Best Dog DNA Tests

Dog DNA test kits have become extremely popular in recent years, with more and more popping up on the shelves every day. However, wading through your options to pick the best, most accurate one can be difficult.

Have you ever looked at your dog and wondered just what it took to make them the animal that they are?

If you have, you’re not alone. And it’s not a surprise either.

Think about: your dog is completely unique. From their body shape to their coat to their eyes down to more intrinsic things such as their personalities and disposition – your dog is their own individual!

As a result, it’s no wonder that you may have been curious just about what makes your dog special. And the best place to look is their genes.

DNA and genetics can already be hard enough to understand without careless errors and mistakes making their way into your results. Plus, when you’re wanting to focus on things such as if determining if your dog is a pure breed or if they have any possible genetic conditions they’re at risk for, you can’t afford many errors.

That’s why we’ve taken the hard part out of learning about your dog’s genes.

We’ve collected a list of what we consider to be the top six best dog DNA tests. And, we’re going to tell you why we think that.

The difficulties don’t stop after you purchase your test, however. That’s why we’ve also gone further and explained everything you’ll need to know about reading your results and why they’re usual – plus why they’re not.

So, to learn everything you need to know about the world of canine DNA test kits, keep reading.

Top 6 Best Dog DNA Tests:

1. Embark Dog DNA Test Kit

Embark Dog DNA Test Kit

Features at a Glance

  • Registry with over 350 breeds
  • Family tree up to three generations
  • Relative finder
  • Opportunities for research surveys
  • Reports on physical traits such as coat and size
  • Registry with over 190 genetic health risks and inheritable dog diseases
  • Inbreeding score

The Embark Breed and Health DNA test kit, while being more expensive than some other tests, is designed to give you the full experience. It has one of the largest databases out there for everything from breeds to genetic health risks.

The Embark canine DNA test has a registry with over 350 breeds. As a result, you’ll get highly specialized results to help you determine your dog’s exact breed.

While getting a highly specific report of your dog’s breed may not be as important for pure breeds – unless, of course, you’re looking for authenticity – it can be important for mixed breeds. The more you can uncover about your dog’s breed, the more you can learn about their health, morphology, and disposition.

However, while Embark does have a large breed registry, there is still a chance that your dog’s results may come back with a breed known as Supermutt.

The Supermutt result occurs when your dog’s family tree is a bit more tangled than others. This usually happens when your dog’s parents were of a mixed breed.

The result is a long history of mixed breeds that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to determine the exact breeds.

Embark also includes a registry with over 190 genetic defects and diseases.

While the dog DNA test kit won’t diagnose your dog, it will let you know if diseases are present in their genetic makeup or family tree. This will allow you to prepare for any future health care issues while also seeking diagnoses if more symptoms manifest.

The Embark DNA test has a high level of precision and accuracy, with fast results delivered right to your phone. It offers some unique services, such as the inbreeding score, that will allow you to have a better idea of your dog’s roots.

While inbreeding is common in producing some breeds of dogs, it can be dangerous. Inbreeding increases the chance of passing on a condition or disease.

It can also increase the chance of genetic mutations, which can introduce a new disease into a lineage.

Pros
  • Results come quickly (~3-5 weeks)
  • Price includes lab fees and shipping
  • Responsive
Cons
  • It can be difficult to get personalized responses involving questions about your results

2. Wisdom Panel Premium Dog DNA Test Kit

Wisdom Panel Premium Dog DNA Test Kit

Features at a Glance

  • Registry with over 350 breeds
  • Identify breed down to 1%
  • Family tree up to three generations
  • Free phone call with vet to discuss findings
  • Over 35 trait tests to understand ideal and common characteristics such as eye color, coat color, and ideal weight
  • Reports on physical traits such as coat and size
  • Registry with over 200 genetic health risks, inheritable dog diseases, and conditions

Due to the fact that it can identify your dog’s breeds down to 1% genetic makeup, the Wisdom Panel Premium kit is known as one of the best dog DNA test kits for mutts. It’s designed to give you the most information possible about your dog’s breed by searching through its database with over 350 breeds.

