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Summary: With the ability to test the DNA makeup of our dogs, it's difficult to determine what the best kit is. We review the best dog DNA testing kits available on the market, doing the hard research for you.
With the increased availability of human DNA testing, giving us the ability to determine our own heritage, it's no wonder that we are curious as to the genetic makeup of our canine companions.
We may refer to them as "mutts," but what exactly goes into that mutt?
These tests are able to determine what breeds make up your dog. Each breed of dog has its own set of unique genetic mutations, including some that could lead to problems down the road.
Having this knowledge will help in preventative care or just understanding the behavior of your dog.
The ability to test what breeds make up your mutt is a revolution in science. Each testing kit has its own benefits and drawbacks.
There are now more and more testing kits available to test out a dog's DNA, and we decided to take a look to see what the best dog DNA tests were.
A simple cheek swab DNA test lets you learn the breeds in your dog and gain insight into the unique genetic background of your dog including the history of their breed, personality traits, exercise levels, and so much more!
What is a Dog DNA Test?
Much like their human counterparts, dog DNA tests are kits that test DNA samples from our canine companions to determine their genetic makeup. A dog DNA test can show a dog's ancestry and their breed makeup.
These tests can be especially useful in determining the breed percentages in mixed dogs, as well as helping owners to understand any potential health risks present in their pup's genes.
What to Look For in a DNA Test
Not all tests are created equal. When determining what test is right for you, look for how many breeds they test for and how many genetic markers. This will inform you how accurate the test is going to be.
It's important to read not only the reviews but the description of these tests as well. Look to see how soon you'll get the results, where you'll be able to view them, and what else may come with them.
(Use our quick navigator below to find the best dog DNA Test that best suites your needs)
Wisdom Panel Premium
Developed by world-leading geneticists and most-used by veterinarians, Wisdom Panel Premium offers the most comprehensive dog DNA test on the market.
The Wisdom Panel kit is our best overall because of its wide testing net and the fact that it's the most trusted by vets. This DNA test was developed by geneticists and is one of the most comprehensive tests available.
It tests for over 350 breeds in its breakdown. This test can identify the breed mix down to 1% and screen for specific genetic conditions.
With just a saliva sample, the Wisdom Panel can trace your dog's ancestry back to their great-grandparents and show you the breed breakdown of their family tree.
It also can recommend the ideal weight range for your pup. This kit tests for over 25 genetic conditions as well. The DNA results are available within three weeks online.
Wisdom Panel Premium testing kits retail for $159.99.
Embark Breed + Health Kit
Find out what your dog’s DNA says about his or her breed, ancestry, and more with a simple cheek swab.
The Embark Breed & Health test is our choice as best for health because it not only tests for 171 different mutations, more than any other test on the market, but its customer service team will also contact you with any troubling results.
The final results are available within two to four weeks on Embark's website.
Embark tests for nearly all breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as well as some street dogs. It tests for 190 health conditions and traits and checks nearly more genetic markers than other DNA tests from a cheek swab.
This test also allows you to find and connect with dogs that are relatives of your dog with their canine relative finder.
DNA My Dog Breed Kit
A simple cheek swab DNA test lets you learn the breeds in your dog and gain insight into the unique genetic background of your dog including the history of their breed, personality traits, exercise levels.
The DNA My Dog Breed Identification Kit is the best DNA testing kit for dog parents on a budget. Not only does it test from the most common mixed breeds in the United States, but it also offers information about the breeds' personalities.
This testing kit has a fast turnaround, too, of about one week, meaning you'll quickly get your results after sending in a saliva sample. You'll also get a custom certificate with your results confirming your pup's pedigree.
This budget-friendly DNA test retails for $68.99.
Orivet Mixed-Breed Identification
Reveals the breed/s that make up your dog. This comprehensive test reports % of the breeds that determines your pet's ancestry.
For the true mutt, Orivet Mixed-Breed Identification tests are our choice as the best DNA tests for mixed breeds. Orivet tests up to 250 breeds and analyzes potential genetic health risks in your dog.
This test will compare your dog's DNA to important genetic markers that reveal health concerns and will provide you with a personalized life plan for your pup.
The life plan details any traits that your dog could inherit, and how to take care of or even prevent them. The turnaround time for the Orivet test is between three and four weeks after the lab receives your dog's cheek swab.
Orivet Mixed-Breed Identification tests retail for $84.99.
5Strands Pet Food & Environmental Testing
This kit is easy to use and is designed to test for over 300 food and environmental intolerances.
This can also be helpful in finding sensitivity to other household products that your dog may be exposed to.
While the other DNA tests require cheek swabs and saliva, the 5Strands test only requires 5 to 10 strands of hair from your dog. This test can be used on other four-legged pals like cats and horses. It has a turnaround time of just 5 to 7 days, and retails for $149.99.
Still have questions about the best dog DNA test or dog breeds? We've got answers!
As with most DNA testing, dog DNA tests have room for error. Most DNA tests have a margin of error of approximately 2%, while others advertise themselves as being 95-99% accurate.
These tests are not approved by the FDA which means they are not federally regulated.
A dog DNA kit works very similarly to a human DNA kit. You simply swab the provided tool inside of your dog's cheek, collecting the DNA sample, and seal it in the provided packaging.
Then you ship it off to the lab where it is tested by the professionals. Once the DNA has been analyzed, you will receive your results.
The biggest thing that a dog DNA test will tell you is the breed breakdown of your mutt. This, in turn, will offer you more insight into behavior patterns and health risks that could be apparent in your dog.
Some tests will provide you with specific health information about your dog based on their DNA.
Most dog DNA tests have a turnaround time of two to three weeks. Some will be completed in about a week, but generally it takes longer.
Should I Get a Dog DNA Test?
Getting a dog DNA test can be incredibly helpful not only in determining your dog's breed breakdown, but in understanding their genetic health risks.
These tests provide useful information about your dog that can't be seen with the naked eye, allowing any loving pet parent to take preventative measures to help protect their pup and help keep them healthy.
While it is a personal decision, you won't be doing any harm by testing your dog's DNA.
While we love our mixed breed dogs just as they are, it's in our nature to wonder just what exactly makes up our pups. Dog DNA testing allows us to feed that curiosity and breakdown just what exactly is inside our beloved buddies.
These tests are not only valuable in that they provide us with breed breakdowns, but they also can provide useful knowledge about potential health risks that will help us to give our dogs a more comfortable life.
So why not give one of these excellent tests a chance, and see for yourself just how fascinating the world of dog DNA can truly be.
Our top pick: Wisdom Panel Premium