Best Dog DNA Tests

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

It’s not always easy guessing your dog’s background- especially if you have a mixed breed dog or have adopted a rescue from a shelter. Dog DNA tests help resolve the mystery of which breeds make up your pet’s family tree- as well as help you learn m

If I could have a buck for every time someone asked me which breed or a mix of breeds my gang of mutts are, I’d be one rich lady. From bets and guesses- “her coat pattern says a Saint Bernard but her body type is definitely shepherd”, “I can bet he has some Rottweiler among his ancestors”- to genuine tries at discerning which breeds could possibly help create those gorgeous mixes, everyone is curious to find out- which breed(s) is your dog? Including myself!

In case you have a mutt or have adopted a dog from a rescue or a shelter, it’s highly likely you have no clue who their parents are. Guesstimating which mix of breeds could be traced back to your pet’s family tree is certainly fun to do, but if your curiosity goes deeper than just guessing, you’ll want to get as much information about your pet’s genetics as possible- and nothing can give you more data than dog DNA tests. Of course, genealogy won’t change how much you love your unique doggo, that’s for sure, but knowing more about your dog’s genetic makeup can definitely help you figure out more about them. Not only that dog DNA tests uncover which dog breeds can be found in your pet’s ancestry, but they can tell you what to expect, both in terms of traits and some potential health issues, helping you stay vigilant and making sure your pooch has the best possible care in the world.

Dog DNA tests all work on the same principle: you’ll get a kit you use to take a sample of your pet’s DNA (a simple and painless cheek swab), you mail the sample to the company, and wait for the results. Easy peasy! However, not all DNA tests for dogs offer the same type of information or the same level of detail- e.g. some might only provide breed info, others could test for hereditary diseases, and some for all. To help you make the best choice to satiate your own curiosity and get the exact information you need, we’ve rounded the best dog DNA tests on the market.

For those pet pawrents that are REALLY curious and want to get as much information about their dog’s genetic background as possible, this all-encompassing DNA test is the way to go. Embark Breed & Health Kit screens for over 350 dog breeds, so there’s no chance you’ll get one of those “50% unknown” results- this test will find every ancestral breed in your pet’s family tree. In fact, their genotyping platform was developed in partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and boasts great accuracy. This test also screens for over 200 genetic diseases, including MDR1 drug sensitivity, glaucoma, degenerative myelopathy, and dilated cardiomyopathy so you’ll be able to know if your pet is at risk for any of the common adult-onset diseases and react on time. As an added bonus, this dog DNA test gives you the chance to connect with your pet’s relatives: it will give you a percentage of shared DNA between your dog and others that have been tested with the same kit. How awesome is that?

Runner up: Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel Dog DNA Test Kit

If you’re not willing to shell out but still want as much info as possible, Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel Dog DNA Test Kit is the perfect compromise. A simple cheek swab will result in a detailed report that breaks down your pet’s genetic makeup down to the breeds that have been a part of their ancestry for three generations back, tests if there’s a chance your pet has multi-drug sensitivity by looking for the MDR1 gene and provides you all the important insights based on your pet’s genetics. By analyzing the traits and characteristics of breeds that your pet has in its family tree, this company generates a report that tells you what weight is optimal for your pet to help avoid obesity and health issues, insights into behavior, and how some personality traits could impact training. Essentially, the information you’ll be given can help you care for your pet in the best way possible- from tailoring their diet to adjusting your training methods.

Customer’s choice: Wisdom Panel Essential

For those happy pawrents that have just adopted their first puppy or welcomed a rescue to their family, it’s the essentials that matter and that’s exactly the kind of information you’ll get with Wisdom Panel Essential. The kit tests for over 350 breeds, types, and varieties: over 2 million dogs were tested with the company so it has an impressive database for comparison. It can help break down your pet’s breed mix down to 1%! In addition to offering accurate and comprehensive testing for breed types, Wisdom Panel Essential also offers insight on 35+ traits which will help you find out why your pet’s coat is shaggy or short, why their snout is shaped as it is, and if their body shape is a result of their ancestry. Furthermore, this test provides essential medical information to pet parents by testing if your pet is at risk for any of over 25 medical complications, including the MDR1 gene.