A large registry of breeds isn’t the only thing this dog DNA test kit boasts, however.

It also has a database with over 200 different genetic health risks, inheritable dog disease, and conditions. As a result, you’ll have a better idea of just what type of health conditions your dog is susceptible to, even if the test won’t diagnose them.

A unique feature that you’ll find with the Wisdom Panel Premium canine DNA test kit is that it also offers you a free phone call with a certified veterinarian. This way, if you do happen to find that your dog is high-risk, you can talk with a professional to figure out just what this means.

As a result, if you’re concerned about your dog’s health, the Wisdom kit may be one of the best routes to take.

Getting your results is also quick and easy. This DNA kit includes a prepaid shipping label, so the price you pay is all-inclusive.

You can also get your results in as soon as two weeks!

Wisdom uses an app that helps connect and keep up with your dog’s genetic data. While this is helpful, it’s not designed in a method that’s necessarily easy to share.

As a result, you may find yourself piecing together screenshots in order to share your dog’s genetic data with friends and family.

Pros
  • Premium exclusive phone call with vet
  • Pre-paid shipping with results in 2-4 weeks
  • Easy to gather DNA sample
  • Large registries for health and breeds
  • Highly specific results
  • Includes pre-paid shipping label
Cons
  • Can be difficult to share results with friends and families without screenshotting

3. DNA My Dog

DNA My Dog

Features at a Glance

  • Tests for breed type with percentage break down
  • Includes a certificate with breed information
  • Tests for genetic health information and predisposition for different diseases
  • Results in around 2 weeks

If you’re looking for a cheaper option focused more on the fun of discovery rather than high precision accuracy, then this may be the kit for you.

The DNA My Dog test kit tests for each breed type, providing you a percentage breakdown. At the same time, it also tests for genetic health and any disease that your dog may be at risk for.

Once all your results are in, you’ll receive a printable certificate with all of your dog’s breed information. This makes sharing it with the people who matter – such as vets – easy.

One thing to be cautious of, however, is the accuracy of this test. They do ask that you send in a picture of your dog for better results, so that may be something you want to consider.

Pros
  • Cheaper option compared to other tests
  • Includes a printable certificate with breed type making vet visits easy
  • Helps understand your dog’s health
  • Inclusive price
Cons
  • Not as accurate as some other dog DNA test options

4. Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test

Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test

Features at a Glance

  • Breed detection for more than 350+ breeds, types, and varieties
  • Potentially life-saving multidrug resistance (MDR1) screening
  • Predicted weight profile for nutrition guidance
  • Detailed breed information for each breed or group was found
  • Breed percentages as well as three-generation family tree

If you’re looking for a highly detailed report about your dog, then this is the dog DNA test kit for you.

One unique about this test is the fact it also conducts an MDR1 screening. This tests your dog for drug resistance.

While this may not seem like much, this can actually save your dog’s life in the future. If they were to fall ill, it’s better to know beforehand what works and what doesn’t work for speedy treatment.

The Wisdom Panel dog DNA test can also test your dog’s ancestry back to three generations, providing you a good idea of where they come from. This can help you learn more about their breed, as well as possible health risks to be aware of.

This DNA test has a database with over 350 breeds, allowing you to figure out the exact percentage of breed or breed groups for your dog. The results are highly specific and highly accurate for one of the best experiences.

Also, it can help guide you on your path to choosing the right nutrition for your dog. Wisdom provides a detailed weight profile that lets you know your dog’s nutritional information, helping you pick the right diet.

Please note that if you live outside of the United States, this may not be the product for you. Sadly, DNA tests require living samples and a journey that long won’t leave any viable cells left to test.

As a result, you may want to find a local company to help figure out your pup’s genetics.

