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I did dog genetic testing and got my puppies' DNA test results back!


Three Bernedoodles in doctor and scientist costumes
The doctor dog better look at the impaled paintbrush on the guy next to him.

I've been nerding out about DNA ever since I did dog genetic testing on my two Bernedoodles. After we found a stud for Coco and she got pregnant, I spent hours trying to predict what kind of puppies they would have.


Of course, a hypothesis doesn't always match reality.


What I expected: Some gray puppies with black spots (blue merles). Some brown puppies with tan spots (liver merles). Maybe a solid tri-color or two or 1 or 2 red/white puppies. I also thought they would all be mini-sized.


What I got: No merles, 3 red/white, 2 brown tri-color, 1 black tri-color and they are standard sized.


Don't worry I love them all! I got my Embark DNA tests back and here are some fun things I learned.


The curly-haired pups

Two of the puppies had much more obvious waves in their coats than their littermates. There is a coat texture gene located at KRT71. These two puppies had result 'TT' which means a very likely curly coat. This is great for people who are allergic to dogs. The curly coats inherited from the poodles have much less dander and shedding.



Two curly haired Bernedoodle puppies
They know they look good

The Tri-Color Gang


Three Bernedoodle puppies in a dog bed
I see you mean-mugging back there Oreo

Bernedoodles get their tri-color coats from their Bernese Mountain Dog ancestor. I have one traditional black tri-color but I also have two brown based ones. The dad is a brown tri-color so the resemblance is strong. If the puppy has 'atat' on the A-Locus location then it has the cute little tan eyebrows, cheeks, and legs. If the result on the B-Locus is 'BB' or 'Bb' then it has a black base coat. If it is 'bb', then it has a brown base coat. Tippy on the right has 'Bb' but is dark brown. She is an example of how other genetics can come in and alter things.


The Red and White Gang


Three Bernedoodle puppies in a dog bed
Did Coco cheat with a Goldendoodle?

Where did all these cream guys come from? The mom is a blue merle and the dad is a dark brown tri-color. This is where recessive genes come into play. The E locus is one of the most dominant genes. Coco and Hollow were both 'Ee' at this location. All three of these pups got the lower case 'e' so they are 'ee'. If Bernedoodles are 'ee' then almost all of the other coat color genetics get ignored. Instead of tan points, they get tan bodies. 'Bb' and 'bb' here determines if they have black or brown noses and foot pads.


The White Guy


A white Bernedoodle in a dog bed
He's pretty fly

There is another locus called the S Locus that controls the white on the dog. 'SS' means very little white. However if the dog breed has white markings traditionally then those will still come through. Strawberry is an example of another recessive trait coming together. Coco and Hollow were both 'Ssp'. Strawberry is 'spsp' which is referred to as "piebald".


"Piebald" is a pattern that arises from a genetic trait resulting in unpigmented spots (white areas) on a pigmented background of hair. The piebald gene causes the white areas, and these can cover any part of the dog's body, often symmetrically.


An animation of a dog with white covering it's coat
doggenetics.com does great coat breakdowns.

Health

I can't forget the most important part of DNA testing which is to check for hereditary health conditions. The dad was clear of everything and the mom had one copy of something called ALT Activity. That means if your dog gets a liver test, let the vet know because the numbers may be misleading. There is no health concerns for my dog. I made sure to select a good stud to have healthy puppies. Four of the puppies are completely clear and two inherited one copy of ALT Activity from the mom.


Getting DNA tests for the whole litter wasn't cheap but I feel like it's so important so dog owners have a complete picture of their special friend.



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