No. On the contrary, a Village Dog is a dog breed—and a rare one at that
When we call your dog a Village Dog, it's not because we can't figure out what breeds are in your dog. Embark is pretty much the only commercial dog DNA test kit that tests for Village Dog as a breed—and they are indeed a breed. They can be recognized and differentiated from other breeds by their distinct DNA signature. Geographic nuances can also be recognized, which is why we can report if your Village Dog is "European," "African," "Indian," "Asian," or "American."
What exactly are Village Dogs? Village Dogs are free-ranging, free-breeding dogs whose ancestors were indigenous to a geographic area. In effect, they are the descendants of the founding population of dogs in a region. With the migration of people, there is often some introduction of more conventional domestic dog breeds into Village Dog populations—and we can easily identify this, as well. If it's a fairly recent ancestor, like a great-grandparent or less, this dog breed will be on your dog's family tree (and a percentage of their DNA will be attributed to that non-Village Dog breed). If the contribution is less recent than that, we'll list it under "trace" breeds.
What do Village Dogs look like? Just like a dog breed generated by years of selective breeding, Village Dogs are startlingly similar no matter where you go. They have a short coat, a narrow head, often upright ears, and a slim body. Rather than being shaped by human fancy or purpose, Village Dogs have a form and function molded by natural selection to exquisitely fulfill their unique role: a consummate scavenger, and a sometimes companion, in human communities.
How did we end up testing for Village Dogs? Our co-founders, Adam and Ryan Boyko, traveled the world sampling Village Dogs to gain insight into dog evolution and genetic diversity. The results of this work were published recently in a leading journal (check it out here). It also resulted in Embark having the largest Village Dog panel in the world.
By the way, only about 1% of the dogs we've returned have come back as 100% Village Dog of any origin! So congratulations if you have one: Your dog is unique!