Pros
  • Highly comprehensive report
  • Genetic analysis of your dog’s ancestry & breed identification in as little as 2 weeks
  • Well-known brand name
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Not designed for customers outside of the United States

5. Embark Breed Identification Test

Embark Breed Identification Test

Features at a Glance

  • Breed detection for more than 350+ breeds, types, and varieties
  • Ancestry
  • Relative finder

Embark screens for over 350 dog breeds, types, and varieties. Using a research-grade genotyping platform developed in partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Embark offers one of the most accurate breed breakdown on the market.

The results? More precise, through breed testing so you can best understand your dog.

In mixed breed dogs, Embark can precisely detect breed contributions down to 5% of the total breed. This means less breed groups or “mutt” findings and more substantial results to guide you in your dog’s breed journey.

Your Embark purchase also includes a unique relative finder.

This means that along with testing your dog’s breed, their DNA sample will be compared to other samples. If your dog has a relative who has also taken the test.

While learning about your dog’s health and genes through a screen can be fun, sometimes it’s even better to get the first-hand experience. Especially if you’re interested in learning more about their health without buying a kit.

If your dog’s siblings or parents have been tested, you can reach out to the owners. Then, you can compare experiences and see if there are any issues with disposition or health that are occurring.

Swabbing your dog’s cheek takes less than a minute, and shipping is free. After three to five weeks, you’ll be able to view your results online.

However, you may even get your results sooner!

Since they are able to be viewed online rather than having to wait for a paper copy to mail out, you’ll get them faster and cheaper. This method also makes it easier to share your results with everyone from your friends to your family to your dog’s vet.

Pros
  • Relative finder
  • Results available online in 3 to 5 weeks
  • Easy to use
  • Fast and easy results
  • Highly accurate
  • Good customer service that you can reach out to for questions on the testing process, product, or your results
Cons
  • Doesn’t offer information on your dog’s health without a paid upgrade

6. Wisdom Panel Essential Dog DNA Test Kit

Wisdom Panel Essential Dog DNA Test Kit

Features at a Glance

  • Breed detection for more than 350+ breeds, types, and varieties
  • Potentially life-saving multidrug resistance (MDR1) screening
  • Predicted weight profile for nutrition guidance
  • Detailed breed information for each breed or group was found
  • Breed percentages as well as three-generation family tree

If you’re looking for one of the most accurate dog DNA test kits either for yourself or to give as a gift, Wisdom is a brand you’ll definitely want to look at. Especially if you’re interested in uncovering your mixed breed’s breed origins or most extensive health information.

The Wisdom Panel Essential kit tests your dog’s DNA for breeds down to the 1%. This makes it one of the most accurate tests out for less unknowns and more answers in your dog’s genetics.

In order to get the best results about your dog’s genetics, make sure to use both included swabs on one dog. This allows for the most viable collection of cells for DNA analysis.

Along with innovative multi-drug resistance screenings, Wisdom will provide a full look into your dog’s genetic health. This helps you determine the best care for your dog, down to what diet would be best for them.

Wisdom uses a database with hundreds of conditions and over 350 breeds for results that are as inclusive as possible. You’ll also gain more information on your dog’s ancestry, such as parents and grandparents, that can help you find siblings.

Finding your dog’s siblings can help you decide if there are any diseases in the lineage that are manifesting in his or her generation. This gives you the chance to catch issues before they become issues.

Again, if you live outside of the United States, this may not be the product for you. DNA tests require living samples and a journey that long won’t leave any viable cells left to test.

As a result, you may want to find a local company to help figure out your pup’s genetics.

Pros
  • Highly comprehensive report
  • Highly specific breed identification (down to the 1%)
  • Genetic analysis of your dog’s ancestry & breed identification in as little as 2 weeks
  • Well-known brand name
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Not designed for customers outside of the United States

Dogs and Genetics: Everything You Need to Know to Understand Your Dog’s DNA Test

Just like in humans, genetics decide almost everything about your dog: their appearance, their disposition, and even their health.

