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The surest way to know your dog's breed is dig into their genes with the help of dog DNA tests. Not only will these test results show the percentage of which breed makes up your dog's DNA, but they also reveal possible health complications and the dog's predisposition to certain illnesses.

It's only recently that DNA tests for dogs became available for pet owners' home use, but canine DNA testing actually has been around for nearly two decades. After it came out that these tests are actually accurate, today's scientists are elbow-deep in using dog DNA testing in a variety of fields, including health and forensic work and more research shows hope for this analysis becoming even more useful.

Several companies have created home DNA test kits for dogs but not all of them are reliable. Our editors ordered these tests from all major companies to compare the results for accuracy and ease of use, as well as the whole process. Below we review the best dog DNA tests that are currently recommended to try.

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Testing a dog DNA test kit

How Can a Dog DNA Test Be Useful

In our older podcast episode, Samantha and two experts in this field dug deep into this topic on the uses and benefits of DNA test kits for dogs, how effective they are and how exactly do they work.

There's a lot to know and understand about this rapidly growing field and the amount of science that goes into it, but in short, here are some of the main benefits pet owners can get from using a good DNA test kit for dogs.

1. You'll learn about the breeds that make up your dog.

Let's say the shelter told you that your mutt is a Labrador/Pit Bull mix. He may have some of the physical features of those two breeds, but canine DNA testing may actually show that he is made up of 5 or 6 different breeds (going really far on his family tree).

2. You'll know the exact percentage of the breed.

Not every dog DNA test can do this, but a few of them can tell you exactly what percent of each breed your dog is made of, going as low as into single digits. This is very useful to know for dog's health reasons, which we discuss below.

3. You'll get your dog's behavior explained.

Understanding exactly which breeds make up your dog will tell you a lot about what you can expect about your dog's behavior and his needs. If you know that your dog is 40% Boxer, 30% Labrador, 20% German Shepherd and 10% Newfoundland, you'll be able to assume certain characteristics about what he may look like and his personality.

4. You'll understand how to care for and prevent illnesses in the dog.

Finally, and most importantly, some of the best dog DNA tests can reveal potential health problems in your dog. Knowing the genetic makeup of your canine will give you vital information on what to expect in terms of your dog's health and lifespan, which can help you to prevent certain canine diseases or know how to deal with them more effectively.

You could also do some research on the common health ailments in those breeds. If you notice that diseases like canine cancer or canine arthritis are common in the majority of the breeds that make up your pet, you should educate yourself on the signs and symptoms to look for. Talk to your vet about preventative measures that you can take, and watch for warning signs; the earlier you treat the condition, the better the results.

The Best Dog DNA Tests

1Embark Dog DNA Test

Wouldn’t it be interesting to know your dog’s hereditary traits, any concerns related to your dog's genes and the family tree, and get breed identification? Not all products offer this, but the Embark dog DNA test certainly goes above and beyond.

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This popular dog DNA test kit from Embark Veterinary offers precisely these clinical analyses, which can trace almost 200,000 generic indicators with over 160 health results (including MDR1 drug sensitivity), all in one procedure. We've done a full podcast with the creators of Embark DNA test kit for dogs as well as an extensive review you can find here.

With this doggy DNA test kit, you do away with numerous lab tests and exorbitant vet bills. More than that, you’ll discover why your pooch appears and behaves the way he does. With this information you’ll be able to figure out what makes your dog tick, provide personalized health care, diet and exercise, and work out a wellness plan for Fido's future.

Animal owners who learned that their pets had no genetic health risks were understandably relieved. On the other hand, those whose pets were found to be at risk of developing certain diseases were grateful that they could accordingly take precautions and prepare for their dog’s healthcare. The Embark Dog DNA Test provides an exhaustive report, which also includes recommendations.

As for breed recognition, users found this feature to be very useful especially for dogs acquired from rescue centers and dog shelters. Embark Veterinary testing accurately detects a dog’s genetic background all the way back to his great-grandparents. This eliminates doubts as to his exact breed and pedigree. With this invaluable information, dog owners now have more fun unraveling the mystery behind their dog’s genes and are better equipped in making difficult choices pertaining to their pet.

PROS CONS
  • Easily the more extensive dog DNA test on the market
  • More in-depth than many of its competitors, claiming to test 100 times more genes than any other company
  • Includes MDR1 multi-drug sensitivity test
  • Report include breed identification and the dog's ancestry
  • Tests for more than 160 genetic disorders including including MDR1 sensitivity, degenerative myelopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy, PRA blindness, and exercise-induced collapse
  • Expensive

 

2Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 3.0 Breed DNA Kit

As noted in our review, Wisdom Panel 3.0 is currently the most popular DNA test for dogs. Created by Mars Veterinary, this kit offers comprehensive DNA test service to help you get insight into many different areas of your pet’s genetic system (almost) to the fullest.

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Without proper DNA testing, it would be a lifelong quest understanding your dog’s individual traits and behaviors. It would also be nearly impossible to provide him any necessary interventions. The services include MDR1 multi-drug sensitivity test that could help prevent potentially harmful drug effects. Test results will also give you a weight range prediction for puppies and dogs to help obtain their correct balance of food and exercise regimens. Breed and ancestry detection going back three generations of parentage are also included.

Aside from the aforementioned features, if you use the Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 3.0 you also get a customized report on the following – for purebreds, you get a breed certification and level of genetic diversity; for designer dogs, a certification to the effect that your dog is an authentic 50/50 hybrid of two purebred origins; for all types, comprehensive information on how to provide effective training and wellness program.

