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A great dog DNA test should provide useful and reliable information about your dog. While a barebones test might reveal your dog's breed, we evaluated DNA kits that offered much more, including genetic health markers and lineage information.
In our search for the best dog DNA kits, we looked for clear instructions, quick results, and user-friendly ways to look over your dog's data. We also noted when DNA tests had extra features, like the ability to network with other dog owners or provide nutritional advice.
Here are the best dog DNA tests.
Best Overall: Embark Breed & Health Kit
If you want the most possible information on your pet, then the Embark Breed & Health Kit is your best bet. The kit is made in partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. With Embark Breed & Health Kit, you’ll get information on your pet’s breed breakdown, tracking their lineage back to great-grandparents.
There’s also a social component to this kit: You can connect with other dog owners that Embark has found share DNA with your own dog. Beyond checking DNA for your dog's breed, Embark also looks for genetically-linked health markers. You can see all these results on a nicely designed dashboard on Embark’s website, or download a report, which can be handy if you want to share the results with your vet.
The process is straightforward, beginning with a cheek swab from your dog, which is then mailed to Embark for testing. Results are generally available in two to four weeks. Although the wait is long, Embark does a great job providing status updates, making their progress transparent.
Overall, most reviewers were thrilled with the results, as well as the customer service. The report has detailed results, with attractive, easy-to-follow visuals and charts about the finding. Some reviewers mentioned that when the report on their dog had a potentially alarming finding, a geneticist would reach out personally before sharing the report to go over the implications.
Best Budget-Friendly: DNA My Dog Breed Identification Test Kit
Are you put off by the long waits and hefty prices of many of the dog DNA testing kits? The DNA My Dog Breed Identification Test Kit might be the perfect option for you—results are available after about one week. And, the cost is significantly more budget-friendly.
As with the other kits, you’ll swab your dog’s cheek to get DNA, mail the sample in, and then get details on your pup’s ancestry. You’ll get details on your dog’s breed composition, as well as information on your dog’s dominant breeds and the associated personality traits and health issues.
Best for Mixed Breeds: Wisdom Panel Premium Dog DNA Test
If your dog’s breed is truly mysterious—or if you suspect there are many or rare breeds in the mix—the Wisdom Panel Premium Dog DNA Test is impressively thorough, testing for more than 350 breeds.
The testing process is fairly simple: Each test comes with two DNA test swabs. You’ll use them to take a sample from the inside of your dog’s mouth. This process may be a bit more complicated than it seems—because you need make sure your dog does not lick, chew, or eat anything for a couple of hours before getting the sample. Then, using pre-paid postage (also included) you’ll mail the sample off. At a lab, this DNA sample will be tested for hundreds of markers that help identify your dog’s breed ancestry all the way to the dog’s great-grandparents. Within three weeks, you’ll receive an email with your dog’s results.
Our tester found the results of this test to be accurate and the user interface easy to use. As well as the details on the dog’s genetic background, you’ll also receive weight range predictions for your dog and some details on your dog’s mix of breeds.
Best for Purebreds: Embark DNA Test for Purebred Dogs
Embark's DNA Test for Purebred Dogs combines the reliability and thoroughness of Embark's genetic testing with data specific to purebred dogs. Since Embark checks more 220,000 different genetic markers, covering about 8 percent of your dog's total genome, they can offer more detailed data than other services, which is particularly important if you're trying to learn about your purebred dog's genetic lineage.
As with Embark's Breed & Health Kit, the Purebred Dogs test analyzes more than 210 genetic health risks and more than 35 physical traits. However, the test for Purebred dogs also offers genetic diversity information, more specifically your dog's genetic coefficient of inbreeding, or COI. Embark's Purebred Dog test can pinpoint where your dog's COI falls in relation to both your dog's breed and all other dog breeds. While inbreeding purebred dogs can maintain or emphasize characteristic traits of the breed, too little genetic diversity can have negative effects, particularly when it comes to fertility (Embark also offers DNA testing kits specific to breeders).
While the Embark DNA Test for Purebred Dogs can offer you more insight into the genetic makeup of your purebred dog, keep in mind that genetic data is different from the traditional evaluative methods used to assess a dog's pedigree. While data obtained from a DNA test may be more scientifically accurate than pedigree measures that make determinations based on lineage, ultimately pedigree is determined by registering organizations like the American Kennel Club.
The best overall dog DNA test is the Embark Breed & Health Kit, which provides you with a breed breakdown and information on ancestors going back to great-grandparents. It also tests for different genetic diseases! If you’re looking for something that costs a bit less, the DNA My Dog Breed Identification Test Kit is a solid option that still provides reliable and fast results.
What to Look for in a Dog DNA Test
Your reasons for testing will determine what type of test you want to select. If you’re just curious about your dog’s lineage, there are basic tests, while others provide more analysis of how their DNA may contribute to their personality. Others can tell you if your dog is more or less at risk for various health conditions.
Speed of results
How long do you want to wait for your dog’s DNA results? If speed is important to you, there are tests that can deliver them quickly (in a couple of weeks), while other testing companies take months to deliver results. Your reason for testing and your level of patience will factor into which type of test you should choose.
Of course, the most important quality you want in a dog DNA test is accuracy, particularly if you’re looking for insight into their health. Some tests guarantee accuracy rates of nearly 100 percent.
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Madeleine Burry is a dog lover, who has written content about pet health and conditions for PetCareRx, as well as writing about pets for AAA’s Via Magazine, and Women’s Health.