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I Tried the Dog DNA Kit on Oprah’s Favorites List


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The first thing anyone ever notices about Belinda, my two-and-a-half-year-old rescue pup, is her underbite. It’s severe, and it is absolutely the most adorable grill you’ll ever see—though it requires monitoring by our veterinarian. 

The next thing you might notice is her huge, brown eyes or her fast-paced, determined gait or her stubby, nearly non-existent tail. And if you ran into me during an evening walk and we engaged in small talk about our pets, you might speculate that she’s a Chihuahua mix. Perhaps part corgi—she is rather long and has that curious tail. One passerby once theorized that she’s part rat terrier, as Belinda looks “just like” the observer’s own Chihuahua-rat terrier mix. The veterinarian guessed that she might be part dachshund. It was a breed I hadn’t considered, but frankly, I hadn’t given it much thought at all in the year and a half since my husband and I adopted her. Those heart-melting eyes and her wagging stub always told me all I needed or cared to know. 

But when Oprah Winfrey included Embark’s Dog DNA Kit on her much-anticipated 2018 list of favorite things in the December issue of her magazine, curiosity got the best of me. 

The Embark Dog DNA Kit allows pet owners to get information on a dog’s breed, ancestry and health by submitting a cheek swab. The company states that its research-grade DNA genotyping platform enables it to pull from a database of 250 breeds and more than 175 genetic health conditions and traits to give dog owners a profile of their dog that includes physical traits, predispositions to health conditions and, of course, ancestry. Embark even allows users to connect with other pet owners who have dogs with similar profiles to their own pet. 

The kit arrived a couple of days after I ordered it, and the test was super simple to do. My husband hugged Belinda firmly for about 45 seconds while I swabbed her cheek. She wasn’t thrilled, but a couple of treats later, all was forgiven. Once I sent in the swab, I was informed it might take a few weeks to get the results. While I was eager to hear the results, I was also anxious about what the test would reveal about potential health issues associated with the breeds that make up her particular mix. Still, I figured, better to be forewarned with knowledge that would allow us to make more informed decisions about her diet and care if necessary. 

Before I reveal the results, take a look at Belinda. Venture your best guess. Then click here

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