Canine owners were particularly impressed with the company’s customer care service. When they contacted the company for some doubts they initially had regarding the results, they promptly received an answer through mail, a call, or both. The company went out of its way to explain how the process works and what they based their findings on, and answered questions from the owner. This kind of responsiveness was well appreciated by the customers who now think highly of this product and the company behind it.

PROS CONS
  • Affordable
  • The second best rated dog DNA test on the market
  • Includes MDR1 multi-drug sensitivity test
  • Results will also give you a weight range prediction to help with feeding and exercise regimens
  • They show breed and ancestry detection going back three generations of parentage
  • Health screening is not as extensive as Embark's

 

3ORIVET Dog DNA Test Kit

A new player on the market, the Orivet dog DNA test kit screens dogs for genetic diseases and predispositions, genetic mutations, breed family tree, and more. It's new so not as popular yet but so far, this company is looking very good.

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If existing in your dog and these genes are left undetected, both you and your pooch will not have an easy time coping. It goes without saying that understanding your dog’s inborn health hazards is imperative, particularly those nonfatal diseases which are easily treatable.

This canine DNA test not only helps avert potential health issues, but also spares you from huge vet and lab workup costs. According to many other pet owners of adopted or rescued dogs with unknown medical and genetic history, they are grateful for this DNA test's impressive individualized report on their pets and the company’s excellent customer service and online accessibility.

The testing results were given based on breed, genetic makeup and symptoms, and they came with recommendations. For questions and clarifications, their customer service is always available and quick to respond. This dog DNA test report will also indicate if your dog is affected by or a carrier of a certain disease.

Dog owners were not the only ones who benefited from this product. Dog breeders, as well, have used this in their facilities. Breeders say they use it as a tool to ensure that they get the finest batch for breeding possible. They’re one in recognizing the necessity of testing each dog involved in their breeding program before it is allowed to spread its genes. According to them, this may even help reduce the incidence of canine genetic diseases in the years to come.

PROS CONS
  • Checks your dog’s DNA against a large number of genetic mutations
  • Reports are displayed online within 10 days of receipt of the sample
  • Confirmatory tests can be ordered for any issues of concern
  • Expensive

 

4DNA MY Dog Breed Identification Test

This third rated dog DNA test from DNA My Dog allows you to be more pro-active and learn about the various breeds found in your dog’s unique heritage, determine his potential susceptibility to any health risks, and discover your dog’s basic strengths and personality traits related with each breed. Perhaps, too, you’ll be able unlock some of your pooch’s innate abilities in the process.

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There’s no gainsaying that DNA testing in dogs has contributed a lot to both pets and their human. Where before pet owners could only hazard a guess or trust what professionals say about their dog, now they could easily identify their pup’s full breed ancestry with the DNA My Dog kit.

This is one less popular DNA kits but it's gaining attention. Just knowing the information it provides, it already solves half of mysteries for owners, and they’re more confident that they’ll be able to handle the rest through deduction. Clients using the DNA My Dog Canine Test say that its useful in more ways than they’ve ever expected.

Buyers say the data they received has helped them maintain the right training and work-out programs for their canines, provide the requisite diet, and take extra care to keep predisposed diseases at bay. It’s also very simple to perform the testing process – even elderly pet owners have no problem taking the samples and following the instructions.

PROS CONS
  • Test results include the percentage of each breed found in your dog
  • Cheap
  • The updates are received within 2 weeks of sending in the sample
  • You receive an outline of the health conditions and concerns, personality traits for every breed found in your dog's genetic profile
  • Not as extensive as either Embark or Wisdom Panel
  • A number of reports of inaccurate information
  • The company requires a photo to be sent in with the DNA sample which should not be necessary

 

5DNAffirm Canine Breed Test

Here’s another affordable dog DNA test. Like the other pricier DNA scans available, DNAffirm’s DNA Test affords similar basic insights into your dog’s own unique structure, predominant breeds, behavioral traits, form and appearance, exercise levels, health issues, and potential susceptibility to hereditary diseases.

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The resulting data will also include a custom photo certificate of your pet’s breed structure. Most of the pet owners who purchased this were surprised by what they got, especially for those who got their dogs from rescues which had no records as to the dogs’ lineage. The information and data held in the reports were really eye-opening to many.

Although there were some who disagreed, a large majority of buyers took the results positively. The explanation was scientific, logical and very convincing. Pet owners say the DNAffirm Canine Breed Identification Kit has greatly helped them in making informed decisions about their pet's care.

Overall, users of this DNA kit say that performing the steps is straightforward and trouble-free. Everything is so simple including the company’s website, which is a breeze to navigate – it’s not called a home kit for nothing. It’s also a most economical approach to identifying your dog’s breed.

PROS CONS
  • Very cheap
  • Test shows your dog’s own unique structure, his predominant breeds, behavioral traits, form and appearance, exercise levels, health conditions and problems, and potential susceptibility to hereditary diseases
  • Results also include a custom certificate showing your dog's breed makeup
  • The report is received about 2 weeks after sending in sample
  • We were not satisfied with the range of percentage of breeds (for example: dog rated as 37%-74% Chow Chow)
  • Many reports of inaccurate information

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Top Rated Dog DNA Tests

2 COMMENTS

  1. DNA My Dog sucks and they are crooks. Just go to the Facebook page What Breed is my Dog/Cat and you will see people from all over the world saying the company is bad. They scammed me too

    • Hi Nica,

      I am sorry to hear that you are unhappy with our service. If you would like to get in touch with us directly we would be happy to look into any concerns you have regarding your test and/or results.

      You can get in touch with our customer service team at [email protected], or you can phone our office at (416) 691-4160.

      Jessica
      -DNA My Dog

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