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My dog and I often go on morning walks, and while out strolling, people have often asked what breed my dog is. I was never sure how to respond because I didn’t know my pup’s breed. Realizing this is something I should probably know, I decided to get a dog DNA test.
But with so many kits on the market, I really had to do some research. And while I started the hunt for a dog DNA kit just wanting to find out what kind of dog I rescued, I also learned these kits provide a wealth of information about health and genetic risks. Plus, I found that knowing your dog’s breed helps you better understand their behaviors and tendencies.
And now, thanks to a dog DNA test, I’ve learned my pup is a mixed breed, also known as America’s favorite mutt! And these hearty pups often suffer from fewer health problems than many purebreds. What will you learn about your dog when you try one of the best dog DNA test kits?
Dr. Terry Fossum says, “As a veterinarian, I highly recommend DNA tests, such as Embark, that give you useful health information, in addition to breed information. Talk to your veterinarian regarding the results, and they may be able to help determine a plan that keeps your dog healthy and happy as they age.”
Before you learn everything there is to know about your dog’s genetic makeup, find out what you need to know about DNA tests for dogs with our handy buyer’s guide. And after you scroll the top test options, don’t miss out on the frequently asked questions section. You’ll also find an in-depth pros and cons list about these tests so you can go in knowing just what they can and can’t do. Now, let’s put the microscope of dog DNA tests!
Dog DNA Test Buying Guide
Now that you’ve learned what’s what with four of the best dog DNA kits on the market, you’ll hopefully find an easier time deciding which test is suitable for your needs. But, before you make your choice, there are a few more things you might want to consider when choosing a dog DNA test.
Getting your dog’s DNA results is so exciting! While it’s only been a few weeks, it can feel like you’ve waited forever to find out about your pup. But what if you finally get the results and can’t understand them? Talk about a bummer. That’s why choosing a DNA kit that offers results in multiple formats is important, allowing you to absorb all the information about breed makeup and health revelations.
It’s also helpful when brands offer charts to illustrate breed composition percentages. Again, seeing the info delivered in multiple ways helps dog parents understand the results further. Plus, digital reports that can be easily printed allow you to bring a copy to your vet so that you can discuss the findings with a professional.
It’s no fun to pay premium prices for a DNA kit and then be forced to wait several weeks to receive results. Sure, top brands get loaded with customers, and such detailed reports take time to generate as these DNA screenings search through hundreds of breeds and diseases, but still, results should arrive within two weeks of you returning the test to the lab. Any longer seems a bit excessive to wait. Also, if you’re waiting for results from a breed-only test, receiving a report shouldn’t take more than a week.
We all know no one is perfect, so don’t believe any DNA test company that claims one hundred percent accuracy in results. Also, when shopping for the best dog DNA kit for your needs, look for mentions of result accuracy. You may not find the information, as most of the brands don’t mention it, except for a few of the top ones like Embark, who gladly touts their results are 95-99 percent accurate, but it’s still work looking for. And, who knows what other cool info you might find when looking?
Breeds and Genetic Markers Tests
To discover all the breeds that make up your dog’s overall genetic composition, you should choose a test kit with a broad database of dog breeds. For example, Embark and Wisdom Panel screen for more than 350 breeds. If you suspect your pup has rare dog breeds in their lineage, going with a company that screens for hundreds of breeds might be a better idea, as tests with limited breed databases may not accurately report all of your buddy’s breeds.
However, if your dog has a more common breed makeup, a test kit that only screens 75 breeds would probably do just fine for your needs. And for those dog parents that want to know their doggy’s complete breed makeup, be sure to look for brands that break findings down to one percent.
Depth of the results
Think about what you’re looking for from a dog DNA test. Are you just interested in breed composition, or do you want a report that includes health information? If it’s all about the breed breakdown in your mind, then you don’t need the in-depth results that typically come with a higher price tag. But, if you’re seeking your pup’s potential health risks via DNA testing, you can expect to pay more for results that deliver deeper health insights.