Best Budget Choice: DNA My Dog – Canine Breed Identification Test Kit

You don’t have to break the bank to get the scoop on your mutt’s family tree! If you’re on a budget, DNA My Dog – Canine Breed Identification Test Kit can help you find out the most important information about your pet’s genes. Sure, it won’t go into much detail, but considering it costs a fraction of what all-encompassing dog DNA tests do, it’s only fair. It tests for over 100 breeds in your pet’s genetic makeup and shows in which percentage they are represented, as well as provides a report and a custom certificate based on the results of the test. While it will not offer in-depth medical information or cover the breed ancestry to the minute percentage, DNA My Dog – Canine Breed Identification Test Kit will give you the chance to learn more about your pet’s unique ancestry without going over the budget, and that’s just what many pet parents need.

Best for Mutts: Embark Breed Identification Kit

We love mutts to pieces, but it’s a fact that they can be a bit of a mystery! It is difficult to determine the breeds in each unique mix by looks alone- in fact, looks can be really misleading when it comes to guessing breeds. That’s where the Embark Breed Identification Kit comes into play. This in-depth breed identification test can Embark screens for over 350 dog breeds, types, and varieties, and thanks to their research-grade genotyping platform developed in partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, the results they get are very accurate. The test can precisely determine the breed contribution in your pet’s genetic makeup for up to 5%, which is more than impressive. Your unique pooch won’t be shrouded in mystery anymore!

Best for Health Screening: ORIVET Dog DNA Test Kit | Health Screen and LifePlan™ for Dogs

Dog DNA tests are not just about satisfying an owner’s curiosity about the breeds that went into creating the one-of-a-kind mix their dog is- often, pet parents decide on genetic testing to learn more about their pet’s health and ensure they can make the right decisions for their wellbeing. ORIVET Health Screen and LifePlan™ Dog DNA Test Kit is designed for such situations, as it focuses primarily on testing for genetic diseases: it screens for over 150 diseases and traits and classifies health risks for your pet based on their genetics. Additionally, you’ll get a personalized Life Plan that is based on their breed, age, weight, gender, lifestyle, and geographic location. This test, however, doesn’t provide breed identification.

Best for Pitbulls: Wisdom Panel Premium

Curious if your rescue has a bit of a Bully in them? Then you want a detailed DNA test that can determine if there are any of the Pitbull breeds present in the mix. Wisdom Panel Premium goes above and beyond to break down the breeds in your pet’s ancestry, and as they have already tested over 2 million dogs, they have an impressive database to go from. The test can determine breeds in the mix all up to 1% and screens for over 350 breeds, types, and varieties, including all of the Bully breeds with their specific genetic signatures. Additionally, the test screens for over 200 health conditions, so you’ll also get some crucial information for your pet’s overall wellbeing.

Best for Rescues: ORIVET Dog DNA Test

Shelter dogs often have a rough past behind them- or in the best-case scenario, their history is one big question mark. Genetic testing can help clear up some mysteries and shine a light on your new pet’s traits and health and the ORIVET Dog DNA Test delivers information on both and much more. There are over 350 breeds in the company’s database so you can rest assured that all of the main “culprits” for your dog’s looks and behavioral traits will be identified. The test also screens for health conditions- or more precisely, over 200 genetic diseases and traits, making sure that no stone is left unturned. It is ideal for new pet parents particularly as it comes with a personalized wellness plan that helps you manage your pet’s overall health throughout their life thanks to the unique genetic insight the results provide.

How Do Dog DNA Tests Work? How Accurate Are Dog DNA Tests?

DNA kits have been all the rage the last couple of years- almost every other person has done one to figure out if they have relatives they don’t know or where their ancestors came from. But what about DNA tests for canines? While they are not as precise or as all-encompassing as tests developed for humans, dog DNA tests can provide you with plenty of useful information and at a pretty accurate level to boot. Companies claim an accuracy level of over 90% which is more than impressive. The way these tests work is always the same: to get the data about your pet, you’ll need to provide a sample of their DNA, which is done by swabbing the inside of their cheek. Kits come with everything you need to take the sample and ship it back to them for analysis.

Depending on the type of test you’ve chosen to do, your pet’s saliva can be analyzed to determine their ancestry or their genetic markers for diseases and hereditary conditions. Often, these tests can do both. While your choice will depend on your individual situation and preferences, one thing is for certain: you’ll learn so much more about your pet, even if all you test for is basic breed identification. The breed isn’t everything, but it can tell you a lot about your pet’s quirks, traits, and even explain some weird habits they have, e.g. obsession with squirrels in Terrier mixes.

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Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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