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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 get to understand who your pooch is — and to help you develop a better health plan for his future.
- How Does Dog DNA Testing Work?
- Top 3 Reviews
- Other Tests Reviewed
- What Breed Is My Rescue Dog? (Video)
- Health Benefits From A DNA Test
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, take a simple cheek swab from your dog, place the swab in the provided container and mail it back in a prepaid envelope.
In just a few weeks, you’ll receive a report that includes your dog’s DNA results. Depending on the company, you’ll see the percentage breakdown of your dog’s breeds and risks for developing some hereditary diseases. Some companies also offer parentage testing and purebred and designer dog testing.
We’ve chosen several of the best DNA dog tests on the market and given you detailed information about what you can learn from each one. All of our DNA dog test reviews are at-home cheek-swab tests, but each test differs in the type of results you’ll receive.
The Embark Dog DNA Test takes our top spot as the best DNA test for dogs. Embark DNA is a comprehensive dog DNA test that screens for breed identification, traits, ancestry and genetic disease risk (for 160 known canine genetic health problems).
Your test results even include a detailed vet report to help you and your veterinarian plan the best care for your dog. Embark partners with scientists from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine to conduct ongoing research into dog genetic testing — and you have the option to include your dog’s DNA data in their research.
What’s more, Embark contributes funding and genetic testing to animal shelters in the U.S. and Nepal! The downside? Embark’s dog DNA test cost is significantly higher than breed-only DNA tests.
Embark is offering Canine Journal readers $20 off with code: PAL20 now through 12/31/18. Just use this link to get started.
Wisdom Panel Health comes in a very close second. Wisdom Panel Health is similar to Embark in that it tests for breed identification, traits, ancestry and genetic disease risk.
Wisdom Panel covers more than 250 breeds, types and varieties, including 99% of AKC-recognized breeds (more than Embark), but they don’t test for quite as many disease risks as Embark. This company also offers a less expensive Wisdom Panel 4.0 breed identifier test.
- Wisdom Panel Health (Breed & Disease Detection): $149.99
- Wisdom Panel 4.0 Canine Breed Detection: $99.97
Wisdom Panel is often offered at a discount from the MSRP price on Amazon.
HomeDNA offers two dog DNA tests, one for mixed-breed identification and the other for health screening. Each $125 test comes with a personalized life plan that you can share with your vet.
Because of the cost of each test, it makes the most sense to choose one of the two (otherwise we suggest Embark for the all-in-one test). If you only want health screening, however, HomeDNA’s DNA Test Kit Health Screen is a better value than Embark or Wisdom Panel.
If you’re only looking for breed information, you should consider HomeDNA’s test. Although pricier than DNA My Dog, it is far more accurate due to their huge database of recognized and developing breeds.
- $125 for Mixed-Breed Dog Identification DNA Test and Life Plan
- $125 for Dog DNA Test Kit Health Screen with Life Plan
Although the following tests didn’t make our top three list, they’re popular options you may want to consider.
The DNA My Dog breed identification test just doesn’t have the bark for your buck to make our top three. Although you get a report on your dog’s dominant breeds, personality traits and health concerns (based on breed only), DNA My Dog is mediocre compared the breed and trait information you’ll get with our top picks.
DNA My Dog has far fewer breeds in its database, meaning you’re not going to get the level of accuracy you would with Embark, Wisdom Panel or HomeDNA’s Orivet tests. And many Amazon reviewers agree that their test lacks accuracy. But if you’re on a budget, DNA My Dog is the least expensive alternative.
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 test or a panel of tests to assess the risk of your dog developing or passing on the diseases. 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 in the event he gets lost or stolen. Paw Print Genetics has a very limited number of mixed breed tests, and they don’t do breed identification.
- Starts at $80 for 1 disease test with discounts for each additional test disease ordered
- Starts at $80 for 1 coat color/trait test with discounts for each additional coat color/trait test ordered
- $49 Paw Print DNA Profiling test
- $30 Paw Print Parentage test (puppy, dam or sire)
- $19 Paw Print Clear by Parentage test
- View all options
PetConfirm is one of many health-related testing kits produced by Confirm BioSciences (most are for humans). The PetConfirm dog DNA test is nearly identical to the DNA My Dog test regarding the company’s breed database and the results you’ll receive.
Like DNA My Dog, PetConfirm gives you a breed percentage report, a custom breed analysis certificate and an outline of the generic health concerns and personality traits for every breed found in your dog’s genetic profile.
- Must contact Confirm Biosciences for pricing
Unless you’ve gone through AKC’s Rescue Network, where you can find purebred rescue pups, you likely don’t know what your rescue dog is. That’s where a dog DNA test comes in handy! Check out the following video where some rescue dog parents learn about their pup’s breeds.
Learn more about how Dog DNA Tests work in this infographic:
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Knowing your dog’s breed mix can help you and your vet devise a better health plan for your dog. If you get genetic mutation testing, you’ll know your dog has a genetic predisposition for certain diseases he could develop in the future.
But even knowing what breeds are in his mix can inform you about genetic health concerns associated with each breed. Then you’ll know to look for early warning signs, and you can take precautionary measures before it’s too late.
If you are interested in a DNA test for yourself, checkout our best DNA ancestry test article on our sister site, Exploring Life’s Mysteries.
What surprises did you find after having your pup do a dog DNA test?