This content was reviewed by veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Racine, DVM.
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Have you been dying to know what breeds make up your one-of-a-kind pup? Are you concerned about certain hereditary diseases your dog might develop one day? DNA dog tests are a fun and informative way to understand who your pooch is and help you develop a better health plan for their future. According to a survey by Wisdom Panel, the primary reason pet owners decide to do a dog DNA test is out of curiosity (56%), followed by a desire to determine and gain a deeper understanding of possible health outcomes.
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- How Does Dog DNA Testing Work?
- How Can A DNA Test Benefit My Dog's Health?
- What's The Best Dog DNA Test?
- Comparison Table
- Are There Other Dog DNA Kits To Consider?
- Alternative: Get A Dog DNA Test At Your Veterinarian's Office
- DNA Health Testing & Vet Care
- Are There Any Reasons Not To Test My Dog's DNA?
- Pet Insurance Can Help Cover Health Conditions
A dog DNA test is easier than you might think. All you have to do with at-home dog DNA tests is order the test online. Then you take a simple cheek swab from your dog, place the swab in the provided container, and mail it back in a prepaid envelope.
In a few weeks, you’ll receive a report that includes your dog’s DNA results. Depending on the company and the type of test, you’ll see the percentage breakdown of your dog’s breeds and risks for developing certain hereditary diseases (or being a carrier). Some companies also offer parentage testing and purebred and designer dog testing.
How Can A DNA Test Benefit My Dog’s Health?
Knowing your dog’s breed makeup can inform you about each breed’s health concerns. And if you get genetic mutation testing, you’ll know your dog has a predisposition for certain genetic diseases he could develop in the future. This invaluable knowledge allows you and your vet to develop a better health plan for your pup. It also informs you about early warning signs to look out for so you can take preventive measures.
Also, some kits, like the Embark Dog DNA Breed + Health test, can identify if your dog has a genetic mutation that makes him sensitive to many commonly used medications (a condition called Multidrug Resistance 1, or MDR1). With these drug sensitivities, dogs can experience symptoms ranging from diarrhea and lethargy to seizures and even a coma. But thanks to a dog DNA test, you’ll know to avoid potentially dangerous medications.
Which breeds are most at risk for MDR1? It’s estimated that three out of four Collies have the mutation. Other breeds with a higher risk include German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, Shetland Sheepdogs (Shelties), Old English Sheepdogs, English Shepherds, Long-Haired Whippets, Silken Windhounds, and a variety of mixed-breed dogs.
We’ve reviewed several dog DNA tests and give you detailed information about what you can learn from each one. All of these are at-home cheek-swab tests, but the type and depth of results you’ll receive can vary.
Our choice for the best dog DNA test kit, Embark Dog DNA Breed + Health test is a comprehensive dog DNA test that screens for breed identification, 35+ physical traits, ancestry, geographic origin, and the health risks of developing certain genetic diseases (for 250 known canine genetic health problems). It also includes an adult weight predictor and a relative finder that lists dogs in their database related to yours. Your test results include a detailed vet report to help you and your veterinarian plan the best care for your dog. Embark stands out from the pack because it identifies twice as many genetic markers as most other companies and has a research-grade DNA genotyping platform.
Embark also offers tests for purebred dogs and breeders that provide breed-relevant disease screening, insights into health, traits (e.g., coat color, body size), and more. Every kit includes the genetic inbreeding coefficient and results for nearly all genetic mutation tests recommended by national breed clubs. Providing this extra layer of certification may help to differentiate your breeding service from the competition.
We also like that Embark contributes funding and genetic testing to animal shelters in the U.S. and Nepal. It is also the official dog DNA test of the Westminster Kennel Club. eGift cards are available in $25 increments, from $50-200, allowing your loved ones to choose the Embark kit that best fits their needs and budget. The downside? The Embark dog DNA breed + health test cost is higher than competitors. However, we believe that the accurate results outweigh the higher price. You also have the option of purchasing a less-expensive breed ID test, but it doesn’t identify genetic health markers.