The main thing every dog lover wants to know from a dog DNA kit is their dog’s breed. But some companies also offer additional information that provides breed-specific health insights and care tips. These helpful additions to DNA reports are icing on the cake of fantastic info! With these little bonuses, you might find the advice you need to help improve your dog’s best life.
Best Dog DNA Tests Kits Reviews 2023
#1. Embark Dog DNA Test
If you’re looking into buying one of the best dog DNA kits ever designed, the Embark DNA Kit designed by Canine not only helps you know your dog’s breed but also provides insights into your dog’s health.
Embark and Cornel University created the Embark Breed and Health kit, and their mutual effort brings forth something even the highest-rated DNA test kits lack; your dog’s family lineage. Called the canine relative finder, this unique feature allows you to connect with members of your dog’s family, finding over 90 percent of their cousins and 12 percent of their direct family members.
In connecting with your dog’s blood relatives, you can share information about health conditions, behavior quirks, and other facts that will allow you to take care of your dog in the best possible way. In fact, thirty-seven percent of pet parents who’ve used Embark say they’re taking better care of their pups thanks to what they learned from their dog’s results.
Per my experience and consumer reports, Embark test results are nearly 99% accurate. Because they test almost double the number of genetic markers than many of the leading DNA tests on the market, you can expect increased precision in everything from breed information to health insights.
One of the primary advantages of using Embark Breed plus Health Kit compared to other DNA tests is its helpful insights into your dog’s health. It thoroughly checks genetically-linked health markers, scouring for more than 200 mutations and alerting you to possible markers or carrier genes in your dog’s DNA. But remember, these are just insights into health and not a diagnosis.
Plus, the testing itself is so easy. Simply take the swab from the kit and rub it inside your dog’s cheek for thirty seconds to a minute, then send it to the lab! Once the results are ready, you can find them on Embark’s website in full detail and written in easy-to-digest language.
- Over 200+ genetic markers
- Database that helps determines your dog’s relatives
- Nearly 99% accuracy in results
- Helpful health insights to help you better care for your dog
- Test is easy to use, and results are easy to understand
- Carrier or disease risks should not be taken as 100 percent accurate; these insights serve as a tool to help you keep your dog their healthiest
Offer: Save up to $40 with code BESTDOG when you order from Embark!
#2. DNA My Dog Genetic Testing Kit
If you’re on a budget and can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars to learn your dog’s breed, go with DNA My Dog Genetic Testing Kit. This kit helps you discover your dog’s breed and other vital information regarding health at almost half the price of competitor options.
This lower pricing does come with a slight con, though. The DNA My DOG database only identifies 95 breeds, which is pretty limited. And if your dog is a rare breed, chances are, you might not get the breed information. But one thing I found particularly impressive was the quick turnaround. Your results arrive within one week of the test’s arrival at the lab.
DNA My DOG focuses primarily on determining your dog’s breed, and results will show a percentage breakdown of the levels of each breed found in your dog’s unique DNA. Along with your dog’s breed info, this kit will also tell you the personality traits of your pup’s revealed breeds, overall health insights, possible health risks, and more. Remember that the traits or health information provided aren’t specific to your dog, only the breed itself, and are meant to provide helpful information on monitoring health.
In addition to affordable prices and quick service, you can expect excellent customer care that responds promptly. DNA My Dog is there to help you with any questions or concerns.
- One-week result turnaround is one of the quickest on the market
- Offers more affordable pricing than others
- Helpful insights about your dog’s breed, overall health, and personality traits
- Provides accurate breed info
- Fast and friendly customer service
- Limited databases for breed and health screening
#3. Wisdom Panel Premium Dog DNA Test Kit
If you want a dog DNA test kit with the most comprehensive overview of your dog’s ancestry, traits, and health, then the Wisdom Panel Premium Dog DNA test kit is the one for you.
The top benefit of choosing this kit is the extensive screening as Wisdom Panel screens for more than 200 health conditions. Based on the health findings, your report will also include helpful insights on how any carriers or markers for certain diseases might affect your dog’s life. And once you receive your results, you can discuss the findings with a Wisdom Panel veterinarian to help you better understand what’s going on in your pup’s DNA.
