If you’re a dog owner who constantly asks themselves, “what breed is my dog!?” Then you know it’s important to learn as much as you can about your furry friends when you first buy or rescue them. Why? Because it can save you tons of headaches in the future.
While they may come with papers from a certified breeder, puppies and older dogs from a shelter often have a lot of mystery surrounding them. With a significant rise in the sentiment that it’s better to adopt than to shop, shedding light on your dogs DNA becomes that much more important for a healthy future.
But how does one go about doing this?
Getting a DNA test for your dog can help solve some of these puzzles by learning about their ancestry. A dog DNA kit can be extremely important if you’re planning on training them, since specific breeds have certain behaviors that can affect the effectiveness of the techniques you use.
Knowing the history of your pet can also give you some insight into important medical considerations. Mixed breed dogs can suffer from breed specific illnesses all the same, so a DNA test can help you identify risk factors early, so you don’t get any unwanted surprises later down the line.
Related: For dog training efforts, see the best dog whistles available.
5 DNA test kits for dogs examined
If it sounds like something you might need, and if you’ve been asking what the top dog DNA test kits were; then read on because below we’re going to be looking at five of the best, most accurate dog DNA analyzing options around.
#1 – Embark Veterinary Dog DNA Test Kit
As with anything medicine related, you want any test you take to be accurate, reliable, and tested extensively for any flaws in the methodology. Embark Veterinary knows this and partnered with Cornell University to create one of the most detailed tests around.
With a simple cheek swab, the lab will give you the genetic breakdown of your dog, test for potential disorders and diseases, and even give you an idea of how much your dog will weigh when fully grown. While it does take 6-8 weeks to process the results, the experience is hassle-free and well worth your time for the extensive information it provides.
- Extremely detailed
- Accurate results break down even the most mixed of breeds
- Genetic testing for potential illnesses can save you a lot of time and money than testing at a vet
- Lengthy wait times for results compared to competitors
Earned a 4.8 out of 5 stars rating. Customers who give the Embark DNA test to their dog were almost always pleased with the results. Thanks to its comprehensive nature, even the most mixed of dog breeds are delivered lengthy results that even tests for wolf and coyote DNA.
Their support staff is readily available to answer questions, and always strives to clarify any confusing results. The major gripe with this product is the lengthy wait time for results, however, they’re far better than most other tests which can help take the sting out of the wait.
#2 – Wisdom Health Wisdom Panel 3.0
If you’re someone who needs your results as fast as possible while still saving a few dollars, the Wisdom Panel is a great middle of the road option since it offers results in less than half the time of Embark Veterinary with the same, simple cheek swab test!
With a database of over 250 dog breeds, this test is great for general inquiries about the genetic breakdown of your dog but falls slightly short when it comes to identifying potential health issues. Still, if you’re looking to satisfy some curiosity, then this is a great choice.
Here’s how it works
- Tests for MDR1 sensitivity
- Extremely quick turnaround time
- Falls short when identifying mixed breeds
- Doesn’t really test for potential risk factors
With overall positive feedback, the consensus is that Wisdom Health’s Wisdom Panel is a great informational tool for customers; earning an impressive 4.6 out of 5 stars rating. The test only goes back three generations which makes it ideal for young dogs with less complicated ancestries but means it has disappointed some customers with consistent inconclusive feedback for more difficult mixed breeds.
The resulting verdict is that this is a test that can’t be your only source of information about your dog but is still a useful supplementary one.
#3 – IdentiBreed Complete Dog DNA Test
Sometimes you want something more substantive than breed information, and for that IdentiBreed offers their Complete Test that covers everything from genetic health to cortisol levels. The standout feature here is the ability to test for vitamin and hormone deficiencies in your dog’s day-to-day diet to ensure he or she is getting properly balanced meals.
This is undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive tests on this list and is bound to have enough new information to satisfy almost any owner.
- Complete testing for all measures of health
- Inexpensive for the information provided
- Company answers any and all questions related to their tests to explain results
- Pictures of your dog are required for the test to be processed
The overwhelming amount of feedback for this product is extremely positive, with customers citing it as the best value DNA test for the money. It earns a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating.The test results come back quickly and are crammed with information to give as much information as possible about the health and well-being of your dog.
Critical customers are skeptical about the validity of the product due to the mandatory picture potentially influencing results, but these reviews are few and far between.
#4 – Wisdom Panel Mixed Breed DNA Test Kit
Are your dog’s behaviors beginning to confuse you? Is he ignoring your attempts at physical activity and play? Well, Wisdom Panel Insights believe their DNA test can change all that. They put any medical tests aside and focused exclusively on delivering high-quality results when breaking down the breed of your dog.
While that makes it essentially useless for purebreds, owners who are looking for an explanation for erratic behavior can find an answer in these results that can help them plan effective exercise regimens or training sessions.
- Results available in as little as three weeks
- Can identify breed percentages as low as 2%
- Instructions are not the best, which can result in contaminated specimens
Earns a 4.2 out of 5 stars rating. The majority of the positive feedback for Wisdom Panel Insights’ DNA test comes from customers who appreciate the relatively inexpensive, speedy test to determine the various breeds that make up their dog. While it holds up well to these expectations, many customers complain that the test often delivers inconclusive or even perhaps inaccurate results when it comes to purebred dogs, raising some questions about their validity.
#5 – Home Cheek Swab Kit by DNAffirm
Last but not least, DNAffirm offers the least expensive option to consumers who are looking to take their first plunge into the world of DNA testing. This test is the most basic one on this list since it only covers information related to the breed of your dog, but it does so quickly and with a solid amount of accuracy. One nice perk is the certificate you receive after the test is done, which, while not very practical, is a cute way to keep the results handy at home.
- Least expensive entry on this list
- Reliable and accurate
- Doesn’t test for much
- The company lacks communication skills and often leaves questions and concerns unanswered
It earned a 3.5 out of 5 stars. The reception for this product is more mixed than the others, but there is still some value to be had here for money-conscious owners. While the results are narrow, they compare well with more expensive tests which makes them useful for basic information about mixed breeds.
However, many customers have experienced frustration in dealing with the company when it comes to slow processing times or unanswered questions. Still, this test is a great option for beginners to see how useful a DNA test can be for their specific pet.
Final say on DNA kits for dogs
A quality DNA test can be one of the best investments you make for your dog. The genetic and breed information provided can help with training, playtime, or even provide some added medical insight when taking them to the vet.
Mixed dog owners, in particular, should take a long, hard look at the options on our list and consider taking the plunge! It’s fast, easy, affordable, and you’ll feel closer to your dog than ever before.