Best Dog DNA Test: What They Do and How To Choose

By Melanie Fox / March 1, 2017

Have you ever been walking your dog down the street and had someone ask what breed he is? You probably answered with your best guest. But what if you could actually know the rich genetic background that makes up your dog? We have sourced some of the best dog DNA test kits for you below. 

What Is A Dog DNA Test?

A dog DNA test looks at the genetic makeup of a dog. According to Adam Boyko of Cornell Univeristy, the canine genome is comprised of roughly three billion base pairs made up of four nucleotides. By looking at these markers, many of the breeds that make up a dog can be determined.

The best dog DNA test provides detailed results about a dogs genealogy by breed going back as much as four generations,  size and weight at adulthood, percentage of wolf DNA, and genetic predisposition for certain diseases.​

The tests are noninvasive. You simply swab the inside of your dog’s cheek. This is all the DNA that is needed to look into your dog’s genes!

best dog dna test

Why Do A Dog DNA Test?

For some dogs, a test like this can be lifesaving. According to veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney in an article done by Daily Treat, certain breeds of dogs are more likely to have a multi-drug resistance gene, meaning that they have trouble processing some medications and this can be life threatening. Mahaney says that the dogs that most commonly have this problem are Collies, Shetland sheep dogs, Australian shephards, and cattle dogs.

In addition to finding out your dog’s genetic makeup, a best dog dna test reveals potential genetic diseases or drug sensitivity. The test can also give owners an idea of how big a dog will get. This can be useful if a rescue dog has been acquired and not much is known about his background.

best dog dna test

Dog DNA Test Accuracy

When choosing a dog DNA test, accuracy will play a big part in you determination. 

Choosing the Best Dog DNA Test

There are a variety of options when choosing which is the best dog DNA test you want to use to find out more about your dog’s lineage. It can be overwhelming to try and figure out which will work best for you among all of the choices. Don’t worry though, because we have all of the information right here!

The Best Dog DNA Test Kits:

Dog DNA Test Reviews:

Best Dog DNA Test
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The collection process for this product is fairly straightforward, once you have acquired the kit. You collect the dog’s DNA from the inside of his cheek using a swab, and return it to the kit. Then you activate the kit online to receive an identification code that you write down, and mail it back in.

About three weeks after the lab receives the sample, you will get what is called a “comprehensive report.” This will tell you things like ancestry and breed description.

 All of the reviews are excellent, and it seems that the company is very concerned with customer satisfaction.

Final Thoughts

This is one of the best dog DNA test kits and a good option, definitely one that has seen many satisfied customers. If you are worried that your dog may have drug sensitivities, this would be a good test to use. It seems that the company takes their job seriously and really want to provide customers with valuable information.

Pros


  • Covers over 250 breeds of dogs, giving very specific results
  • Uses new technology that scans over 1,800 genetic markers
  • Offers potentially life-saving drug sensitivity screening (Only dog DNA test in the U.S. that is licensed to do so)
  • Short waiting period for results
  • Test is easy to perform
  • Gives adult weight range prediction which can help owners make descisions
  • Good customer service 

Cons


  • Second most expensve option
  • Can only accurately test dogs that originate in the U.S.
  • Results are all algorithm based, with no trained human eye determining breeds
  • Mixed breed dogs may not provide specific results
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This test is similar to the Wisdom Panel 3.0, but does not test for drug sensitivity. The results of the test are sent to you in an Ancestry Report, and give users better knowledge of their canine friends. Like the 3.0, the test is made for mixed breed, purebred, and designer dogs.

The 2.0 also has a three-week waiting period for results, and the collection process is the same as the 3.0.

While some users loved the test and the information that it provided them with, others were skeptical about the degree of accuracy. 

Final Thoughts

When looking at this test compared to the newer 3.0 version of it, which is only slightly more expensive, it doesn’t make much sense to purchase this version. It is almost the same price as the 3.0, but without the drug sensitivity test. If you are looking to purchase one of the best dog breed DNA tests in this price range, the 3.0 gives you more for your money.

Pros


  • Simple testing process
  • Short waiting period for results
  • Provides adult weight range prediction to help owners make decisions surrounding nutrition
  • 321 markers are looked at in your dog's cells, and this is what gives DNA information
  • Cheaper option

Cons


  • Cheek swab can be uncomfortable for some dogs
  • Does not test for drug sensitivity
  • Can only accurately test dogs that originate in the U.S.
  • Dissatisfaction with the specificity of mixed breed results
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This best dog DNA test, boasts that it tests “100x more of your dog’s genes than other dog DNA tests.” Embark also looks at your dog’s risk for 160 genetic diseases.

