Kathryn Socie-Dunning lives with her husband and three dogs in Montana.
Our Habibi is a genetically diverse hybrid
Due to the diverse background of our imported rare lines from where breeds originated, we have not seen accurate results from the DNA reports of our lines.
At the end of the day, our focus is on developing a healthy hybrid that has the purpose of being a wonderful Service, Therapy, ESA, or Facility Animal. Our dogs are consistently proving to be wonderful in these arenas and we are proud to raise them. With our wide gene pool, we have rarely seen a DNA result accurately show the correct lineage, and many times some breeds are so far back in the gene pool they don't register. We have even seen such inaccurate results from Embark showing Rottweiler, Dachshund and Staffordshire Terrier resulting from our little mini parents of Coton, Shih Tzu, and Maltese lineage, as well as the same dog being tested elsewhere with entirely different results. All we could fathom is its picking up the marking and coat colors and making a stab in the dark to connect the dots. We've been told this can also be due to improper sterilization procedures and picking up DNA from a dog tested previously. Embark states on their site that the test shouldn't be used to prove breed percentages-- based off of certain DNA markers, it can pull a different breed when there actually isn't a different breed in their DNA. (see their statement below) Many breed clubs are not accepting results from these companies due to their known inaccurate results.
Whether the DNA results are accurate, or way-off in left field matters little, as the Habibi is a unique dog that has a wide gene pool and genetic diversity, and the results speak for themselves, as they say. Our Habibi is not a Doodle, or Schnoodle or AussieSchnoodle-doodle, Shichon or Cavapoochon (some of the names I see people identifying the breed with) It's a Habibi Bear. The careful hybridization of complimentary breeds in the background of our lines creates puppies that all have the same characteristics, unique to the Habibi.
There are breeders of pure breeds finding the same DNA results (see below)
Dog fanciers are passionate about their breeds and the unique attributes that define breed type, characteristics, and temperament. Generations of careful breeding and selection have helped to refine these breed-specific traits and allow everyone to enjoy the remarkable variation that is represented in hundreds of purebred dog breeds.
At Embark, we celebrate and support the dog breeders who have worked passionately to produce exceptional dogs. We share their mission and appreciate the opportunity to contribute our expertise in genetic health risks to this important pursuit.
What is a reference panel?
We understand it can be concerning when a purebred dog is tested using Embark for Breeders DNA test, and the results indicate the dog is a mixed breed. While this is uncommon and can be an indication of crossbreeding, there are also situations where purebred dogs receive this result.
When Embark conducts a DNA Test on a purebred dog, we use a proven scientific approach to assess the genetic makeup of the dog using a process involving reference panels. A reference panel is a group of dogs that have all been registered as purebred in a particular breed. Embark’s reference database of tens of thousands of purebred dogs is the largest and most diverse in the world. This database is used to identify a genetic signature unique to the breed but does not include every dog in every breed.
Why would a purebred dog not match the breed reference panel?
For various reasons, the registered purebred dog tested by Embark may not perfectly match the genetic signature of the reference panel. One example is the dog may have an ancestor that is in a closely related breed which was utilized prior to the closing of the breed’s studbook many generations ago. Another reason is that the dog may come from a bloodline that is geographically very distant from the group of reference panel dogs. These results in no way affect the registered “purebred” status of the dog or its standing with the registry. In fact, because these dogs usually contain genetic signatures not common in the breed, they can be highly useful for maintaining or even increasing genetic diversity in the breed.
For a deeper dive, take a look at how a purebred dog’s DNA may diverge from that of the reference panel.
A note from Embark:
Hi everyone, we are pleased to offer the most accurate and comprehensive dog DNA test available. However even when testing with 200,00+ genetic markers, a DNA breed test cannot be used to certify a dog as a "purebred". This is because a "purebred" status is not itself a scientific designation, but includes human-defined registration status and pedigree records indicating all of a dog's ancestors were documented as purebred as well. While the term "purebred" is often associated with "single breed", this is not actually the same thing. Embark's DNA testing can generally inform on 3-4 generations of ancestry, which even for registered dogs will in some cases identify some DNA from another breed, often a closely related breed. This can occur for a variety of reasons, and these results do not affect the dog's registration or purebred status, because as stated earlier "purebred status" is not a scientific designation or dependent upon DNA ancestry results.
While we encourage owners and breeders to use DNA testing to learn more about their dog's ancestry, health, traits, and relatives, owners looking to register their dogs with various organizations will need to submit their pedigrees to the appropriate registry body for that certification. These registries typically do not include the requirement that the dog be certified as "single breed" from a DNA testing company such as Embark. We encourage breeders to contact their preferred registries and breed club organizations to learn more about their requirements and expectations for dogs of your breed.
–EMBARK FOR BREEDERS
A Mi-Ki Breeder's experience in developing their new breed:
Another interesting read on the topic from a Mi-Ki breeder discussing the mis-labeled breeds in the background of their dogs.
Habibi Bears truly are a magical breed, here's why......
Oh, let me share a tale that reveals the wonders and mysteries of genetic testing. While it is indeed an exciting and valuable tool for breeders in creating clear lines, the accuracy of breed category results relies solely on the reference panel used. Now, let's talk about our beloved Habibi Bears. These extraordinary dogs come from rare and originally imported lines, which means that some of their DNA test results may show unexpected breeds. You see, their original DNA wasn't included in the creation of those reference panels. Let me tell you a peculiar story about one of our cherished Bichon girls. She was brought all the way from the enchanting Mediterranean region, bringing with her a legacy that baffles the minds of scientists. Her offspring consistently showcase the most peculiar and seemingly unrelated breeds, such as Staffordshire Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, Dachshund, and Rottweiler. Imagine the surprise our clients experience when they order a DNA test and find these unexpected results for their adorable, wide-eyed puppy. Ah, my dear, I've written these words for a reason - to offer understanding and illuminate the true meaning behind DNA testing. In the end, though, it is the magic of hybrid vigor that prevails. We celebrate the fact that our beloved dogs are not only healthy and diverse but so magnificently enchanting that their DNA leaves even the scientists bewildered. Can you believe it? The wonders of our Habibi Bear companions truly know no bounds!