11 Best Dog DNA Tests

Barri J. Morrison, DVM
By Barri J. Morrison, DVM on Jul. 13, 2023
woman and a longhaired german shepherd snuggling on a gray couch

Have you ever questioned what breeds your mixed-breed dog is? Or wondered why your “purebred” pup doesn’t look as pure as you expected? Or, perhaps you are worried about what medical conditions your dog is predisposed to? A dog DNA test could give you these answers.

What Are Dog DNA Tests?

Dog DNA tests are tools that help you gain a deeper understanding of your dog’s genetics and how specific traits are inherited from parent to offspring.

There is a wide variety of dog DNA tests on the market that can tell you more about your pup. While some DNA tests require a blood sample and are performed by a veterinarian, there are also tests that can easily be done at home using your dog’s saliva. At-home dog DNA tests typically provide all the necessary tools to collect a saliva sample, which can then be mailed to a lab for analysis.

Knowing the results of your dog’s DNA test provides you with valuable information to plan for your pet’s future. For instance, knowing your dog’s breed makeup will help you and your veterinarian be conscious of certain breed-related health conditions. This knowledge empowers you to be proactive in identifying and implementing any necessary preventative measures to prevent or detect conditions at an early stage.

Best DNA Tests for Dogs

There are many dog DNA tests, and each has a different accuracy level (typically listed as a percentage) for identifying specific factors. As these tests are not 100% accurate, there is some margin for error and some chance of an unreliable result.

That said, significant progress has been made with the science and techniques involved in these tests: The accuracy for most pet DNA tests is quite high, with most well above 90%. As an example, the Embark Dog DNA test panel claims accuracy of greater than 99% for genetic-mutation tests.

Wisdom Panel®

Wisdom Panel DNA testing uses a simple cheek swab to gather information about your dog’s genetics. After mailing in the swab, you can expect to receive a comprehensive report with the results via email within three weeks.

Wisdom Panel has tested over 3 million pets. Their breed identification is often the most accurate because they have the world’s largest database of breeds. While Wisdom Panel DNA tests are designed for dogs of all ages, they should be conducted only after a puppy has finished nursing. This ensures that none of the mother dog’s cells are present in the puppy’s mouth during the swab collection process.

Wisdom Panel offers a few dog DNA tests:

Essential Breed Identification DNA Test for Dogs

  • Screens for over 350 breeds and is known to be the most accurate test when determining your dog’s breed makeup

  • Tests for over 25 medical conditions and over 35 physical traits

  • Tells you if your dog has relatives that have taken the same DNA test and have their information in a central database

  • Gives you the most information for the lowest cost when compared to other brands

Premium Breed Identification and Health Condition Identification DNA Test for Dogs

  • Commonly recommended by veterinarians, this test gives you the most information about your dog’s health

  • Includes all tests from the Essential Breed Identification kit, while also testing for over 210 genetic health conditions

  • Provides a chromosome map of your dog so you can understand how their unique mix of breeds came to be

Breed Discovery Breed Identification DNA Test for Dogs

  • Recommended if your primary interest is knowing your dog’s breed makeup, as it screens for over 350 breeds

  • Traces your dog’s family tree back as far as three generations

  • Tells you if your dog has relatives that have taken the same DNA test and have their information in a central database

  • Tests for the MDR1 gene, which can tell you if your dog has a sensitivity to certain medications

Embark®

Embark® DNA tests for dogs use a swab from inside your dog’s cheek and from under their tongue. Once you mail in the DNA, results are emailed to you within four weeks. Embark® tests across 230,000 markers, making it one of the most accurate dog DNA tests on the market.

Other Embar®k dog DNA tests include:

Breed Identification DNA Test for Dogs

  • Tests for over 350 breeds and types of dogs

  • Provides a family tree going back three generations

  • Provides information about parts of the world that are pertinent to your dog’s lineage

Breed Identification and Health Condition Identification DNA Test in Dogs

  • Provides all information from the Breed Identification DNA Test

  • Provides a genetic health screen for over 230 medical conditions in 16 areas of the body, including drug sensitivities, degenerative diseases, and bleeding tendencies

  • Comes with personalized recommendations for a pet with specific conditions (if applicable)

  • Offers a predicted adult weight of your dog

  • Tests for over 35 traits, including eye color and shedding level

  • Allows you to send the results directly to your vet

Dog DNA Test for Purebred Dogs

  • Confirms your dog’s breed and provides a wealth of information about that breed

  • Tests for hereditary health conditions and genetic diversity

  • Provides an ancestry profile for your dog

Orivet®

Orivet® makes three DNA tests for dogs: breed identification for both mixed and purebred dogs, plus a breed health kit. For this dog DNA test, you’ll collect a sample from the mouth by swabbing the cheek cells. The results will be available online within three weeks.

All Orivet® dog DNA tests include a personalized wellness plan for your dog based on the DNA test results, their age, breed, weight, gender, geographic location, and lifestyle.

Here’s how the tests differ:

Geno Pet Dog DNA Breed Identification Test

  • Screens for over 350 breeds, types, and varieties of dogs

  • Gives you a percentage of each breed in your mixed-breed dog

Purebred Dog Full Breed Profile

  • Confirms if your purebred dog is in fact a purebred

  • Must purchase a breed-specific test; tests for 10 breeds are available

Geno Pet Plus Dog Breed Identification and Health Test

  • Screens for over 350 breeds, types, and varieties of dogs

  • Gives you a percentage of each breed in your mixed-breed dog

  • Screens for over 250 diseases and traits

DNA My Dog

DNA My Dog® also uses saliva from your dog to determine genetic makeup. After you send the kit back, you’ll get your results in approximately two weeks.

Because DNA My Dog® recognizes the importance of the DNA testing of shelter dogs so that they can be successfully adopted, the company offers lower-cost testing for dogs who are in the care of a rescue or shelter.

Essential Breed Identification Test

  • Offers a complete breakdown and identification of over 350 dog breeds

  • Tests for genetic health concerns associated with those breeds

  • Offers tips for bonding activities for you and your pup

Premium Breed Identification Test

  • Offers a complete breakdown and identification of over 350 dog breeds

  • Tests for genetic health concerns associated with those breeds

  • Identifies your dog’s age

  • Determines the extent of wolf or coyote DNA in your dog

  • Offers tips for bonding activities for you and your pup

Featured Image: iStock/AleksandarGeorgiev


Barri J. Morrison, DVM

WRITTEN BY

Barri J. Morrison, DVM

Veterinarian

Barri Morrison was born and raised and currently resides in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She went to University of Florida for her...


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