Showsight September 2021


BREED-RELEVANT HEALTH CONDITIONS Genetic testing before breeding helps identify if potential parents carry deleterious variants that might be passed onto offspring. The genetic results can then be used in a breed-specific manner to prop- erly pair dogs to avoid producing at-risk puppies. Understanding the basics of genetic health testing can help you interpret your dog’s DNA results and use the knowledge to make informed decisions. Knowing whether your dog is clear or a carrier of a deleterious variant, or at-risk from the variant and how to use DNA test results in a breed-specific man- ner will help you decide how to move forward with your breeding program. Dr. Adam Boyko, Embark Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, explains some of these differences and choices for the breeder in this Insider Series video. OFA SUBMISSION REPORT There are a variety of phenotypic health screen- ings a breeder should conduct on their dogs prior to breeding. These veterinarian-performed tests may include eye exams, hip x-rays, and cardiac testing, depending on the dog breed. A comprehensive list, as advised by the national breed clubs, can be found at the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) Canine Health Information Center (CHIC). There are also certain DNA-based health tests that are mandatory to receive a CHIC registration number. As part of our commitment to support responsible breeders who conduct all relevant pre-breeding tests, the Embark for Breeders DNA Kit has an easy to use OFA Submission Report. You can download or print your dog’s OFA-specific DNA report and send it, along with payment and a completed OFA DNA application form (which is also printable from your dog’s online profile) to the OFA. Having all the tools

“KNOWING YOUR DOG’S GENOTYPES FOR TRAITS WHICH INCLUDE BODY SIZE, OTHER BODY FEATURES LIKE MUZZLE LENGTH, COAT COLOR, OTHER COAT TRAITS LIKE FURNISHINGS, AND PERFORMANCE, CAN ALSO BE USEFUL TO CONSIDER BEFORE BREEDING. EMBARK HAS A TRAITS LIST FOR BREEDERS THAT SHOWS ALL THE POTENTIAL GENOTYPES PROVIDED BY EMBARK TESTING AND HOW TO INTERPRET THE REPORTS.” TRAITS EDUCATION Knowing your dog’s genotypes for traits which include body size, other body features like muzzle length, coat color, other coat traits like furnishings, and per- formance, can also be useful to consider before breeding. Embark has a traits list for breeders that shows all the potential genotypes provided by Embark testing and how to interpret the reports. Recording the genotypes of the sire and dam before breeding can help inform on outcomes such as expected coat color your puppies may present.This is especially important to evaluate if you are showing dogs that must adhere to certain coat colors and patterns required by the breed standard. Learning about coat color genetics and their impact on phenotype has the added value of understanding what health conditions might be associated with certain colors or patterns such as merle. Also, learning about other coat color modifiers, like white spotting, roan, and saddle tan can be complex yet intriguing and fun to decode. Having Embark for Breeders DNA Kit genetic results and suite of educational tools and access to experts in hand before you breed ramps up your knowledge on genetic health risks, traits, and genetic diversity. Try a Standard DNA Kit for one dog or the Breeding Package for two dogs to get started. Here’s to a better canine genetic health education.

at your fingertips makes paperwork easy! COEFFICIENT OF INBREEDING

Genetic diversity in your breed and breeding program is important. Embark’s genetic Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI) is the most accurate method for measuring inbreeding, which can contribute to smaller litter sizes and shortened lifespan. Unlike pedigree-based COI calculations, genetic COI evaluates your dog’s DNA to identify which propor- tion is identical, indicating percentile of inbreeding. By assessing more than 200,000 genetic markers, genetic COI can detect inbreeding further back even when compared to the most comprehensive pedigree analysis. Plus, included in the Embark for Breeders tools and services is genetic counseling which can help you determine the expected average genetic COI of a litter. This genetic counseling can be obtained by reaching out to the genetic special- ists at after you receive your DNA test results.


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