Learn about your furry friend with the best dog DNA tests

·8 min read

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A dog DNA test kit
A dog DNA test kit

Have you always wanted to know more about your dog's history and ancestry? If so, you're not alone. Millions of dog owners, especially those who own mixed breed dogs, are eager to learn more about their dogs' genes and DNA, and dog DNA tests can provide the answers you seek.

These tests are a lot like human ancestry and DNA tests. They take a sample of your dog's DNA and analyze it to find out all about your furry friend's genetic make-up. Canine DNA tests can tell you what breeds' genes are present in your dog, revealing what breeds it may have descended from over the years. Not only that, but these tests also inform you about possible genetic conditions or high-risk factors your dog may have.

Top Picks

Best overall: Wisdom Panel Essential New and Improved Dog DNA Test

A fundamental dog DNA kit from Wisdom Health
A fundamental dog DNA kit from Wisdom Health

Wisdom Panel is a big name in the world of dog DNA testing and ancestry tracing, having tested over 2 million pups. Their new and improved canine DNA test kit is one of the top options that you can buy. This test uses its massive database to check your dog's DNA against countless markers. This pick is great for finding out more about your dog's actual breed mixture and genetic past, offering you ancestral background and explanations on over 35 traits ranging from hair length to ideal weight. Due to how easy it is to use, with incredibly detailed results back in under a month, this is the best option on our list.

Key Features:

  • Tests for 25+ medical complications

  • Tests for over 350 breeds and varieties of dog

  • Results in 2-4 weeks

Tests for genetic markers: Embark Dog DNA Test Kit

This high-quality dog DNA test kit is one of the more comprehensive products currently available on the market, screening for more genetic markers than any other company. It can inform you about your dog's breed and ancestral background while also testing for hundreds of different genetic predispositions to health conditions.

Key Features:

  • Checks for 210+ health risks

  • Tests more than 230,000 genetic markers

  • Results in 2-4 weeks

Fastest results: DNA My Dog Canine Breed Identification Test

A canine dog breed DNA test kit
A canine dog breed DNA test kit

The best thing about the DNA My Dog Canine Breed Identification Test is its quick turnaround on results. Most dog DNA tests take up to four weeks to get back to you, but this one can provide results in under two weeks! It's one of the fastest tests on the market, and it's also very accurate and informative. It will provide you with a custom photo certificate on your dog's breed composition as well as a comprehensive report on personality traits, health concerns, and predispositions to certain diseases.

Key Features:

  • Up to 99.997% accuracy

  • Tests breed type and health concerns

  • Results in two weeks or less

Best for health: Orivet Genopet Dog DNA Test

A breed identification DNA test kit from Orivet Genopet
A breed identification DNA test kit from Orivet Genopet

The Orivet Genopet Dog DNA Test is another terrific dog DNA test worth considering, especially if you want to improve your dog's health. Not only does this kit test for health concerns and risk factors, but it also comes with a customized LifePlan for your pup. The LifePlan provides information about the best diet and lifestyle for your dog to promote good health and interesting information on your dog’s personality. It will also inform you if your dog is overdue for any vaccines, making this a great option for new rescues. This option is perfect for owners who are worried about their aging dog or simply want to get ahead of the development of health problems.

Key Features:

  • Tests for 350+ breeds markers

  • Comes with custom LifePlan

  • Results in 2-3 weeks

Buyer’s guide for finding a dog DNA test

Now that we’ve looked at some of the finest dog DNA tests on the market, let’s look at some of the essential information you need to know before you make a final decision. In this part of the guide, we answer some common questions you might have about canine DNA tests and review some of the key factors you should consider to make a successful purchase.

What is a dog DNA test?

A dog DNA test is simply a test that analyzes your dog's DNA to provide information on their breed and genetic background. You can take the sample from the comfort of your own home, without any harm or discomfort for your dog. You then send the sample away to a lab for analysis and await detailed results on your pooch.

How do dog DNA tests work?

The DNA testing process with canine DNA tests is really simple. The exact process can vary from test to test, but in general, it is as follows. First, pick and order a test you want to use. When it arrives, follow the instructions and collect a sample of your dog's DNA, usually by swiping the inside of their cheek with a swab.

You then seal up the sample and send it off to the lab's address for processing. At the lab, scientists will analyze the sample and compare your dog's DNA with an existing database of DNA and genetic markers. They'll then deliver results to you, letting you know about your dog's ancestry, genes, health risks, and so on.

Why should I use dog DNA tests?

There are lots of reasons to use a DNA test on your dog. Here are some of the most important reasons why people around the world use these tests:

1. Learning more about mixed breeds

If you have a mixed-breed dog, especially if you adopted them with little to no information on their background, you may have wondered about its parents or family tree. It’s often very difficult to find out about a dog’s past, so a DNA test allows you to learn more and find out all about your pup. It will provide you with a report on what different breeds make up your dog’s genetic background, like Poodle or Labrador.

2. Identifying health risks

A dog’s genetics can have a big impact on its health and estimated lifespan, as certain conditions are hereditary and passed down through genes. A dog DNA test can therefore be very valuable in terms of protecting your dog and reducing the risk of health problems. It will let you know if your pup is more at risk of certain issues like diabetes or cancer.

3. For the fun of it

Dog DNA tests have several practical uses, but they’re also quite simply a lot of fun to do. They’re great for dog owners who want to learn more about their canine companions and even show off what kind of pooch they have, whether through bumper stickers, magnets, or other cute items.

What to look for in dog DNA tests?

There are a lot of doggy DNA tests out there, but they have different levels of quality, reliability, and efficiency. Here are some of the most important factors to focus on to help you find the right kit for your canine companion:

Extent of testing

Some dog DNA tests are quite basic and only test a limited number of markers. They might be able to tell you roughly what mixture of breeds is in your dog’s DNA but won’t provide much in-depth information. To get the best results, you should look for tests that track a huge number of genetic markers and give you the most information. If the company is testing based on its database, then opting for one that’s conducted a significant number of tests is ideal.

Speed

Another area in which dog DNA tests differ is in terms of their speed. Many of them will deliver the results of your dog’s test within about a month, but some can be much faster, giving you the answers you’re looking for in less than two weeks. If you’re feeling impatient, you may want to pick a test that provides the fastest turnaround speeds.

Ease of use

Dog DNA tests are all pretty similar in terms of how they work, but some are easier to use than others. The best tests provide all the instructions you need to carry out the test, collect the sample and safely post it to the lab. Other tests can be a little less clear or may be confusing to users, so it’s good to find one that is quick and simple.

People also asked

Q: Are dog DNA tests regulated?

A: Not yet. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not currently assess or regulate the quality or reliability of dog DNA tests. This is different from human DNA and ancestry tests, which are regulated. This could change in the future.

Q: How much does a dog DNA test cost?

A: It depends. Some kits can be quite expensive, especially if you buy from one of the biggest and most trusted brands which provide more comprehensive and detailed results. Others are cheaper but maybe less reliable or provide less information. Expect to pay between $60 and $175 for each test.

Q: Does it hurt my dog to take a DNA sample?

A: No, there’s no need to worry about hurting your dog with these tests. All you have to do is brush a little swab against the inside of their cheek. It’s not painful at all, but some dogs will make it harder than others.