Top Rated DNA Test for Dogs for 2020 – A Comprehensive Comparison
In case you’re looking for the best dog DNA test kit but have little time to do your own research, then you should be glad to learn that we’ve looked at some of the top products in this category. After studying and comparing lots of options, Dr. Fox recommends the Embark Veterinary Dog DNA as the test kit you should get. This kit uses more than 200,000 genetic markers to offer detailed info on your dog’s family tree, alerts you to possible health risks, and can help you better care for your pet. If it is unavailable, then you could also consider the Wisdom Panel 3.0 Breed.
Our Top Choice
The test is easy to use. All you have to do is swab the inside of your dog’s cheeks and send the kit containing the samples by mail. Once they arrive back, the test results give you important information regarding the breeds that contributed to your dog. This way you know how to prevent breed related problems as it grows.
Some customers were not convinced that the received results were accurate. Some doubt the test’s precision and regret the purchase.
Use this product to learn the exact percentage of each breed that contributed to your dog’s genetical identity.
This kit allows you to send your dog’s DNA for some laboratory testing. The scientists will analyze it and compare it to over 250 dog breeds, that make up for 99% of all the dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club. You will learn about predetermined genetic markers and will obtain one of more than 1800 possible results.
If you own a mixed breed the test results will say something along the lines of “60 percent mixed breed”, which is not helpful information.
This test will give you a better understanding of your dog’s family tree and its predisposition to certain diseases.
Also To Consider
By swabbing the interior of your dog’s cheeks and sending the swabs via mail, you will receive, in some cases earlier than two weeks, the results regarding your dog’s genetical origin. You will find out useful information about your pet’s breed and potential mutations that may be the source of certain problems later on in its life.
This test may label a certain percentage of your dog’s genetical ancestors as unidentifiable. Be prepared not to find everything about your pet.
Although sometimes confusing, the confirmed test results are always true and accurate, even if your dog doesn't seem to show those features.
3 Best Dog DNA Tests (Reviews) in 2020
If you want to get a DNA kit but don’t have the time to read dozens of dog DNA test reviews, we have prepared a list with the top products used by dog owners across the US so you can pick the right one to find out more about your pet’s breed heritage.
1. Embark | Dog DNA Test | Breed
If you’re curious about your dog’s genetic makeup and would love to see which breeds it is derived from, then the Embark Veterinary DNA test can help you find out. This test is easy to use, all you need to do is to activate the product online, use the swab to collect samples from your dog’s cheek pouches, send the kit by mail and then wait for the test results.
You will be able to see which breeds have contributed to your dog in precise percentages. This information won’t just be exciting from a purely educational view, but it will also help you determine specific risks to genetic diseases.
If your dog is still young, you could know what to expect when it grows up, as well as be able to correct certain behavioral traits before they become a problem. Knowing your dog’s DNA results will also help you work with your vet to find the best diet for your beloved pet.Buy from Amazon.com for ($169)
2. Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test
The Wisdom Panel 3.0 Breed Identification can help you get more insights into your dog’s family tree, genetic makeup, as well as medical predispositions and wellness needs. This DNA test is easy to use, as you need to collect DNA samples with a cheek swab and then let scientists do the rest.
This kit compares your dog’s DNA against more than 250 known canine breeds, covering 99 percent of the breeds that the American Kennel Club recognizes. Thanks to the advanced DNA sequencing technologies, you also get to find out about pre-determined genetic markers out of 1,800 possible variants.
With this test, you will get to know the breeds that make up your mutt back to its great-grandparents, get certification for a purebreed, and get valuable insights into diet requirements, possible health problems in the future, as well as understanding certain behavioral traits you could expect to correct.Buy from Amazon.com for ($79.99)
3. Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel Dog DNA Test Kit
With the Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 2.5, you get an easy and affordable way to uncover the genetic composition of your dog as well as obtain a detailed ancestry report telling you exactly which breeds your dog is derived from and in which proportions.
If your dog is still a pup, you will get valuable info regarding its weight range so that you can plan appropriately for its diet as well as training program. This test will also look for potential gene mutations that predispose dogs to certain disorders such as mutations to the MDR1 gene which make dogs more sensitive to certain drugs that could accumulate to toxic levels.