“I tested my rescue dog, Sally, with an Embark dog DNA test. Her results said she was 47.5% Coonhound, 24.5% Mastiff, 14.2% Labrador Retriever, and 13.8% German Shepherd. I loved being able to read more about her breed makeup, including breed descriptions and behaviors. Embark goes above and beyond with the detail it provides in its reports, giving information about related breeds to Sally’s breed makeup.”– Kimberly Alt, parent of a rescued mixed-breed
|Tests for 350 breeds, types, and varieties||Breed + Health test is relatively expensive|
|Identifies 230,000 genetic markers, twice as much genetic information as most other companies|
|Genetic mutation testing for 250 canine health conditions|
|Results back in 2-4 weeks|
|Free replacement swab if yours gets damaged|
|Includes a relative finder, matching your dog’s DNA to possible family members|
|Charitable work with animal shelters|
|Live chat or email available if you need help interpreting test results|
|Positive customer feedback that Embark is the most accurate dog DNA test|
|Developed in partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine|
|Ability to get raw DNA data|
Embark offers discounts if you purchase multiple kits (see coupon below) and also has free shipping.
- Breed Identification Kit –
- Breed + Health Kit –
- Purebred Dogs Kit –
- Breeders Dog DNA Test Kit – $159
Looking for the latest Embark promo code? Use code: BESTDOG for up $40 off plus free shipping. Visit our dedicated Embark coupon article with the most up-to-date seasonal offers and discounts.
Our second-place winner for the best dog DNA test, Wisdom Panel offers three main dog DNA tests: Wisdom Panel Breed Discovery, Wisdom Panel Essential, and Wisdom Panel Premium.
- Breed Discovery: tests for 350+ breeds, drug sensitivities (MDR1 test), and your dog’s lineage and includes a relative finder.
- Essential: tests for everything in the Breed Discovery kit plus 50+ physical traits and 25+ genetic health risks.
- Premium: tests for everything the Essential tests for plus 240+ additional genetic conditions and a veterinarian consult for notable health findings.
You get a detailed report back within three weeks that you can share with your vet. Results are easy to understand but not quite as detailed as Embark. Wisdom Panel has tested more than four million dogs, and they say over 99.9% of dogs in their database have a relative.
Wisdom Panel also offers a cat DNA test, which screens for 70+ breeds and populations, 45+ genetic health conditions, and 25+ traits. It detects more breeds than any other cat DNA test. They also have tests for breeders of dogs and cats. These include genetic health tests, traits, and genetic diversity. While Wisdom Panel’s dog DNA tests are an affordable option compared to Embark’s kits, we and many customers have found Embark to be more accurate.
Personal Experience With Wisdom Panel 3.0
“We purchased the 3.0 DNA kit to conduct this product test (not a free trial). This is an older kit that tested for 250 breeds. It took only two weeks to get Sally’s results back from Wisdom Panel. I was thoroughly impressed with the quick turnaround.
Sally’s results said she was 37.5% Treeing Walker Coonhound, 25% Mastiff, 25% Beagle, and 12.5% German Shepherd. Wisdom Panel’s information was thorough in its detail on her genetic makeup and displayed it in an easy-to-read format. The website is easy to navigate, and I enjoyed learning more about each of these breeds.”– Kimberly Alt, parent of a rescued mixed-breed
|Tests cover 99% of 350 breeds, types, and varieties||Genetic marker testing is less detailed and in-depth vs. Embark (twice as many genetic markers tested with Embark vs. Wisdom Panel)|
|Genetic mutation testing for over 265 canine health risks (Premium test)|
|All 3 dog DNA test kits include MDR1 testing|
|Comes with two swabs, and they’ll replace for free if damaged|
|Includes a relative finder|
|Results back in 2-3 weeks|
|Also offers a cat DNA test|
|Charitable partnerships with animal rights groups|
|Veterinarian phone consultation available to discuss results from health tests|
|Phone, email customer service for any questions|
- Premium Test –
- Essential Test –
- Breed Discovery Test –
- Complete for Cats DNA Test –
Third Place: Ancestry Know Your Pet DNA
Ancestry, the leading commercial human DNA testing and genealogy company, now brings its DNA science expertise to our four-legged friends. The Know Your Pet DNA dog test kit breaks down your dog’s precise breed makeup from its database of over 400 global breeds. It also screens for 30+ physical and behavioral traits to give you even more insight into your unique pup.
