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Updated on
December 5, 2023 by Kristina Perunicic

4 Best Dog DNA Tests for Mixed Breeds in 2023

If you’ve welcomed a mixed-breed dog into your home, you might be curious about their ancestry, potential health concerns, and how to provide the best care tailored to their unique makeup. Frustrations often arise from not knowing their exact breed mix or how to address their individual needs effectively. That’s where a reliable dog DNA test kit comes into play, offering answers and peace of mind.

Through extensive testing of various DNA kits on the market, I have assessed them on their accuracy, breed database size, health screening detail, and ease of use. From this rigorous examination, I have distilled a list of the top-performing DNA kits especially suited for mixed-breed dogs.

Among the options, Embark is the DNA test kit I recommend. Its extensive breed database accurately pinpoints your dog’s heritage, while the detailed health screening empowers you with the knowledge to address specific health issues, making it an indispensable tool for understanding and caring for your mixed-breed dog.

Get Started With Embark

Short on time? Here are the best dog DNA kits for mixed breeds: 

  1. Embark – Best overall DNA test for mixed breed dogs; screens for over 350 breeds and 200+ health conditions.
  2. 5Strands – Best for discovering food intolerances and health implications of your dog’s genes. 
  3. Orivet – Best for its life plan that can tell you all about your dog’s milestones and health screening, as well as identifying its breed. 
  4. Wisdom Panel – Best for determining your dog’s breed composition, as well as understanding how big it’ll grow. 

 See how each test compares

Our Best Dog DNA Test Kits for Mixed Breeds  Reviewed

1. Embark – Best Overall Dog DNA Test for Mixed Breeds

  • Compares your dog’s DNA against 350+ breeds and 230,000+ genetic markers
  • Review your pet’s family tree and find DNA-matched relatives
  • Optional health test screens for 250+ genetic risks
  • Test your pup with a simple cheek swab — no blood draw is necessary
  • Turnaround time is 3 to 5 weeks

Embark offers comprehensive DNA testing tailored for mixed-breed dogs, giving you a detailed breakdown of your pet’s ancestry. It examines over 350 breeds, types, and varieties, allowing you to understand the specific breed mix within your mixed-breed dog. By using a simple cheek swab, Embark can identify your dog’s genetic makeup, revealing breed contributions down to 5% of the total breed makeup, and ensuring precise results.

The test goes beyond breed identification, offering insights into your mixed breed dog’s potential health risks by screening for over 250 genetic health conditions. It helps you take proactive steps in managing your dog’s health. The results are actionable, as they provide information on conditions that your dog might be predisposed to, which you can share with your veterinarian.

Embark is particularly adept at tracing your mixed breed’s lineage, offering a family tree that goes back to great-grandparents. It shows the journey of your dog’s DNA through generations, helping you understand how different breeds influence your dog’s traits and behaviors. This feature helps in understanding the unique blend that makes up your mixed breed.

The service includes a relative finder, connecting you with other dogs that share DNA with yours. It’s not just informative but can be a fun way to find and possibly meet your dog’s relatives. This social aspect is unique to Embark and adds an interactive dimension to the experience of understanding your mixed breed’s DNA.

Get to Know Your Dog With Embark!

2. 5Strands – Best For Discovering Food Intolerances and Health Conditions of Mixed Breeds

  • Learn about your pet’s intolerances to everyday items, from foods to grasses
  • Results from hair samples — no blood or saliva needed
  • Turnaround time of as little as 5 days

When you use 5Strands to test your mixed-breed dog, you receive a detailed analysis of potential food intolerances. It identifies specific food items that may not agree with your dog’s unique genetic makeup, helping you tailor their diet for optimal health. This means you can pinpoint and eliminate foods that cause discomfort or allergic reactions, which is crucial for mixed breeds that may inherit a variety of sensitivities.

5Strands also provides insights into environmental factors that could affect your mixed-breed dog’s well-being. It detects sensitivities to various substances your dog may encounter, from household cleaners to outdoor allergens. By understanding what environmental elements may cause your dog distress, you can create a safer, more comfortable living space for them.

