Guide to Finding the Best Dog DNA Test

Dog DNA Test

Over 12 million people have taken direct-to-consumer genetic tests so far in the United States aloneaccording to industry estimates. Dog enthusiastsunderstandably have long sought to gain the same insights into the ancestry and health of their furry companions that traditional human-centric tests offered.

Well, wait no longer; we are lucky to live in a time where there are now many companies that actually specialize in dog DNA testing. After testing the tests offered by 9 different companies, our editorial staff selected our top 3 recommends in the hopes that you will find the best dog DNA test for your special friend.

  Embark Wisdom Panel Easy-DNA
Website visit website visit website visit website
Overall Rating
Price $199 $100 $79
Breed Identification YES YES YES
# breeds in database 200 250 80
Health report YES NO No
Genetic health risks testing? YES NO NO
Wait time 3-7 weeks 2-4 weeks 1-2 weeks

Why have your dog take a DNA test?

Insights into your dog's heritage

DNA testing will offer you insight into your dog’s heritage, telling you whether (s)he is a purebred, a planned mix, or even a mongrel. This might be especially useful for people whose dogs compete in pedigree competitions, or if you’ve adopted a rescue dog and have no idea what breed(s) it is. The majority of doggie DNA kits on the market focus primarily on breed identification.

Although DNA testing cannot qualify a dog for pedigree registration (this can only be done through the traditional documentation route), it can be used to settle disputes about whether a dog is perfectly purebred. This is well worth the investment if your pedigree is involved in competitions, which are often expensive to enter and offer large cash prizes to winners.

Just please don’t go overboard like this woman who threw her doggie a “Dog Breed Reveal Party.”

Trait predictions

While no genetic tests for dogs will be 100% accurate in their predictions, the test results can give you “directionally correct” insights into:

Size and weight : DNA testing can also be used on puppies to make size and weight predictions - how big will that doggy in the window be when it’s fully grown, and will it be suitable for your home, or for your family? Tests can also tell you whether your dog is significantly over- or underweight according to their breed, so you can start making some lifestyle and dietary changes if this is the case. Is a doggie diet in his or hers future???

Physical characteristics : Long hair, short hair, hair curliness, how much he/she moults, and even things like the shape of the head are all determined by genetics. By profiling your puppy, you will have a better idea of how your future dog will look in a number of years - this might be especially helpful for people with allergies.

Genetic behavior : Certain breeds are prone to certain behaviors and DNA sequencing can be used to tell you how loyal, loud, shy, aggressive, etc. your canine companion will turn out to be. Of course, how they are raised affects this tremendously, but it can help you tailor your training to take into account any negative traits that your dog might be prone to.

Genetic heath issues

Each breed has certain health risks associated with it. However it is often difficult to tell whether your specific dog inherited the specific gene for certain conditions until it is too late. If you genetically test your dog, you can see which genetic health issues he or shelikely inherited, and this information can be used to take preventative measures. What’s more, if your vet knows that he may develop a certain condition, they can look out for tell-tale signs and symptoms which may have been otherwise overlooked. The test results can also tell vets which drugs can (and cannot) be prescribed to your pooch. Lastly, the dog lover in me compels me to ask you to not make life-or-death decisions based on the results of a dog DNA test! Please take any result with a grain of salt and consult your vet.

How the Dog DNA Testing Process Works

The testing process is pretty straightforward. After you have chosen a test provider, you select the test that is best for your dog and purchase it. In a couple of days, you should receive the dog DNA test kit in the mail. After you register your kit online, you basically just take the handy dandy cotton swab (supersized for dogs) and lightly scrape the inside of Fido’s cheek. Follow the directions to preserve the sample and then send it off in the pre-paid postage box provided. It is as simple as that.

So which company offers the best dog DNA test?

So now for the bit you’ve been waiting for. We’ve scoured the internet to find the best options for you and your pup, and we’ve listed our top three options, along with a description of each to help you make an informed decision.