Your results will also let you know of any close genetic matches to the thousands of dogs in their database. Ancestry can even connect you with nearby owners whose dogs have compatible breed mixes. This test is so new, we can’t gauge customers’ experiences yet, but given Ancestry’s stellar scientific reputation, we feel confident in recommending this exciting new dog DNA test.
|Tests for 400 breeds, types, and varieties (more than any other company)||No genetic health testing available|
|Screens 30+ physical and behavioral traits||We couldn’t find customer feedback because the test is so new|
|Includes a relative finder|
|Get results in 2-4 weeks|
|Collaborates with University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine|
|1st: Embark||2nd: Wisdom Panel||3rd: Ancestry||DNA My Dog||Dognomics||EasyDNA Breed ID||Orivet||Paw Print Genetics|
|Price||to||to||to||$147||$104||to||$19 to $55|
|# Of Breeds Tested||350||350||400||350||130||350||350||N/A|
|# Of Health Conditions Tested||250||265||N/A||N/A||237||N/A||200||200|
|Results Timeline||2-4 Weeks||2-3 Weeks||2-4 Weeks||2-3 Weeks||2 Weeks||3 Weeks||2-3 Weeks||2 Weeks|
|Research-Grade DNA Genotyping Platform|
|Free Replacement Swab If Damaged Or Bad Sample||Unknown|
|Donates Portion Of Proceeds To Charity|
|Customer Service||Email, phone, chatbot||Email, phone, chatbot||Email, phone||Email, phone||Email, phone, live chat||Email, phone, live chat||Email, phone|
|Cat DNA Test Option|
Although the following tests didn’t make our top three this time around, you may want to consider other popular options.
DNA My Dog’s Essential Breed ID Test is an affordable option for an at-home canine DNA assessment. Although you get a report on your dog’s dominant breeds and any breed-related health concerns and personality traits, DNA My Dog is mediocre compared to the breed and trait information you get with our top picks.
DNA My Dog also offers a Premium Breed ID Test, which covers everything in its essential test plus a couple of interesting features. This dog DNA test determines the biological age of your pup by measuring the length of your dog’s telomeres, the protective caps at the end of each chromosome that tend to shorten with age. This can provide insight into the predicted longevity and health of a dog. It also determines the extent of your dog’s wolf and coyote DNA.
|Affordably priced||Results aren’t as thorough as our top 2 picks|
|Tests for 350 breeds, types, and varieties||Several customer complaints about accuracy|
|Free replacement swab if damaged or lost|
|Discover your dog’s biological age (premium test)|
|Get results in 2-3 weeks|
|Charitable shelter program donates funds to U.S. and Canadian shelters|
- Essential Breed ID Test –
- Premium Breed ID Test –
Dognomics Dog DNA Test
Update (September 2023)
Clinomics USA Inc., launched the Dognomics Dog DNA Test in June 2022, and based on the parent company’s strong scientific reputation, we anticipate that this at-home kit will become one of the leading dog DNA tests in the U.S. market. Looking at 200,000 genetic health markers, this test screens for 237 health conditions, more than any other test, and 130 breeds.
We didn’t include Dognomics in our top three picks because it’s so new we can’t get a good enough gauge from customers about their turnaround times, customer service, etc. Also, the breed database isn’t nearly as large as our top picks. So, you’re not going to get accurate results about your dog’s breed makeup with this test. However, this could be an excellent option if you’re primarily looking for health-related results.