 As a result, investing in a genetics test can be a real eye-opener when it comes to learning more about the best way to care for your dog. However, there’s a lot of information in circulation about dog genetics, and not all of it is true.

For instance, while it is true that genetics can play in your dog’s disposition and nature, it goes a lot further than that.

To help you discern fact from fiction, we’re turning to science to help explain everything you need to know about dogs and their genetics. As a result, you’ll be able to decide not only whether or not a dog DNA test kit is right for you but what the results mean for you and your furry family member.

Corgi and yorksihre therrier breed DNA

How Do Dog Genetics Work?

Since dogs reproduce sexually rather than asexually, the process of genetics is very similar to humans!

Dogs receive half of their genes from their sire and the other half from their dam. The result is an amalgamation of genes producing a genetically unique individual.

In order for this to occur, though, each of your dog’s parents must undergo a process known as cellular division. This involves two steps known as mitosis and meiosis.

Don’t worry, though, you don’t need to go through an entire semester of biology to understand this process.

All that happens is that your dog’s parents’ cells split and rejoin to form what we know as gametes. Gametes differ based on sex, with males have sperm and females have ova.

If reproduction is successful, these gametes will combine to form your dog. Through the next several weeks, they’ll grow and develop with a combination of their parents’ DNA.

As you can see, there are a lot of factors that go into forming your DNA. It comes as no surprise, though, especially when you take a look at just what all genetics play a role in.

Below, we’ve created a list of some of the top areas genetics play a role in. We’ll discuss each issue in full detail while also helping you decide whether or not a canine DNA test would be beneficial.

Inheritable Dog Diseases

Just like in humans, dogs can experience a wide variety of heritable diseases. In fact, through the years, several studies, have been conducted to learn more about inheritable dog diseases.

For pure breeds, learning about common disorders and whether or not those disorders are in your dog’s lineage are important. This can help decide not only if you want to breed your dog but what your plans for the future regarding health care should be.

Whether or not your dog inherits a disorder depends on one major question: is the disorder recessive or dominant?

If a disorder is dominant, your dog will only need one allele – a variation of a gene – with that disorder in order to inherit it. This means that if one parent has the disorder and passes on that trait, your dog will manifest it.

An example of a dominant disorder in humans is hip dysplasia.

On the other hand, if a disorder is recessive, both parents will need to pass on that trait to your dog. Dogs can also be carriers of recessive disorders, meaning that they only have one allele for it when it needs two to manifest.

This means that your dog, if they are a carrier, may pass on the disorder to their puppies depending on the dog they are bred with. They can also pass the single allele to their puppies, making them carriers as well.

However, with all of that being said, it’s important to understand that a DNA test won’t tell you if your dog will get sick. It won’t even necessarily tell you if they’re carrying a trait for a disease.

Instead, a DNA test will act as a tool for you to seek further diagnosis if you feel as if your dog may be at risk for a condition due to the condition of their parents.

Remember, research on genetic testing in canine medicine is still in its infancy. You shouldn’t use it as a definite tool in diagnosing and treatment unless instructed so by a trained professional.

Dog geneology ancestry

Ancestry

Like with humans, your dog’s ancestry can tell you a lot about who your dog is. It’ll show you basic information about what to expect from their appearance, behavior, and can even help you key into their breed.

Learning about your dog’s ancestry can also alert you to any inbreeding that may have occurred. This is especially important in pure breeds from breeders, where inbreeding is a common tactic.

Inbreeding can be dangerous for several reasons in dogs, but the most noticeable issue is the increase in the inheritance of genetic disorders. This goes back to our conversation on dominant and recessive traits.

The easiest way to consider this is to look at a scenario.

Say you have two dogs, a mother, and son, that you plan to breed. The mother has a recessive genetic disease that she passed onto her son, who is now a carrier.

