Home Page Forums Darwin’s Ark Different results?

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    Our dog Audrey just got her dna rested by Darwin’s ark, and these were her results:
    12.1 % Others
    19.6 % Bullmastiff
    30.5 % Australian Cattle dog
    37.8 % Unknown

    The funny thing is, her sister got tested by a company like embark or wisdom panel (we’re not sure) and these were her results:
    50% cattle dog
    25% bull mastiff
    12.5% bull dog
    12.5% pit bull

    What does this mean? And which one is accurate?


    brittney logan

    Hi Kate, how interesting that you have Audrey’s sister to compare!

    Compared to other genetics tests, such as Embark, they are using 200,000 genetic markers where we are now at 9,000,000 markers used in our genetic studies. We can look much deeper and explore more of the dogs DNA.

    Another difference is that they have many more breeds in their reference panel, so they will be able to call more breeds. As our research continues, and more unique breeds enroll with us, we are building up our reference panel. Soon, we will be able to call and add to our list America Pit Bull Terrier, English Shepherd and many more! We will let you know when we update you dogs results when our reference panel is added to.


    kathleen morrill

    Hi Kate,

    Another thing to note is that even siblings may inherit different proportions of their grandparent’s DNA. When genetic material is contributed from each parent, the DNA from both grandparents has been recombined and randomly assorted. So, the exact percentages from different breed ancestries might still vary a bit between siblings.

    As Brittney mentioned, American Pit Bull Terrier is not currently in our panel but will be added soon. I am right now validating and finding the ideal parameters for a new breed reference panel that looks at more genetic markers and includes several new breeds, namely: American Pit Bull Terrier, Bearded Collie, Belgian Malinois, Chinook, English Shepherd, Entlebucher, Saluki, and Tibetan Mastiff.

    When the panel is updated and your dog’s results are re-analyzed, you will receive an email notification.

    Thanks for participating!


    jessica hekman

    Hi Kate. Looking at those results, I bet they were Wisdom Panel, because that panel tends to round results to 12.5%, 25%, or 50%.

    Looks like the Bullmastiff is for real! 19.6-25% suggests that one grandparent was a Bullmastiff. The siblings could have gotten slightly different amounts, as Kathleen suggested. Also, the percentages aren’t exact representations of real life, they’re just what our compter analysis gave us. So it’s not too surprising that different computer algorithms from different companies would give slightly different numbers.

    30.5% – 50% cattle dog sounds like you have 1 grandparent or 1 parent who is a cattle dog. I’m guessing the latter.

    We don’t have American Pit Bull Terrier in our breed panel now, but we will soon. As Kathleen said, we’ll get those results out when the new panel is released. It will be interesting to see if APBT shows up in your dog then.

    I’m not sure why the other company found “bull dog” and we didn’t. There are several breeds that are “bull dogs” (English, American, French…) so I’m not even sure which breed they’re referring to. It’s not a completely precise science for sure. Again, it will be interesting to see what our new panel tells you.


    kate battista

    Hi Kate,

    I did Wisdom Panel in addition to Darwin’s Ark. Here is what I got for the same dog:

    Wisdom Panel:

    25%–American Staffordshire Terrier
    25%–Australian Shepherd
    50%–Breed Group(s):
    ● Herding
    ● Guard
    ● Sporting
    ● Companion

    Darwin’s Ark:
    5.7 % Chow Chow
    6.4 % Boxer
    6.6 % German Shepherd
    7.2 % Staffordshire Terrier
    10.6 % Australian Shepherd
    17.8 % Others (Border collie, collie, Boston, Lab, Bull terrier)
    45.7 % Unknown

    As you can see there is some overlap but DA is much more indepth.



    So… for Kate Battista… agreed DA seems more accurate… interesting that half is unknown for DA and that ‘same’ half (?) is loosely grouped/guessed at by WP. What does that indicate? For DA, does it mean it’s breed(s) not mapped by them yet? By why also would WP be having trouble – too many mixes going too far back?

    I am also curious about my comparative results and can post those later…


    kate battista

    I know for Wisdom Panel, they told me that the unknown portion was basically indicating that certain breeds came up but with very low confidence so they indicate if there are common “types” among the results. I specifically asked about German Shepherds as we figured he had GSD ancestry given how common they are and his appearance. Customer service was able to let me know that one of his main “low confidence” breeds was a Berger Suisse Blanc.

    With DA, I think the unknown portion is simply an issue of certain breeds not being mapped yet. I imagine it will be a “bully type” breed but maybe it will be some of those “low confidence” breeds that WP referenced.