In addition to food and environmental intolerances, it offers information on the nutritional needs specific to your mixed breed dog. 5Strands evaluates your dog’s biological responses to different nutrients, helping you understand which vitamins and minerals are necessary for their health. This feature supports the maintenance of your dog’s well-being by informing your choices about supplements and diet.

Lastly, it aids in early detection of health conditions that are common in mixed breed dogs. By analyzing your dog’s DNA, 5Strands can alert you to genetic predispositions to certain diseases, allowing for prompt and proactive management. Early intervention can lead to better health outcomes and potentially a longer, happier life for your mixed breed companion.

Find Out Your Dog's Intolerances With 5Strands!

3. Orivet – Best for Identifying Breeds and Following Growth Milestones

  • Learn about your dog’s breed, possible health concerns, or both
  • All kits come with a LifePlan analysis with alerts as your pet ages
  • Results available in as little as 10 days

When you test your mixed breed dog with Orivet, you receive a comprehensive genetic analysis. It breaks down your pet’s breed composition by percentage, tracing its lineage back to great-grandparents. This feature is essential for understanding the unique blend of breeds that contribute to your dog’s behaviors and appearance.

Orivet’s testing process is straightforward. After collecting a DNA sample from your dog with the provided kit, you send it back for analysis. Orivet then compares your dog’s genetic markers to its extensive breed database, providing a detailed breed breakdown.

Orivet’s results can help you tailor care for your mixed-breed dog. By understanding the specific breeds within your dog, you can better cater to its dietary needs, exercise requirements, and potential health risks that may be breed-specific.

In addition to breed identification, Orivet maps out key growth milestones tailored to your dog’s unique breed mix. This allows you to monitor its development accurately and make informed decisions about training, nutrition, and health care throughout its life stages.

Get Started With Orivet!

4. Wisdom Panel – Unveiling Ancestry for Mixed Breeds

  • Compares your dog’s DNA against its database of over 350 breeds
  • Learn about the traits that determine coat type, color, weight, and more
  • Basic test checks for predisposition to 25 medical conditions
  • Upgraded test looks at up to 180+ additional health risks
  • Results available in 2 to 3 weeks

Wisdom Panel uses advanced genetic testing to identify the breeds within a mixed-breed dog. When you submit a DNA sample, it analyzes over 350 breeds, types, and varieties. It gives you a detailed breed breakdown that goes back three generations, allowing you to understand your dog’s heritage and the unique combination that defines them.

The process of pinpointing the genetic markers unique to different breeds is meticulous. Wisdom Panel compares your dog’s DNA with their extensive database, matching it to known breed profiles. This comparison reveals the percentage of each breed present in your dog’s DNA, giving you insight into their lineage.

Knowing your mixed breed’s genetic makeup is not just about satisfying curiosity; it impacts health care. Wisdom Panel screens for genetic health conditions and traits. It provides you with valuable information about potential health risks and can inform your decisions regarding diet, exercise, and veterinary care.

Apart from breed and health insights, Wisdom Panel can also detect a mixed breed dog’s potential size and weight range. This can help you anticipate how much space your dog might need, how they’ll fit into your living situation, and what kind of exercise regimen will be appropriate as they grow.

Learn About Your Dog's Genetic Makeup With Wisdom Panel

Tips On Choosing The Best Dog DNA Test Kit for Mixed Breed Dogs

When selecting a dog DNA test kit for mixed breeds, several key factors should be considered to ensure that you get the most reliable and useful results for your companion. Here are some tips to guide you through the process:

1. Extensive Breed Database: Choose a test that has a broad and comprehensive breed database. The larger the database, the higher the likelihood that the test can accurately identify the various breeds within your mixed-breed dog.

2. Health Screening Capabilities: Look for a kit that includes a thorough health screening. This should cover genetic disorders and predispositions to certain illnesses that are essential for proactive health care planning.

