If you are the proud owner of a mixed breed dog, you have probably heard the question from other people around you many times: exactly which breeds is your dog? The best DNA test for dogs can reveal your dog's ancestry and show what breeds' blood is flowing through your puppy's body.
Furthermore, a good quality DNA test for dogs can also confirm if the canine is in fact a purebred or a mutt, reveal its genetic predisposition, possible inclination for certain illnesses and behavioral problems. This is what you get with the most basic doggy DNA tests which we discuss later in this article.
However, a new company called Embark in 2016 have released a new and improved canine DNA testing kit which now includes information about not only the type of breed your dog is but a ton of details related to canine's predisposed genetic diseases and potential health problems. Read and watch Embark's dog DNA test kit review below.
WATCH & READ MORE: Embark Dog DNA Test Kit Review & Testing the Test
In the most basic sense, a DNA test for dogs is and works exactly like what the title implies. You use your canine's DNA (usually from saliva) and test for a variety of aspects. You won't have to test yourself, but rather send your dog's saliva to a company's test lab and wait for results. Depending on which service you use, you'll get what was promised.
Before getting to know your breed more, you also want to do research on the company and the test that they provide to be sure that they have a large number of breeds in their database for the DNA test for dogs. If you have suspicions on what breed your dog may be, make sure that the company you choose has that breed in their database.
In terms of how accurate these doggy DNA tests are, which dog DNA test works best, and how can purchasing a DNA test for your dog can benefit you as an owner, I recommend you listen to our podcast interview linked below on everything related to dog DNA tests. Ryan Boyko, CEO of Embark, shared a lot of great information about dog DNA testing, its benefits and effectiveness.
LISTEN HERE: Podcast Interview on How Effective Are Dog DNA Tests
What's a DNA Test for Dogs and How It Works?
The precision of DNA test for dogs has increased greatly in the last few years, especially once Embark Vet has improved the way labs test canine DNA and what information can be acquired from this procedure. Generally, every company that sells DNA tests for dogs has a different database of breeds that they compare the results with.
Aside from the Embark Vet DNA test for dogs which we mentioned and reviewed previously, another two most popular DNA test for dogs kits are made by Mars Veterinary and Wisdom Panel (photos on the right; click for more details).
Possibly the most well-known company, Wisdom Panel has a database of over 170 different breeds that they can compare your dog’s samples to. Compare that with DDC Veterinary which only has a database of 62 different breeds' DNA samples, and you can see how the results can vary greatly depending on which company's product you use.
For this reason, it is crucial that you read testing reviews and do your research before you purchase a dog DNA testing kit. Reading reviews will tell you how accurate other consumers found those DNA test for dogs to be. For example, Amazon has a pretty extensive customer reviews database on this already.
One of our writers has tested and wrote a Wisdom dog DNA test review where she presented all the details about how it works and what you get when using most of these DNA tests for dogs.
Your dog could definitely be part German Shepard, but if you choose a company that doesn’t have German Shepard DNA (which is hardly viable) in their database, you could get results that tell you something completely different.
Depending on how mixed your dog is, you may have trouble getting an entirely accurate result. The number of breeds that make up a dog's DNA and how recently a pure strain was introduced in the breeding are major factors in determining your dog’s heritage.
If you have a true mutt, they may be so mixed that the test may not be able to pinpoint any single breed as a major contributor (rarely happens, according to many dog owners).
RELATED: Canine Genetics – How to Make a Dog
Most accurate DNA test for dogs in 2016?
There are two major brands – mentioned above – of DNA test for dogs kits on the market that are safe to trust and use. These have been tried and proven to work most of the time (not always) by many, many dog owners.
That being said, if you simply perform a Google search, you may find lots of different DNA testing brands; however, if you look closer, you will see that two major companies own most of those tests under different names.
RELATED: How to Tell What Breed Is My Dog
Canine Heritage and Wisdom Panel are the two leading companies. And if you dig even deeper, you will see that Mars Veterinary, a division of the candy giant Mars Inc., sells Wisdom Panel. Furthermore, Mars bought out Canine Heritage as well, so now the company has a major monopoly over the canine DNA test market.
Since most tests are now distributed by the same company who has established itself as the best in this market, you can count on most of them to be very accurate. Don’t be too hasty with buying your next DNA test for dogs though.
Because there are some cheaper DNA test for dogs kits on the market that are not distributed by Mars Veterinary, and many of them have databases that include less than 100 breeds. Do yourself a favor and spend a little extra money in order to get much more accurate results.
RELATED: What Breed is My Dog – How to Tell?