The Dognomics test was developed by the South Korean company Clinomics Inc., which developed and sells human DNA tests in Asia. All testing will be conducted in their laboratory in San Diego, CA.
|Genetic mutation testing for 237 canine health conditions||Only 130 breeds in their database|
|Identifies 200,000 genetic markers, twice as much genetic information as most other companies||Customer service only via email|
|Get results in 2 weeks||We couldn’t find customer feedback because the test is so new|
|Clinomics scientific team performed the world’s first whole genome sequencing on many mammals|
|Environmentally friendly packaging|
EasyDNA Dog Breed Identification Test
EasyDNA’s Dog Breed Identification Test checks for 1,800 genetic markers with access to a database of more than 350 breeds, types, and varieties of dogs. It also traces your pup’s canine ancestry back three generations. Results give you a percentage breakdown of each breed that makes up your pup.
You get a full analysis of the dominant and secondary breeds found in your furry friend, including each breed’s traits, behavior, and history. Also, your results include a predicted weight profile and proof of breed paper which may be useful for breeders.
EasyDNA also offers an Inherited Disease and Trait Test (priced per condition they test for) and a Parentage Test to determine if your dog is purebred. Newer test offerings include the PetGen Canine DNA Test for breed ID (unknown breed database) and 130+ mutation screenings and the DogCheck 4.0 Genetic Disease Test. DogCheck 4.0 screens for 350 genetic diseases and physical traits.
|Screens for 350 breeds, types, and varieties||More expensive than Wisdom Panel’s basic 350 breed test (but cheaper than Embark’s)|
|Traces canine ancestry back 3 generations|
|Get results in 3 weeks|
|Discounts for multiple tests|
|Company supports many charitable organizations|
- EasyDNA’s Breed Identification Test (350 breeds): $104
- DogCheck 4.0 Genetic Disease Test (350 diseases & traits):1 $169
- PetGen Canine DNA Test (unknown breed database & 130+ diseases): $159
- EasyDNA’s Dog Inherited Disease & Trait Test: $69 per condition
- EasyDNA’s Canine Genetic Age Test (includes breed identification): starts at $79
- EasyDNA’s Premium Dog Testing Package (includes three tests: Breed ID, Genetic Age, and Dog Allergy Test): $195
- EasyDNA’s Dog Parentage Test: $169
- EasyDNA’s Dog Parentage Test without Mother: $269
- EasyDNA’s CatCheck (Feline) Genetic Disease Test: $150
- EasyDNA’s Human Ancestry Tests: $169-$229
Looking for an EasyDNA promo code? Click here for the best deal we could find.
Orivet Dog DNA Tests Review
Orivet offers the Geno Pet DNA test for mixed-breed identification and the Geno Pet+ test for genetic health screening, traits, and breed identification. Each dog DNA test has a helpful personalized life plan you can share with your vet. While the Geno Pet+ test is a bit less expensive than Wisdom Panel’s breed+health test and much less than Embark’s similar test, Orivet’s genetic testing isn’t nearly as broad or advanced as the top two companies. Orivet also doesn’t include ancestry screening or a relative finder.
Orivet has also introduced Purebred Dog DNA tests for 10 different breeds. Orivet currently screens for 250 health and trait tests in their Geno Pet+ test, but these purebred kits only test for genetic conditions and traits that are specific to your dog’s breed. However, breeders can use this test to provide proof of a dog’s lineage.
You can see a list of the health conditions and traits in each purebred test on their website and the Amazon product page. Breeds include Australian Shepherds, Miniature Australian Shepherds, Beagles, Border Collies, French Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Goldendoodles, Labrador Retrievers, and Labradoodles.
|Breed Test: 350 recognized and developing breeds in their database||Results don’t contain as much information as our top 2 picks|
|Health Test: Genetic mutation testing for over 200 canine health risks and over 40 physical traits||Some customers said it took a long time to get results|
|Health risks classified based on likelihood and impact|
|Gives you adult weight prediction|
|Results are emailed within 2-3 weeks|
|100% satisfaction guarantee|
- Geno Pet+ (breed, health & trait screening) –
- Geno Pet (breed ID) –
- Purebred Dog Full Breed Profile (health) –
Orivet is often sold for less than MSRP on Amazon.