Not only will you know whether your mutt is 20 percent German Shepherd or 11 percent Chow-Chow, but you’ll also be able to make important decisions regarding your pet to ensure a proper development and a balanced lifestyle for a healthy and happy dog.Buy from Amazon.com for ($98)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
If your dog is a mixed-breed and you would love to know what breeds it is made of, then the best way to find out is to get one of the best DNA tests for dogs that can be found on the market. These are easy to use and can offer a wealth of information regarding your dog’s ancestry, family tree, physical and temperamental characteristics, etc.
Find out more about your dog’s breed ancestry
One of the most common reasons dog owners decide to give their pets a DNA test is to find out the exact breeds that their mutts are made of. While this might stem from pure curiosity, these tests have also become more and more popular because they can help dog owners in many other ways.
Despite your dog’s looks, you might be surprised to learn that in reality, many dog owners actually get the breeds wrong when judging by physical appearance alone. Many breeds can share physical characteristics, and that can, in turn, lead some owners to think that their mutts are derived from a particular breed, which in many cases is proven wrong.
With an easy test, you can send some cheek swab samples to a specialized laboratory and get results in just a few weeks. These results will tell you of your dog’s ancestry dating back to its great-grandparents, or sometimes even to earlier ancestors.
Make an informed decision when adopting from a shelter
By getting one of the good dog DNA tests, you can learn about a particular dog before you adopt it, whether it is from your local animal shelter, rescue organization, or even neighbor. You can find out about the genetic makeup of a dog so that you can appropriately judge whether this animal will be suitable for your home, family, and needs.
You might have a small apartment, in which case you would surely want to learn whether the pup you’re about to adopt is going to grow up into a highly energetic dog that will rip your furniture and ask to go outside all the time.
If you are planning to get a guard dog, you might also look for a particular breed mix, while a dog that’s friendly towards kids will probably need to be derived from other breeds.
Know which breed percentages make up your pet
You might just do this out of curiosity, but wouldn’t it be cool to learn about your dog’s breed composition in more or less precise percentages? For example, you might be surprised to learn that your dog is 40 percent German Shepherd, 30 percent Rottweiler, 15 percent Beagle and 15 percent Akita, and you probably you wouldn’t have guessed even half of these on your own.
Getting these results might explain some physical traits and also give you something to brag about when going out with friends or showing off your dog at a corporate party.
Find out if the dog is susceptible to genetic disorders
There are more practical reasons why you should choose a quality DNA test for your dog. Scientists usually dig deep when studying your dog’s DNA and they also compare its genes with some genetic markers from their huge databases. These studies can find some gene mutations that can be responsible for some illnesses or vulnerabilities.
Knowing that your dog has certain gene abnormalities can help you start preventive treatment that would ensure that your canine friend gets the best possible care. You might also get help in identifying certain illnesses as well as how to properly treat them, as you can discuss these details with your vet while having all this comprehensive info available.
Learn about your dog’s temperament
Especially if you’re planning to adopt a puppy or your dog is still young, getting a DNA test done can provide you with important information regarding what you can expect from your pet when it grows up. Different breeds have different temperaments, and you could either choose a dog that’s better suited to your needs or make sure that you know how to properly train it.
With accurate genetic results, you can also choose better training methods, as some breeds might respond better to particular forms of training than others. You could also learn if your dog is likely to develop certain unwanted behavioral traits, which would be much easier to correct at an earlier age rather than later on, as your dog matures.
Know how to properly feed your pet
Learning about the genetic makeup of your dog will also give you indicators as to what size and weight you can expect it to grow. You could feed your dog food that is appropriate for the dominant composing breeds while also being able to use supplements and vitamins to prevent certain digestive disorders, such as an irritable bowel syndrome, or help keep your dog fit and ensure it doesn’t become overweight.
Choose the right test for your budget and needs
If you’re in a hurry, then you might want to consider a test that takes only 2 or 3 weeks to complete. Some companies have longer processing times so you might want to check this out. Price would normally factor into your buying decision as well.