Wisdom Panel also boasts a vast database of more than 350 dog breeds. Their testing process sorts through 1,800+ genetic markers, breaking your dog’s breed composition down to one percent. Plus, you’ll learn your pooch’s family history and connect with their family members. And your digital report will also reveal dominant personality traits based on your pup’s breed composition.
- Screens for 350+ dog breeds
- Tests for more than 200 health conditions within 16 major body systems
- Helps determine the chances of developing certain diseases
- Breaks down the breed composition to 1%
- Provides digital reports with helpful health insights
- Accuracy and precision aren’t as reliable as competitors
#4. Orivet Genopet Dog DNA Test
If you’re on a budget but still want to buy a leading dog DNA test kit without cutting corners or compromising results, go with the Orivet Genopet DOG DNA Test Kit.
The Orivet brand has been trusted by veterinarians and breeders for over a decade, thanks to detailed breed reporting and in-depth health insights. This kit identifies your dog’s breed makeup and reports the findings down to the percentages of each breed found in your pup’s DNA. And in addition to the in-depth health revelations GenoPet provides, they also offer a personalized wellness plan based on the dog breeds discovered, your dog’s age, weight, gender, geographic location, and lifestyle.
Remember that the budget option is limited to basic DNA testing of dog breeds. But if you’re willing to pay the higher price, you’ll get more in-depth and detailed health insights and the Orivet lifestyle plan customized for your dog’s breed makeup.
Like the above-reviewed product, the testing process is as easy as a simple cheek swab, and within 2-3 weeks, your results will be ready, and you can log into Orivet’s website to view your detailed report.
- Screens 350+ dog breeds
- Provides more detailed breed info and health insights
- Recommends tips to help keep your dog their healthiest
- Basic breed testing at budget-friendly pricing
- Industry-leading brand in business for more than a decade
- Advanced report options can be expensive
#5. Koko DNA Test for Dogs Advanced
The Koko DNA Test for Dogs Advanced is an impressive tool designed to help pet parents understand their canine companions better. This test is designed to assess breed composition, potential health predispositions, and physical traits. The comprehensive breed identification analyzes your dog’s DNA and cross-references it with an extensive database of more than 400 recognized breeds. It can help uncover the mix of breeds in your dog’s lineage, giving insights into their behaviors and physical traits.
The health predisposition feature is another highlight of the Koko DNA test. It screens more than 710,000 genetic markers linked to over 130 diseases, providing an early warning system for potential health issues. And updates are always free with Koko’s service.
Only a swab of your dog’s saliva is needed to perform the genetic analysis. All the necessary steps will be communicated via mail. The results can be viewed in an interface that’s straightforward, explanatory, and user-friendly. It’s designed to be so simple that even your dog could navigate it, with a little assistance from you.
- Koko uses the AxiomTM Canine HD Array chip with Thermo Fisher Scientific Microarray technology for accuracy
- Extensive breed identification of more than 400 dog breeds
- Health predisposition screening
- Scans 710,000+ genetic markers
- Receive database pdates without paying extra
- Results may take longer than some competitors at 4-6 weeks waiting period
- Health screening results should not replace regular veterinary care
- Limited reviews available from dog parents who’ve used
#6. 5Strands Pet Food Intolerance Test, at Home Sensitivity Test for Dogs & Cats
While not a DNA kit for dogs, the 5Strands Pet Food Intolerance Test can also help shed light on your dog’s inner workings. It’s an at-home kit designed to help identify sensitivities your dog or cat may have towards certain foods. Unlike allergy tests, it checks for intolerances, which are non-immune responses that can cause discomfort and other symptoms in your pet.
One of the standout features of this test is that it screens for over 300 common food items including grains, proteins, vegetables, fruits, additives, and preservatives. The process is simple and non-invasive, requiring just a 10-15 strands of hair to conduct the analysis, making it stress-free for both the pet and the parent. The results provide a comprehensive list of food intolerances categorized into three levels based on the severity of the reaction. This information can be very helpful when planning diets and meals for your dog.
However, it’s important to note that while 5Strands may highlight potential food intolerances, it is not designed to diagnose any medical conditions. Also, the report may be overwhelming to interpret without professional guidance. Therefore, discussing the results with a vet or a pet nutritionist is recommended.