Paw Print Genetics is an excellent choice for breeders or people with purebred dogs who want to test for breed-specific diseases. You can order a single dog DNA test or a panel of tests to assess your dog’s risk of developing or passing on the disease(s). Their website allows you to search by breed, disease/trait, or symptom.
They also offer parentage tests and a DNA profiling test you can use to ID your dog if he gets lost or stolen. Paw Print Genetics has a very limited number of mixed-breed tests, and they don’t provide breed identification. Still, breeders give this service two enthusiastic thumbs up for accurate and speedy results as well as fantastic customer service.
|Analyzes each mutation with two independent methods to provide you the highest accuracy||Can get expensive if testing for multiple diseases (but they offer discounts)|
|Offers over 255 genetic mutation tests for health conditions||No breed identification tests|
|Genetic counseling available, and excellent customer support||Very limited mixed breed tests|
|Includes Pedigree Report and Genetic Health Certificate|
|Partners with many dog clubs and associations|
|Results available in two weeks|
- Starts at $55 for one disease test with discounts for each additional test disease ordered
- Starts at $55 for one coat color/trait test with discounts for each additional coat color/trait test ordered
- DNA Profiling Test: $49
- Parentage Test (puppy, dam, or sire): $30
- Clear by Parentage Test: $19
- View all options
If you’d rather have your veterinarian conduct a dog DNA test, you can check with your vet’s office to see if they offer the Royal Canin DNA test. With this test, your vet draws a small amount of blood and mails the sample to the lab, where they analyze your dog’s DNA. They determine your dog’s breed (out of 250 breeds) and do a health screening for more than 130 genetic mutations, including MDR1 for drug sensitivity. Once your vet receives the results in two to three weeks, you can meet to discuss a health and wellness plan for your pup.
We don’t have any information about whether this test is better than what you can do at home. We’ve read several comparisons that suggest that you will get a higher level of detail from our top at-home DNA pick than you will from the Royal Canin DNA test. Plus, it will likely require you to pay for a vet office visit and whatever the cost is for the test.
A Word Of Caution
We want to advise you that whatever health results you receive in your dog’s DNA test, you should take them with a grain of salt. Some pet parents make life-and-death decisions based on what could be overstated or misleading health indicators. Keep in mind that the science behind these tests is still in very early stages.
Just because your dog has a genetic mutation doesn’t mean your dog will develop a disease. Many factors influence whether a genetic mutation will be expressed (or turned on) during a dog’s lifetime. That’s why it’s extremely important to speak with your veterinarian about your dog’s DNA results. The vet who has examined your dog in person knows more about your pet’s health than a DNA test taken by mail.
We also encourage you to discuss any health concerns raised by test results with the DNA company for clarification. The top companies have geneticists and vets on staff who can help and likely set your mind at ease about the actual risks for your pet.
Finding out your dog’s breed can lead to you learning about any disease predispositions, potentially causing some anxiety. You know what you’re capable of handling better than we do, but this is something you’ll want to consider.
In some areas or housing situations, you may have restrictions on certain breed ownership. If you conduct a DNA test on your dog and that breed is in your dog, you may be in a difficult situation if you opt to share your dog’s breed mix with a landlord. This could lead to you being unable to buy or rent a home in the area or needing to relocate. Honest sharing of DNA details could even increase your homeowner’s insurance in some situations.
There’s also a slight chance of false information. Whether the DNA sample wasn’t the best or there was a mix-up in the lab, it’s unlikely but possible to obtain inaccurate information that could lead you to adjust your dog’s lifestyle unnecessarily.
If your dog’s DNA results show that your furry friend is at a higher risk of developing one or more health conditions, you may want to be proactive and purchase pet insurance to help you manage your finances in case of illness. Pet insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, so it’s important to get a policy before significant health issues arise. Our pet insurance comparison article tells you which plans and policies offer the most extensive coverage, which options are the best value, and much more.Tagged With: Comparison, DNA, Reviewed By Dr. Racine, DVM