2. That is so much fun! I did this for my dogs last year and absolutely loved it! Very eye opening. I learned that you can't tell a mutt's breed just by looking at him/her.

  3. Malamute is the greatest breed in the world. They are also not expensive, just about $1000 each puppies. If want a Malamute, you can see the price and cost of a puppies at here -

  4. I purchased a wolfdog from the dysart wolfdog line. I was told he was 7/8ths wolf. Received embark which shows 20%. Father was sapost to be full so if that was case my dog would be at least 50%. Anywho wants to contact me at

  5. Class action time for dysart. Science has finally caught up to his fraud.

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  9. This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post.

  10. Thank you because you have been willing to share information with us. we will always appreciate all you have done here because I know you are very concerned with our. shelters

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  12. You know what you have here? You have an Utonagan like mixed dog. If you have never heard of an Utonagan, Google it. My dog is a Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, and German Shepherd mixed Father mixed with a mutty Jack Russell lookalike Mother.


Thanks for the howls!!