- Non-invasive and easy to use
- Screens for over 300 food items
- Detailed categorization of potential intolerances
- Includes a comb to help collect the hair strains needed for testing
- Does not diagnose medical conditions
- Results may be difficult to interpret without professional guidance
- Some users have reported long wait times for results
#7. Embark Vet DNA Test Kit for Purebred Dogs
The Embark Vet DNA Test Kit for Purebred Dogs is a comprehensive testing solution designed specifically for purebred dogs. It offers an expansive breed database, in-depth health screenings, and unique traits analysis.
One of the key features of this kit is its breed validation function, which verifies a dog’s purebred status by analyzing the consistency of their genetic markers with those of their claimed breed. It provides breeders and parents with concrete genetic proof of their dog’s purebred lineage.
Additionally, this kit provides an extensive health screening, checking for over 200 genetic diseases. It helps identify potential health issues that may arise in the future, enabling proactive healthcare. In terms of traits, Embark investigates over 20 physical traits to provide insights into why your dog looks and behaves the way they do. And like other DNA tests, all it takes is a simple cheek swab.
- Comprehensive breed validation
- Extensive health screening that tests for 230+ health risks
- Detailed traits analysis
- Connects dogs with family members
- Results in 2-4 weeks
- Higher cost compared to some other tests
- Results may be overwhelming to interpret for some
- Longer turnaround time for results
Offer: Buy the Embark Breed + Health Test and Purebred Test Bundle and save $100 at Embark!
FAQs About Dog DNA Tests
How much is a dog DNA test?
The cost of DNA testing for dogs can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the test and the specific information you’re looking for. Basic breed identification kits, which identify the breed makeup of your dog, typically cost around $70 to $100. More advanced tests, which can also provide insight into health conditions and genetic traits, are on the higher end of the price range, with a dog DNA test cost sometimes exceeding $150. However, prices may fluctuate due to promotions and sales, so it is always advisable to check with different DNA test providers for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
How accurate are dog DNA tests?
Dog DNA tests are generally considered quite accurate, especially when it comes to identifying the breeds that make up a dog’s genetic heritage. They utilize advanced scientific techniques to analyze a dog’s genetic material, often offering over 90% accuracy in breed identification. However, it’s important to note that the accuracy can depend on the database size of the testing company—the more breeds in the database, the higher the accuracy of breed detection. When it comes to health screenings, these tests can reliably identify certain genetic markers associated with various conditions, but they should not replace regular veterinary care or diagnostic tests.
What is the best dog DNA test?
The best DNA test for dogs depends on what you’re hoping to learn from the test. Some options might prioritize extensive health screenings, while others might be more interested in accurate breed identification. Therefore, it’s advisable to thoroughly research and compare different options based on individual needs and priorities. Choose the test the covers more of what you are interested in learning about your dog.
How to DNA test your dog?
So, just how do dog DNA tests work? DNA testing your dog is a straightforward process that can be done from home. Here are the general steps:
- Purchase a DNA test kit: Choose a test based on what you hope to learn. Some kits only identify your dog’s breed, while others can also screen for potential genetic health conditions.
- Collect a sample: Most kits require a cheek swab. This involves gently rubbing a specialized swab on the inside of your dog’s cheek to collect skin cells. Ensure your dog hasn’t eaten or drunk anything for about two hours before collection for the most accurate results.
- Send the sample to the lab: Place the swab in the provided container and mail it back to the company in the pre-paid envelope.
- Wait for results: The laboratory will analyze your sample, which can take anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks, depending on the company. Once complete, they’ll send you a report, often accessible online, detailing your dog’s genetic makeup and any health findings.
Remember to follow the specific instructions provided with your chosen kit, as procedures can vary slightly between companies.
How to get a dog DNA test?
You can purchase a dog DNA test online or at some pet stores. Once you order the test, you’ll receive a kit which usually includes instructions, a cheek swab for collecting your dog’s DNA, and packaging for sending the sample back to the lab. After collecting the sample according to the kit’s instructions, you send it back to the company.
