What does Molly's DNA tell us?

We've been told Molly's a border terrier cross... but with what? There's a lot of similarities, but a few differences too. Often rescue shelters have little information to go on and rely on visual identification, which is not always accurate. What story would her DNA tell?

Border terrier


So we sent a cheek swab all the way to some folks in Boston - Embark scientists, world leaders in dog genetics.

Not only would they tell us what breed mix she is (which could help explain a few idiosyncrasies), where her ancestors came from and genetic traits (coat colour, performance, body size...) they also test for over 160+ genetic health conditions.

6 weeks later and Molly's results are in:

Molly is mostly border terrier - wonderful. We can certainly recognise BT character traits. She:

  • has a strong hunting instinct, always on the look out for squirrels (although she never catches them)

  • is a scavenger - tasting everything, whether it's food or not!

  • loves to watch the world go by, especially in long grass

  • is extremely friendly and wants to meet every hooman or pooch she comes across. We're keen to continue her socialisation so she stays happy and confident in new situations.

She also has a touch of jack russell (15%), which could explain her longer muzzle and smoother coat. She's certainly energetic - would she love agility training? What could 4% lakeland terrier add... intelligence, style? Absolutely.

Embark were also able to tell us other key pieces of information:

  • she has a low wolfiness score (0.3%) - indicating a very tiny bit of a wild past

  • an estimated 40%+ dogs are overweight in the UK, which has huge health implications - reduced lifespan and quality of life. Molly's predicted adult weight is 7.3kg and we'll be keeping an eye on this.

  • she is currently 7 months old, which is the equivalent of 15 human years. Puppy adolescence has arrived! This 'teenage phase' is characterised by increased pushiness, rebelliousness, and momentary lapses in judgment. Looking forward to it :(

  • her maternal lineage is Haplogroup B1 & B1b, the second most common lineage in breeds of European origin, and due in part to colonisation

  • she didn't test positive for any of the 160+ genetic diseases tested. Sigh of relief.

We love data. Not only have we plugged a few gaps of missing information, but Molly's DNA is also contributing to Embark's database which is making new discoveries in dog health, wellness and care. 

Check out more details via Molly's online Embark profile >>

Have you taken a DNA test for your dog? What did you find out and how has it helped?