Are you suspicious of what other breed your Sheltie might be? Or perhaps you’re dying to know what makes up your rescued mix-breed pup? Well, reader, you’re in luck. Not only does a dog breed DNA test kit help determine what breeds your dog is made of, but it can also provide helpful information about potential inherited diseases.
Unlike most other pet products, there are limited choices when it comes to dog DNA kits, especially if you are looking for a comprehensive and trusted option.
We reviewed four of the best dog breed at-home DNA test kit brands on the market, looking at how they work, what you should consider when selecting a DNA test kit, and more. So, let’s discover all there is to know about doggy DNA.
At a Glance: Top DNA Tests For Dogs
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to each company’s website to learn more. If you make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Reasons to Get a Dog Breed DNA Test
Here are some of the main reasons dog lovers across the country are testing their canine’s DNA.
Suppose you’re the proud owner of a marvelous mutt. In that case, you’d probably be a millionaire if you had earned a dollar every time a passer-by asked you what breed your pup is. After receiving your results, you can say with certainty what breeds make up your pup. Plus, most of us dog owners are curious to know everything we can about our furry companions. It’s a borderline obsession of many pet owners.
Not only is it informative, but some of the more advanced DNA test kits can tell you a lot about the expected health of your dog. For example, if you have a Lab, it might tell you about their most at-risk health conditions, such as hip dysplasia, eye conditions, and cancer.
From this, you and your vet can devise a health plan that might help to minimize such conditions while knowing to keep a watchful eye on related concerns. Furthermore, it advises you whether they are likely to pass on these conditions if you decide to breed them. It’s worth saying that no DNA kit can diagnose health conditions, nor can it predict them with certainty. But, it can offer a heads-up about what you might expect in the future based on genetics.
What better reason to do a DNA test on your pup than, well, why not? It’s fun for the whole family. Plus, if you have kids, you can bring them on board and teach them a little about DNA and ancestry. Every day is a school day if you make it fun enough.
How Do Dog Breed DNA Test Kits Work?
Dog DNA tests are pretty straightforward. Please read our reviews below, and select the one that best suits you, your needs, and your budget. It’s so easy. You just place your order online and get your kit delivered straight to your door.
Using the kit’s specific instructions, swab your dog’s cheek to gather the DNA. Pack the swab carefully in the included mailing package and return it to the company within the allotted time frame. And there, they do what they do best, test your dog’s DNA. Depending on their method, they return the results to you in a few weeks, either by email, online account, or snail mail.
If you have any questions, each company has a contact page to reach them via telephone or email. If you have selected a comprehensive DNA kit that offers a health evaluation, you can share this with your vet. You can then make an appointment to discuss any concerns you have and where to go from there.
What Should I Look for in a Dog DNA Test?
This way, you can find the best option to suit you and your needs. Let’s take a look at what considerations you need to think about.
Your reasons behind testing your dog’s DNA may help determine which kit you buy. For example, if you’re looking for an in-depth DNA evaluation complete with a health analysis, you’ll want a more advanced (and pricier) option that offers this benefit. Equally, if it’s just for fun, a basic test focusing on an overview of what breeds make up your pup will do.
A DNA test kit needs to offer accuracy. Otherwise, what’s the point in doing it in the first place. Precision is essential if you purchase an at-home DNA kit to gain insight into your pup’s health and potential breeding concerns. It’s necessary to research the test you wish to buy, understand their accuracy claims, and read reviews. Some kits also offer a warranty in case you are not happy with it.
The more basic kits compare the results against a smaller dog breed database. These smaller databases only contain the most popular dog breeds found in America and, thus, might not capture the full picture of your dog’s breed composition. However, the advanced kits compare the results to a vast and comprehensive database, offering a more complete picture of their breed makeup.
Once again, the reasons behind doing a DNA test in the first place might determine how quickly you need the results. If it’s just for fun, the timing of results is not all that crucial. Most kits offer the return of results within two to four weeks. If you are seeking answers as quickly as possible, you should consider getting tested at your vet’s office or opt for a kit that delivers results more quickly.
Best Dog Breed DNA Test Kits
Here are the four dog DNA at-home tests that deliver depth, precision, and speed. After much research, including trying the kits ourselves and reading countless review, we put together this recommended list. Many other kits are poorly rated, not comprehensive enough, or offer poor customer service, so we left them out of this review. Let’s take a closer look at our favorites.
|# Breeds Tested||350+||350+||350+||102|
|Genetic Makeup||Down to 5%||Down to 1%||Unknown||Unknown|
|# Health Concerns Tested||200+||210||200+||Unknown|
|# Trait Tests||20+||35||20+||Unknown|
|Results Turnaround||2-4 weeks||2-3 weeks||10-14 days||1-2 weeks|
|Customer Service||Phone, email||Phone, email, chat||Phone, email||Phone, email|
|Donates to Charity||Yes||Yes||Unkown||Yes|
|# of Kits||4||3||2||3|
|Price Range||$129 - $199||$99.99 - $159.99||$99.95 - $169.95||$68.99 - $99.99|
Wisdom Panel’s Premium Breed Identification & Health Condition Identification DNA Test For Dogs is the one that we have reviewed as it offers lots of features and was developed by world-leading geneticists and veterinarians. It screens over 350 dog breeds and can detect them down to 1%, which is more accurate than any other kit. This allows you to discover every inch of your dog’s family tree down to their great-grandparents.