As a result, both dogs are what we called homogeneous, meaning they have a dominant and recessive allele for a trait.

When you breed these dogs, you have an increased chance of passing on that recessive trait. There’s also a better chance that both mother and son will pass on the recessive trait, resulting in a heterogeneous combination that causes the disease to manifest.

Not to mention that inbreeding can increase the chances of genetic mutations.

If you see inbreeding in your dog’s close ancestors, you may be interested in reaching out to see if any of those ancestors had diseases. While this won’t provide a diagnosis for your dog, it will allow you to know whether or not you need to keep a close eye.

Phenotypes Versus Genotypes: When Test Results Don’t Add Up

Dog DNA test kits can be a bit of a hefty investment, so it’s no surprise that you want to make sure you’re getting the best results. However, when you’re scrolling through reviews, you may find some experiences that raise some eyebrows.

One of the most common concerns or poor experiences with canine DNA tests is when your dog’s appearance doesn’t match their test results. For instance, a dog that appears to look like a Chihuahua but is actually a poodle-Pekingese mix.

While it may seem like the results are inaccurate, it’s highly probable that what you’re experiencing is just one of the wonders of genetics.

You see, genes present themselves in two different ways: genotype and phenotype.

A genotype is the genetic characteristics of your dog. This is the more scientific aspect, involving a direct look at their genes.

On the other hand, a phenotype is your dog’s physical appearance: their morphology, eye color, coats, etc. This is caused by a mixture of factors, including but not limited to their genes.

What this means is that, when genes are passed on to your dog, they’ll mix and intermingle to form unique variations. This alone can cause your dog to have a different appearance compared to their parents.

When you add in environmental factors and other factors affecting phenotype, you can end up with a dog that looks like an entirely different breed.

As a result, if you think your dog may be one breed based on their appearance, you may be surprised to find that their dog breed DNA test comes back with completely different results. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your test results are wrong. Instead, it means that your dog may have had an interesting genetic combination offer that resulted in a unique and special appearance.

Australian Shepherd dog in yellow background

What You Won’t Learn from a Canine DNA Test Kit

While it can be interesting to see what you can learn, when you’re trying to decide whether or not a test kit is right for you, you may be more interested in what you can’t learn.

In the grand scheme of things, some clues from dog DNA test kits are more beneficial than others. While all can be interesting and allow you the chance to connect with your dog better, not all will aid in providing the right care for them.

Like we mentioned before, a DNA test won’t tell you if your dog has a disease. The only exception for this is if a vet is giving the test and looking for a certain trait.

A dog DNA test will help you decide whether or not your dog is at risk though. Thanks to information on things such as your dog’s parents, as well as their breed, you’ll be able to see if they’re high risk for any disease.

Dog DNA results

Dog DNA Test Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a dog DNA test cost?

Prices vary for various reasons, so there’s no definite answer.

Some factors that determine price include brand, kit details, and whether or not lab prices are included. You may also find different sales, coupons, and other promotions that alter the price.

However, generally speaking, you can expect a canine DNA test kit to cost anywhere from $100 to $300.

Some kits include more information than others, so you’ll find that those tend to cost more. Plain DNA kits that offer a brief introduction to your dog’s breed and the recent genetic background will be cheaper.

What is the best dog DNA test kit?

Deciding which dog DNA test kit is the best can be difficult. Each one offers different benefits and tests for different things, which is why it really depends on what you’re looking for.

That’s why we’ve picked what we decided were the six best dog DNA test kits.

Each one of these tests caters to a different need, whether it’s breed or health, or price. However, if we were to pick our top choice, it would be the Wisdom Panel Premium.

This test is the most inclusive of a large database for several different genetic factors.

The Wisdom Panel 3.0 is also another great choice, especially if you’re more interested in the health aspect. It has a unique multi-drug resistant test to help better understand your dog’s medical health.

How to DNA test your dog?

Depending on your dog’s disposition, DNA tests can actually be a breeze!