What DNA test do vets use?
Veterinarians may use various DNA tests depending on what they’re trying to find out. Some use breed-specific tests for identification or disease risk analysis, while others might use more generalized tests that can identify a broad range of breeds and health markers. Brands like Embark and Wisdom Panel are often used by vets for their comprehensive breed and health screenings.
Can DNA tell what breed of a dog?
Yes, DNA tests can identify the breed or breeds of a dog by comparing specific markers in the dog’s DNA to a database of markers associated with known breeds. However, the accuracy of the results depends on the size and diversity of the database the testing company uses. Larger databases can typically identify breeds more accurately.
Can a dog DNA test predict future health issues?
Dog DNA tests can identify genetic markers associated with certain health conditions, giving an indication of the dog’s risk for those diseases. However, it’s important to note that these tests do not definitively predict whether a dog will develop these diseases, but rather, they identify potential genetic predispositions.
What does a dog DNA test show/reveal about my dog?
A dog DNA test can reveal detailed information about your dog’s breed ancestry, which can help explain certain behaviors, physical characteristics, and potential health risks. More advanced tests can also identify genetic markers associated with specific diseases and traits, providing insight into your dog’s potential genetic health risks and predispositions.
How long does it take to get results from a dog DNA test?
The time it takes to get results from a dog DNA test can vary depending on the company and the complexity of the test. Generally, you can expect to receive results within 2 to 8 weeks from the time the sample is received by the laboratory. The results are usually accessible online and you’ll typically be notified by email when they’re ready.
Pros and Cons of Dog DNA Tests
- Breed Identification: Dog DNA tests are the most accurate way to determine a dog’s breed, especially for mixed breed dogs. This can help satisfy a pet owner’s curiosity, but also provide insight into potential behavioral traits, health issues, and the dog’s potential adult size.
- Genetic Health Screening: These tests can identify genetic predispositions to various health issues such as specific cancers, heart diseases, neurological, and immune disorders. Early detection allows pet owners to work closely with their veterinarians to develop a health plan that could potentially extend the life of their pet.
- Behavioral Insights: By knowing your dog’s breed, you can gain insights into its behavioral characteristics. This can help owners understand their pet’s needs and adapt their training and care to suit the dog’s predispositions.
- Ancestry Information: For those interested in their pet’s lineage, dog DNA tests can provide interesting information about their dog’s ancestry. This can be especially intriguing for rescue dogs or adopted dogs with unknown histories.
- Validation of Breed: For those who have bought a purebred dog, a DNA test can confirm the authenticity of the breed.
- Accuracy Concerns: While many companies promise high accuracy rates, results can sometimes be inconsistent, particularly with less common breeds and mixed breeds. The accuracy of a test largely depends on the size of the company’s breed database, and no test is 100% accurate.
- Cost: Dog DNA tests can be expensive, with prices ranging from $60 to over $200, depending on the brand and the depth of information provided.
- Potential for Unnecessary Worry: DNA tests may highlight potential genetic health risks that may never become actual problems. This could cause unnecessary worry for pet owners.
- Limited Health Screening: While some tests may alert owners to potential genetic diseases, they cannot replace regular veterinary care. They may not screen for all possible diseases, and they certainly can’t account for environmental factors that also significantly impact a dog’s health.
- Privacy Concerns: As with any genetic testing, privacy issues are a potential concern. While most companies promise to keep your pet’s genetic data private, there is always a risk of data being sold or used for other purposes.
Dog DNA Test Final Thoughts
Your dog is undoubtedly an important family member, so of course, you want to know every detail about your furry one. With dog DNA tests, not only do you learn breed info, but you also have the option to find out about some of your pup’s blood relatives. Knowing about any health problems relatives have faced can help you keep an eye out for similar issues in your dog. And with insights on personality traits and behaviors, you can better understand why your best friend does the silly things they do!
And while good quality dog DNA kits and their additional plan options can get expensive, the money is worth spending as these tests deliver detailed insights into just who your dog is and how you can make their life the best ever.
Now, with all these thoughts in mind, have fun choosing the best dog DNA kit for your pup!
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