This kit also identifies up to 210 genetic risks, allowing you and your vet to view the results, establish a care plan, and get ahead of health risks. The Wisdom Panel Premium kit also allows you to contact their licensed veterinarians for free, should your pup’s results show a notable health concern. Hopefully, Fido is clear of health concerns, but they could still be a carrier. The report highlights genetic factors that could affect the health of future puppies.
Wisdom Panel’s kit gets down to the details of your dog’s traits, explaining their coat type, eye color, ideal weight range, and more. It tests for more characteristics than any other kit. Their smartphone app allows you to keep all the details on hand and scroll through at your leisure with your curious like-minded friends. The only drawback is that they offer fewer kit options than Embark (the other comprehensive option). So depending on your unique needs, you might find Embark’s options more compelling.
Embark’s Breed & Health Kit is one of the most advanced and comprehensive tests on the market. It screens 350 breeds to identify your dog’s genetics down to 5% of your pup’s overall DNA mix. It also analyzes 200+ known canine genetic health problems and 20+ physical traits to complete the DNA picture.
If you are looking to make sure that “purebred” dog you invested in is truly one breed and that breed only, Embark also offers a Purebred test. Hopefully it will add support to the documentation from your breeder. And, breeders might also offer these test results to prospective buyers as added peace of mind for their expensive price tag.
Embark’s results also include a detailed vet report to support you and your vet in establishing your best friend’s care plan. Embark works with scientists from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine to research dog genetic testing. They give you and Fido the option to make a difference in the world of doggy science too. They use a research-grade DNA genotyping platform to achieve accurate results.
Another feature that we like is Embark’s exclusive relative finder. It provides you with information about dogs in their database that are related to yours, allowing you to message them and embark on your own Long Lost Fido Family journey. The only drawback to this kit is its higher price compared to other similar kits.
One other unique feature in all Embark tests is that it measures for how closely your pet is related genetically to wolves with its “wolfiness score“. If you have one of these wolf-like breeds, you might be especially curious!
Orivet’s new DNA test kit, GenoPet 5.0, allows you to determine what breeds make up your four-legged best friend by percentage. By comparing your dog’s DNA to over 350 breeds, you can discover what rare ones might be in your mutt’s mix. It also looks at the genes that make your dog’s appearance unique, such as coat and eye color.
Running your dog’s DNA through their database also allows them to screen for over 200 inheritable diseases. All of this information goes into their LifePlan report which helps you manage your dog’s health plan and set up routine health care reminders. It also offers nutritional suggestions, adult weight prediction (for pups under 12 months old), and more.
Orivet uploads the details to your personalized and interactive online account, which you can share with your vet. This option is not as comprehensive compared to Wisdom Panel and Embark, despite being a similar price. Also, their website is not as transparent. Plus, it does not offer a family tree, a feature that many users like for its informative and clear details.
DNA My Dog
If you find yourself wincing at the price tags of the comprehensive DNA kits, this could be the kit you are seeking. Priced at less than $70, the basic option from DNA My Dog is budget-friendly for those seeking more limited breed mix answers. They have a database of only 102 breeds today, but claim to be working to add more. Also, they only report on dominant breeds rather than all the breeds found in your dog’s DNA.
Unfortunately, this means they miss out on rarer breeds in their results, and it is less accurate too. But because they test for less, the result turnaround time is much quicker. This is ideal for those looking for a no-frills DNA report with fast results. DNA My Dog is contactable by telephone and email. However, their website is not clear regarding the full details of their kits compared to other websites.
As you can see from our review of the four best dog breed DNA test kits around, there are options for most everyone’s needs and budget. Hopefully we’ve made your choice a lot simpler. Although Wisdom Panel and Embark offer the most comprehensive options, the other two might be better for you. Ultimately, it comes down to how much detail you are seeking and budget.
With the ever-advancing technology surrounding us, there is no reason to leave Fido’s family history behind. Bring them aboard the ancestral train, and learn all the family tree details about your best friend. It’s fun and informative for everyone. Plus, it can provide insight into their future health, what to expect, and how to minimize health risks where possible. Doggy DNA really can be as simple as ABC.