Embark

Embark’s single testing kit it sells is extremely comprehensive. It examines at over 200,000 genetic markers and more that 160 known genetic health risks. It allows owners to learn about breed, ancestry, health and more. Test is often cited as the most accurate and highest rated kit on the market. Embark’s extensive vet report allows you and your vet to gain better insights into the health of your dog. Embark has partnered with the College of Veterinarian Science at Cornell University to ensure they are at the forefront of genetic science. You can even opt to allow your pup’s DNA to be used in their cutting-edge research. The only real downside to Embark’s kit is that it takes around 3-7 weeks for you to get the results back. Because of the extensive genetic testing, the testing and analysis takes longer, so you’ll have to patiently wait for the results. At $199, it is the more expensive option, however it is extremely comprehensive and is the best option money can buy - if you can afford it, this is definitely the kit to go for.

  • Pros
    • Includes ancestry and health reports
    • Profiles over 200,000 genetic markers
    • Identifies over 160 genetic health risks
  • Cons
    • Most expensive option
    • Takes 3-7 weeks for results to arrive
  • Bottom Line
    • This is the perfect option for those wanting extensive testing of their pet, looking at their genetic make-up to identify their breed, as well as look closely at the health issues that may arise in the future. IT’s the most expensive option, but it’s still affordable at $199.

Wisdom Panel

Wisdom Panel offers a breed detection kit with an added test for a specific genetic marker that tells you about your dog’s drug sensitivity. This is the most extensive ancestry kit on the market: it can identify over 250 different breeds, and can trace ancestry back three generations. Other products are expected to be available in the near future, which will be able to tell you about genetic traits and health issues, however at this time, only the one product (called the Wisdom Panel 3.0) is available on their website. The biggest plus is that the test only costs around $100 and you will receive the results within 2-3 weeks. Of course, the biggest down side is that it only tests for breed and drug sensitivity, so it doesn’t give you any indication of the health issues your dog may develop in the future. However, at half the price, if you’re only interested in knowing the breed of your ball of fluff, this is the test for you.

  • Pros
    • Mid-range price tag
    • Most comprehensive breed analysis on the market
    • Can trace back three generations and identify over 250 different breeds
    • Takes 2-3 weeks for results to arrive
  • Cons
    • Only tests for drug sensitivity markers, not for any other health related information
    • It’s a British company, which may add extra time to delivery times
  • Bottom Line
    • This is the perfect choice for those who want a highly accurate breed identification kit.

Easy-DNA

At $79, this test has been included in our review as it is representative of the majority of other dog DNA test kits available on the market. It’s cheaper than Embark or Wisdom Panel, however it only offers breed identification. And as it only identifies around 80 different breeds. If you’re really strapped for cash, this kit will give you an idea of the breeds your pup is made up of, however it might be worth saving up a little longer to get a more comprehensive test. That said, the results come back within two weeks, and the customer service is very good.

  • Pros
    • The most cost-effective option
    • Relatively accurate breed identification, identifies around 80 different breeds
    • Takes 1-2 weeks for results to arrive
  • Cons
    • Not as accurate as the Wisdom Panel kit
    • No form of genetic health profiling
  • Bottom Line
    • This is the budget option for hobbyists who are interested in the breed of their dog, or perhaps for amateur dog breeders who would like a relatively good idea of the genetic composition of their pups.

Our Recommendation

  • If you’re looking for an extensive and comprehensive package that tells you about the breed and health of your dog, as well as including a comprehensive vet report that allows you and your vet to plan for the future, then Embark’s kit is for you.
  • For a kit that’s half the price, but offers the most comprehensive heritage results, then Wisdom Panel is definitely the best choice. It’s perfect for those who are only interested in finding out the exact breed of their dog.
  • Easy-DNA is the most cost-effective option. The results are not as thorough, but with the kit only costing $79, it’s perfect for the amateur hobbyist.
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