There are expensive tests that give you accurate info by using tens of thousands of genetic markers and large databases that can contain over 250 dog breeds.
You might also look for an affordable way to learn about your dog’s genetic heritage, in which case a cheap dog DNA test would still be able to provide you with a wealth of knowledge that can help you better care for your dog and ensure a long and happy life for your furry friend.
What you should know before testing your dog’s DNA
If you haven’t got the slightest idea what a dog DNA test is and how it can help you out, then here are some things you might want to know about this popular product among dog owners.
A DNA test will require that you use one or two cheek swabs to get some samples from your dog, pack them in sealed plastic bags, and then send them via email to one of the specialized laboratories performing the tests.
A test can show your dog’s breed heritage
If you have gotten your dog from a shelter, then chances are high that you don’t know anything or very little about its history, parents, etc. You might be curious to know which breeds it is derived from, and what their percentages are. It is difficult to be able to tell that just by looking at the dog.
Many dog owners were surprised after receiving the results of the DNA tests and seeing that the dog’s physical appearance had in many cases little relationship with the actional breeds identified in the tests. Scientists use genetic markers and search through extensive breed databases to create the family tree of a dog up to its great-grandparents.
How can these tests help you out?
Before adopting a pup from a shelter, you might wish to know if it will be safe to keep around kids, or whether you’ll be getting a dog that’s used to running all day and thus not suitable to living inside four walls in a tiny apartment.
Many dog owners make false predictions about their pets’ heritage. It appears that 90 percent of people who assume that their dog has a border collie heritage are wrong. Not knowing your dog’s breed breakdown can have implications in terms of training, diet, etc.
These tests can also help shelters get a fast breed composition for dogs, especially since many have a limited amount of time in which they can be adopted, and many people want to know at least some info on the pet they’re about to take into their homes. They can also help identify dogs returning to the shelter since each dog’s genetic fingerprint is unique.
In case you lose your dog to the streets, you can ask for new DNA tests and have them compared to the ones you’ve done in the past, which is a sure way to prove ownership.
What else does a DNA test let you know about your pup?
With a dog DNA test for breeds, you can find out how much different ancestral breeds contributed to your dog’s genetic makeup. It could be extremely fun to see just which breeds your dog’s ancestors belonged to, and get an idea of the traits you can expect. This can be extremely important if you have a puppy, or adopt a dog with minimal records from a shelter.
Learn about genetic abnormalities
By having your dog tested, you could learn about defects such as chromosomal abnormalities which could pose health risks. By identifying the breeds that make up your dog, you will be able to avoid certain foods or drugs that may trigger side effects, or ensure that you get your dog on a strict diet and exercising program to prevent the onset of certain illnesses.
Predict behavioral tendencies
With an accurate identification of your pet’s family tree, you will be able to predict certain behavioral tendencies, depending on the particularities of the contributing breeds. For example, herding dogs would certainly develop a habit of trying to push or nip at the heels of both people and animals due to their herding instincts.
Your dog might have inherited more traits from breeds which are suitable to be guard dogs, in which case you could asses trainability better depending on the obedience and aggressivity of those particular breeds.
If you have a purebred dog, getting one of the dog DNA tests for sale might help you track down the ancestral lines so that you can avoid inbreeding with members of the same gene pool. While purebred dogs are certainly beautiful, they are susceptible to many genetic defects and illnesses, and a DNA test can help avoid future generations of vulnerable and ill puppies.
Concerns in terms of accuracy
Before getting one of the popular DNA test kits, you might have questions regarding their accuracy. As a general rule, all tests performed by reputable companies should be accurate enough. However, some factors might influence results, and there are some which can offer more detailed info compared to others.
Collect DNA samples carefully
One of the most important factors that can influence the test results is the quality of the DNA sample. It is important that you carefully read the instructions and that you use the swab correctly.
You should avoid touching the tip of the swab and use it as soon as you unpack it. You should gently rub the tip of the swab on the inside of your dog’s cheek for the amount of time specified by the manufacturer. You should also immediately place the swab in the plastic bag and seal it properly as soon as you’re finished to avoid contamination.