First, you’ll have to purchase the kit you want to use. Then, once it arrives, the fun begins.

For the most part, all DNA tests are the same. Following the included instructions, you’ll want to use the swabs to collect a DNA sample from your dog’s mouth.

This is usually done by rubbing the swab between their jaw and gum for a few seconds. After that, you just need to ship off the swab and wait for your results.

Where can I get a DNA test for my dog?

Like with most animal care products and accessories, you can find dog DNA test kits almost anywhere.

Most animal specialties shops should carry them, though you may find that their selection is slim. You can also find them online.

If you’re set on a certain brand, you can also go directly to their site to purchase the DNA kit from there.

Dog DNA Test Results

What does a dog DNA test tell you?

What the test tells you really depends on which test you purchase.

However, you can expect a general range of information for every type of test. For example, all DNA tests will look at your dog’s breed.

Some will include other things such as genetic age or ancestors. Others will even go in-depth to provide an inbreeding score as well as connecting you to professionals.

A dog DNA test will not tell you if your dog has a disease, their calendar age, or other untestable things.

Which dog DNA test is best for estimating age?

Sadly, as of now, no dog DNA test kits currently available can estimate your dog’s calendar birthday.

However, if you already know your dog’s calendar birthday and you’re more interested in deeper research, there are some other options available. For example, the Embark dog DNA test has the ability to estimate your dog’s genetic age.

This takes into account several different factors to see how your dog ages. Then, it’ll produce a result that tells you where your dog is at in their life compared to that of a human.

What does breed group mean in a dog DNA test?

In most dog DNA test kits, you’ll see breed group most often when your dog has an undetectable mixed breed.

This just means that the DNA test provider was unable to get an exact percentage for a certain breed. They were, however, able to get a ballpark estimate of what breed your dog’s breed is most similar to.

What happens if you put dog saliva in a DNA test?

Well, if you’re putting your dog’s saliva in a human DNA test, you might not have anything happen except for some weird looks when results come back. This is because humans have a different amount of chromosomes compared to dogs.

However, with a dog DNA test, you’ll ship off your sample and wait. You’ll get your dog’s test results in a couple of weeks, with some kits offering them in as soon as three weeks.

Many dog DNA testing companies have switched to digital results. This means that you’ll be able to get them faster since you won’t have to wait for mailing times.

Why dog DNA tests don’t work – or do they?

Whether or not a dog DNA test works depends on what you’re expecting to get out of it.

If you’re looking for a fun activity that tells you basic information about your dog’s genes, then DNA test kits are great. You’ll get to learn about your dog’s breed, genetic history, parents and grandparents, and maybe more.

However, if you’re looking for a diagnostic tool for genetic diseases, a way to determine your dog’s age, or more specific results, a DNA test may not be the best.

Canine DNA test kits are designed to offer their specific results. They’re a tool to help determine which steps to take in figuring out your dog’s health based on genes, not direct indicators of conditions.

Final Thoughts

Purchasing and using a canine DNA test kit can be a big step in learning the best way to take care of your dog. While DNA tests can’t be used for any at-home clinical diagnosis, it can be helpful in teaching you what you need to know about your dog’s lifestyle.

Highly specific tests can teach you a lot about your dog. Some of them are so in-depth that it can teach you the idealized diet for your dog in order to help them maintain their healthy weight and coat.

Cheaper, less specific tests can be beneficial too.

These can teach you more about your dog’s breed and even their ancestors, allowing you to do more work on your own.

It’s important to make sure you understand the limitations of a DNA test before purchasing, however. You’re testing your dog’s genetics, not conducting an ancestry project, so your results won’t span multiple generations and give you a full report.

If you’re looking for highly specific information, it’s better to use a DNA test as a starting tool.

Whichever dog DNA test kit you end up choosing, make sure to have fun going through your results. Learning about your dog’s background can be an amazing experience, and you may just view them in a new light.