    I thought they hadn’t mapped AST and so anything with an ‘American Bully breed’ would come back unknown. But you have 7.2% AST w/ DA. ?


    kate battista

    I know they have Staffordshire Bull Terrier in the list of mapped breeds. I figured that’s what the 7.2% was. I’m no expert all the different bully breeds so maybe someone from DA can confirm.

    Chandler is about 75lbs and about 23″ at the shoulder so definitely closer to AmStaff than the Staffordshire Bull terrier size wise.



    My mutt has been tested with WP, Embark, and DA.


    ~ 50% Australian Cattle Dog
    ~ 25% Boxer
    ~ 12.5% Australian Shepherd (asterisked, indicating uncertainty as to whether the predicted % is really accurate)
    ~ 12.5% too mixed to call/unknown, with Sighthound and Herding groups listed as possibilities


    34.9% ACD
    25.1% Boxer
    15.8% Australian Shepherd
    15.1% Border Collie
    9.1% too mixed to call/unknown, with Sheltie specifically predicted to be in the mix


    35.6% ACD
    26.7% unknown
    21.2% Boxer
    6.2% Border Collie
    3.8% Collie
    3.6% Sheltie
    2.9% Australian Shepherd

    In my dog’s case, I’m guessing(?) the main reason for the differences may be that she really is roughly 75% assorted herders (as WP and Embark found), but that without both a very large number of markers and a very robust reference panel, it becomes difficult to accurately assign all her non-Boxer DNA to one-or-another herding breed, since all the herding breeds detected in her to date are thought to be members of the extended collie/UK sheepdog family (Parker et al. 2017), and therefore pretty closely related. So I’ll be interested to see how much of her current 26.7% unknown winds up getting reassigned to already-called herding breeds. Would be just as ready to believe there’s a splash of something that hasn’t been called yet knocking around in there, though! The ACD and Boxer have been pretty obvious in her from the beginning (nip nip nip, boing boing boing) so I’m not surprised those two findings have held fairly constant across all three tests.



    Kate – thanks. Got it re the terrier thing. Jennifer, what a cute dog! Your analysis makes sense to me (ie the potential mix of herding breeds).

    I think my dog Bee’s analysis is an interesting one. I wonder what could account for these differences? Bloodhound and Golden are of course clearly mapped by both programs. And Embark shows a ton of relatives who are full BHs and Goldens (and some mixes).

    Let’s assume the Bloodhound is right (although still interesting the # slightly lower than 50%). But is she really not half Golden – or some of the Goldens in the breeder’s line were not actually full blooded (when subjected to so many markers, like DA does? Or there are too many data points and it’s mixing things up?). All very interesting!

    2.8 % Others
    18 % Unknown
    32.3 % Golden Retriever
    46.9 % Bloodhound

    50% Golden Retriever
    50% Bloodhound


    brittney logan

    If anyone is curious about what breeds we are currently calling, we have the full list up on our FAQ page. Please note that we are currently working on updating our reference panel with a few more breeds (including APBT!). Once the new breeds are added, we will re-run your dogs data against it and update the results.

    Thank you everyone for sharing your dogs results, it is so interesting to see the comparison!


    If you are curious about the “unknown” portion in your dogs results, this is the percentage that we could not confidently match to a single breed.

    All about ancestry: your dog’s results and what they mean



    Thanks, Brittney. Not wondering about that regarding my dog (Bloodhound and Golden). Hoping someone can comment on the possible differences in those results, as per my note above:)



    Do Bee’s Embark “Family Tree” results correspond fully to her “Summary” bar graph? I.e., does the tree show 4 great-grandparents labeled “Golden Retriever” and 4 labeled “Bloodhound?” Or is one or more of them possibly labeled “Golden Retriever mix” or “Bloodhound mix?” Because sometimes Embark tweaks those Summary bar graph numbers a bit to make them add up to 100, even when the family tree suggests otherwise. This happened with my dog, actually–the Embark breed %s I’m quoting for her are taken from her Summary, but her Summary actually just says “9.1% Shetland Sheepdog,” whereas on her family tree, one great-grandparent is labeled “Shetland Sheepdog mix,” which confused me because all the other breeds they’d called were already represented on her tree as purebred GGs, and the Summary numbers added up to 100, implying that all DNA had been accounted for. I emailed them and they said her family tree was more accurate in that respect, that in fact they were seeing some too-mixed-to-call DNA in association with her Sheltie DNA.

    If that’s not the case for Bee though, then I got nuthin’.



    Nope, Embark great grand parents are perfectly Golden on one side and BH on the other – no signs of ‘mixes.’

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