Prevent contaminating the sample
One more thing you can do to ensure accurate DNA test results is to prevent your dog from eating or drinking anything for 30 minutes or an hour before the test. Doing so will minimize the chances that you also collect foreign DNA which could have an impact on the final results.
Factoring in the genetic markers and breed databases
The accuracy of the DNA test will also depend upon how many genetic markers the sample is compared against. The more genetic markers are used, the more accurate the data. Different labs will also have access to different breed databases.
The more genetic markers your dog’s DNA results are compared against, and the more dog breeds the database contains, the more accurate the test results will be. With a quality DNA test, you can expect to get a precise breakdown of your dog’s breed ancestry, as well as predisposition to diseases and other info.
Benefits of dog DNA test kits
Using a DNA test kit on your dog to find out more about its genetic makeup comes with many benefits, from the purely educational ones that could satisfy your curiosity regarding your mutt’s breed heritage to learning about predisposition to genetic-related diseases so you can treat them before they become serious.
Ensure that your pup develops properly
By knowing exactly which breeds your pup is derived from, you could approximate to which size and weight the dog will grow to. That way you will know which diet it needs, as well as make some training decisions that will be very important in the future.
If your dog is 30 percent German Shepherd, for example, then you know that it will probably make a good guard dog, while a mix of Border Collie and Fox Terrier might not prove to be great for defense, but a great and fun partner that needs lots of physical exercise.
Prevent or treat genetic disorders
Because most tests compare your dog’s DNA to thousands of genetic markers, you will also get a heads up regarding any gene mutations that could make your dog more vulnerable to genetic conditions such as heart diseases or sensitivity to particular drugs. That way you can start treatment early on and prevent or alleviate symptoms.
Frequently asked questions about DNA tests for dogs
Q: What is a dog DNA test?
A DNA test uses samples from your dog’s cheeks that are then sent over to a specialized lab. This lab then analyzes the DNA and compares it to thousands of genetic markers to create a detailed family tree which can give you a peek into your dog’s breed heritage.
For example, you can find out that your dog is 50 percent Boxer, 25 percent Siberian Husky and 25 percent Labrador Retriever. The test results can also let you know if your dog has any genetic defects and also give you predictions as to the size and weight your pup might grow to.
Q: What does a dog DNA test tell you?
A DNA test will tell you the breed heritage of your dog up to its great-grandparents. This can be useful since you can predict the size and weight of your dog, in case it is a puppy, or avoid inbreeding in case of a purebred.
By knowing your dog’s genetic makeup, you can also make important decisions regarding its food and training. These tests can also tell you if the dog has any genetic defects that make it susceptible to certain diseases, so you know if you need to start treatment early on.
Q: Do dog DNA tests actually work?
Most DNA tests are accurate, and they work well in providing detailed data regarding dogs. Dog owners can get valuable insight into their pets, as well as gain the ability to better plan for the future, especially in the case of young dogs.
Some tests might be more accurate than others, and some dog owners can get slightly different results depending on the tests they take. However, small differences are usually found in the ancestral breeds with the tiniest contributing percentages, and most tests are good enough to provide canine lovers and breeders with all the info they need.
Q: How much do they cost?
Tests from various brands can command different prices. Some companies charge more than others, and you can expect to pay anywhere from less than a hundred to about a couple hundred dollars. However, prices might also reflect both the accuracy and the particular procedures involved in the testing of dog DNA samples.
A company might compare the dog DNA against several tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of genetic markers. The latter would provide more accurate details than the former. Labs also use different breed databases, with more expensive tests using larger databases.
Q: Are they accurate?
DNA tests performed by reputable labs should offer accurate results in terms of breed ancestry and genetic markers that can pinpoint a predisposition to a specific disease. However, the accuracy of the results will also depend on how well a dog owner manages to collect DNA samples. Improper handling of the swabs can contaminate the samples with foreign DNA.
It is also important that the lab doing the testing uses more genetic markers for comparison. The number of breeds in its database will also influence the accuracy of the family tree and breed breakdown into percentages.
Q: How much does genetic testing for dogs cost?
