There are two major reasons why you may be seeing some "unresolved" ancestry in your dog. First, the long stretches of DNA we use to identify the breed ancestry in your dog's family tree get shorter and shorter with every generation. Over enough generations, these fragments of DNA get too short to confidently assign to any one breed in our reference database, so we assign them as "unresolved."
The other reason you may be seeing some unresolved ancestry is that your dog contains a unique genetic signature not yet reflected in our reference database. While our breed database is extensive, there are some breeds that have genetic diversity we haven't yet accounted for. Over time, as our database grows, we may be able to account for that genetic diversity and resolve those "unresolved" portions.
If you know your lines represent some unique diversity within your breed, please consider contributing to our scientific process by uploading your dog's registration documentation so we can revisit them when we add more dogs to our database. For more information on how to upload documents to your dog's profile, you can take a look at this article.
Does an "Unresolved" result mean my dog is not purebred?
This is a great question, and while Embark is pleased to offer the most accurate and comprehensive dog DNA test available, it is important to note a genetic ancestry test can neither determine nor negate purebred status. This is because purebred status is not itself a scientific designation. It includes human-defined registration criteria and pedigree records indicating all of a dog's ancestors were of the same breed.
Genetic ancestry testing can typically inform on 4-5 generations with confidence. A DNA test can show a dog's overall genomic signature is consistent with that of a purebred, but it may not always be able to exclude the possibility of a small amount of mixture from another breed, especially a closely related breed. Also, it does not examine whether or not a dog has the physical characteristics consistent with the breed standard. For example, many puppies born of purebred parents deviate from the breed standard and cannot be registered, even though their whole genome is still consistent with that of a purebred dog. You can read more about this in our blog post on this very topic.