The testing process is straightforward, and the company even provides a helpful demonstration video. It takes about 6-8 weeks to generate results. As a nice bonus, the company offers a discount when you purchase multiple tests.

This test seems to be especially good at determining the breeds in dogs that are mixed breed. Where as the Wisdom Panel tests just put “mixed breed” (which most owners already knew) this one provides a greater specificity of what breeds make up a dog.

Final Thoughts

Although this is the most expensive option, it really seems like you get what you pay for. Customers have been very happy with this product. You learn detailed information about your dog’s genetic makeup and can find out valuable information about genetic diseases.

Pros


  • Very high customer satisfaction
  • Evaluates risk of genetic diseases
  • More genes tested
  • Increased specificity in mixed breed dogs
  • Good customer service

Cons


  • Price is high
  • Many not be worth the extra cost, unless you have health concerns about your dog
  • Takes awhile to get results back
  • Customer have doubted the accuracy of test results
  • Does not test for certain breeds of dogs
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This best dog DNA test boasts being, “fast, easy, and completely painless!” Results are returned within two weeks of the lab receiving the sample. With the final breed report comes an outline of any health concerns associated with your dog’s breeds, as well as behavioral traits.

While the website does not have any directions on how to perform the test, they say that instructions come with the kit. The swab is described as being sterile and gentle, and painless for the dog.

Unlike others, this test cannot tell owners if their dog is purebred. It is designed solely to identify the breeds that make up mixed breed dogs. For someone wanting to confirm their dog’s status as a purebred, this would not be the test to use.

Final Thoughts

While this is one of the two cheapest best dog DNA test options, there may be a reason for that. Customers have not been satisfied with results and most felt it was a waste of money. Any product that has multiple reviews calling it “a scam” should be looked at with a degree of skepticism.

Pros


  • One of  more cost effective options
  • Very fast results
  • Pain free for dogs
  • Easy to conduct the test
  • Made specifically for mixed breed dogs

Cons


  • Low customer satisfaction
  • Only tests for dogs that are recognized by the American Kennel Club
  • Does not specifically look for any kind of genetic disorders
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The first thing that should be known about this test is that the company that conducts it, DNAffirm, does not appear to have a website. For buyers who like to be able to thoroughly research a product and look up frequently asked questions on a company website, this product may not be the one for them.

This best dog DNA test on Amazon describes the test as a simple cheek swab. It says that results become available about two weeks after the sample is received. The results give you information on your dog’s most dominant breeds and also give health concerns associated with those breeds.

In the description, it is pointed out that knowing a dog’s breed can help owners determine exercise needs. While the other tests could certainly provide similar information, this is the only one that thought to mention this.

Final Thoughts

This is the test that seems to have the least going for it. While it is cheap, the other test of the same price is a better option, in that it at least has a website that provides additional product information. This one also had the lowest overall customer satisfaction.

Pros


  • One of the least expensive options
  • Very fast results
  • Comes with a custom photo certificate
  • Can confirm if a dog is purebred
  • Tests have been successfully used in court

Cons


  • Lack of an easily accessible website
  • Low customer satisfaction
  • Does not test for any genetic diseases

So Which Test Is Best?

With these tests, it truly seems that you get what you pay for. The most expensive best dog DNA tests has the highest rate of customer satisfaction, and the least expensive is the lowest. However, some of the decision is based on what you are looking to get out of the test.

If you are looking for accuracy, and one that checks for genetic diseases, the Embark Dog DNA Test is the way to go. It is comprehensive and seems to be especially good for mixed breed dogs. For those willing to fork over the extra cash, this is definitely the best option.

Best Overall Test

Embark DNA Test

If you are more looking to confirm that your dog is a purebred, or want to know if your dog has drug sensitivity, Mars Veterinary Panel Wisdom 3.0 is a good option for best dog DNA tests. This cheaper option still offers valuable information.

Best Value Test

Mars Veterinary Panel Wisdom 3.0

For those who are not overly concerned with the accuracy of the results and want to go with the cheapest option, DNA MY Dog Canine Breed Identification Test is your best bet. Some customers were happy with the results, and it is one of the least expensive options.

best dog dna test

Go Learn!

Now that you have all of the information, it’s time to choose a test and learn about the mysteries that lie within your furry friend. Enjoy getting to know your dog even better. What you find out about your pup may surprise you!

About the author

Melanie Fox

Hi there, I'm Melanie Fox, editor at Beloved Bark. We look to provide people with the knowledge and tools to make smarter, more educated choices for their dogs. We have made it our mission to inform our followers with expert advice and recommendations, that will make a difference in your dog's life.

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