Would you like to know what breed your dog belongs to? Whether you want to learn beforehand what health issues your pet might develop, or what personality quirks you should be aware of, a DNA test will undoubtedly shed some light on the matter. It is up to you to pick a test and run it by your dog’s sample, to see what you are dealing with. And, if you want to know what you can get for your money, you should read some of the dog DNA tests reviews offered by various sources online.
The prices vary between 60 and 150 dollars
At this point, it may sound like a pricey little adventure to learn your dog’s lineage, but, as shown earlier, there can be some solid reasons why you should do that. Another thing you should know is that, just like in the case of humans, DNA tests can be quite sophisticated, which is why they can be pretty expensive. After all, you have someone trained to read into the sample taken from your dog, what breed it is and what parentage it might have.
The sample taking is quite an easy process. The vet will take a sample of saliva from inside the dog’s cheek or a blood sample. That sample will be taken to a lab, and there it will be run through a complicated test to establish what breed your dog belongs to.
Things to bear in mind
When you select a DNA test for your dog, there are specific factors to keep in mind. First of all, there are different types of tests available. Each one offers particular data that may be of good use to you. Also, you should not overlook how much money you have at your disposal for these tests. Lastly, you should select how many breeds should be identified. The more complex the test you require, the more expensive it will be.
Various tests available
There are several DNA tests for dogs available on the market, and we will go through each of them so you can pick the one that is the most indicated for your dog and your preferences.
The BioPet Breed ID requires a cheek swab and costs almost 60 dollars. The test can establish what breed your dog is from a database of 63 breeds. You will have to wait two weeks for the results to come around. The data you will receive also includes some things about health issues you may expect.
The Mars Wisdom Panel Insights also requires a cheek swab, and its cost is 80 dollars. This one is more expensive but covers 185 different breeds. You will receive a certificate with precise details on the breed information.
The Mars Wisdom Panel Professional is designed for a blood test. As expected, it is more expensive, and it costs 150 dollars. This one can identify 225 different breeds. You will be required to wait up to 3 weeks for the results to get home to you, but you will get a full report on the dog’s breed, including, but not limited to, health problems and genetic diseases.
What can a dog DNA test tell you?
If you happen to have a rescued dog from one of the shelters close to you, you may wonder what particular breed your dog is. The chances are, of course, that the dog is more than just a single breed, and you may be curious to know what this means. However, there can be many other things that understanding your dog’s lineage can tell you. Here are some excellent reasons to consider getting a DNA test done for your dog.
You will learn more about how your dog will look when reaching adulthood
It can be challenging to say when you bring your dog home, and it is still a puppy, how it is going to look once it reaches maturity. If you know exactly what breed your dog is, of course, that you can just consult some pictures of the breed, and see all you want to discover about your pet’s breed. However, that may not always be possible, if your dog comes from a shelter.
Discovering potential health issues
As you may be well aware of, dog breed information can hold a lot of data on aspects that can be vital for your pet. For instance, many breeds are associated with a specific range of health issues. You can prepare appropriately if you know beforehand what breed your dog is. Taking care of a dog is an important responsibility, and you will have to cater to the needs of an aging dog, at one point.
Bear in mind that even if the test confirms that your dog belongs to a particular breed, this does not automatically means that your pet will fall ill at some point in the future. Dogs may be prone to developing certain conditions, but this does not say more than that there is a chance to consider.
To ensure your dog has the proper parentage
Even if your dog is not taken from a shelter, this does not mean that you should not do a DNA test. Make sure to compare dog DNA tests beforehand, to see which ones can give you the most accurate results. If an issue of such great importance as parentage is at stake, you need to make sure that the test will tell you, with the highest accuracy, who the dog’s parents are. That can help you with registering your dog, too.
Is your dog on the ‘approved breeds’ list?
In case you do not own the place you live in, and you want to have your dog with you, you must make sure that the landlord will not have something against your little furry friend. For that, you need to prove that your dog belongs to a particular breed, and what better way to do that than by subjecting it to a DNA test?
If your dog is on the approved list, you will have no issue with keeping it around, and the landlord will not have anything against it, either.