3. Genetic Markers Analysis: Opt for a test that examines a large number of genetic markers. More markers can lead to more precise results in determining your dog’s ancestry and identifying potential health issues.

4. Customer Support and Resources: It’s important that the test comes with strong customer support. The best DNA test kits provide access to geneticists or veterinarians who can help interpret results and give advice on next steps.

5. Turnaround Time: Consider how long it takes to receive results. While faster isn’t always better, a shorter turnaround time can be more convenient, especially if you are eager to learn about your pet’s genetic background.

6. Privacy Policy: Ensure that the company has a clear privacy policy. Your dog’s genetic information should be securely stored, with guarantees that it won’t be shared without your consent.

7. User Reviews and Testimonials: Read reviews and testimonials from other pet owners. Feedback from users who have similar mixed-breed dogs can provide real insight into the accuracy and usefulness of the DNA test.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can make a well-informed decision that provides you with insightful information about your mixed-breed dog’s heritage and health.

Understanding the Genetic Composition of Mixed Breed Dogs

Mixed-breed dogs, commonly known as mutts, are the result of natural breeding between different purebreds or other mixed-breed dogs. They inherit a diverse combination of genes that can contribute to a unique appearance, behavior, and health profile. Unlike purebreds, whose gene pools are relatively limited and predictable, mixed breeds have a genetic variety that can reduce the likelihood of inherited genetic disorders common in purebreds due to the phenomenon known as hybrid vigor. However, they can still carry recessive genes for certain conditions common in their ancestral breeds.

For example, a mixed breed dog with a Cocker Spaniel lineage might carry the PFK (phosphofructokinase deficiency) gene, which can lead to exercise intolerance, while still showing the physical traits of a larger breed it’s mixed with. Knowledge of such genetic predispositions can inform appropriate diet and exercise regimens.

Health Implications in Mixed Breed Dogs

The diverse gene pool in mixed-breed dogs can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can decrease the incidence of breed-specific diseases. On the other, it can make predicting and diagnosing health issues more complex. Mixed breeds can be susceptible to ailments common to the breeds in their lineage. For instance, if a mixed-breed dog has German Shepherd ancestry, it may be at a higher risk for developing hip dysplasia, a condition often screened for by responsible breeders through OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) certification.

Understanding a mixed breed’s genetic makeup can help anticipate and manage conditions like hypothyroidism, to which certain breeds are predisposed. Genetic markers like the TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) levels can be monitored for early signs of this condition.

Behavioral Traits and Training Needs of Mixed Breeds

Mixed breed dogs’ behaviors can also be influenced by their varied genetic backgrounds. While some mixed breeds may exhibit strong herding instincts, others may show a combination of traits like the prey drive of a Greyhound and the protective nature of a Rottweiler. Recognizing these behaviors can help tailor training approaches to each dog’s instinctual predispositions.

For example, a dog with Border Collie genetics might excel in agility training due to a high intelligence and work ethic, whereas a mix with Hound ancestry could require more patience with training due to a predisposition to follow scents independently.

Nutritional Considerations for Mixed Breed Dogs

The dietary needs of mixed breed dogs can be as varied as their genetics. A dog with Labrador Retriever genes, known for their propensity to gain weight, may require a diet with carefully managed caloric intake, while a mix with a high-energy breed like the Australian Shepherd might need food rich in protein to support an active lifestyle.

Understanding specific gene markers such as MC4R can inform whether a dog is likely to have a higher body fat percentage, necessitating a closer look at their diet to prevent obesity.

By appreciating the genetic intricacies of mixed breed dogs, owners can better cater to their companion’s health, behavioral training, and nutritional needs, leading to a happier and healthier life.

Best Dog DNA Test Kits for Mixed Breeds: Comparison Table

DNA Testing Company Breed Identification Health Risks Free Shipping Time to Results Starting Price
Embark 3 to 5 weeks $129.00
5Strands 5 to 10 days $144.00
Orivet 10 to 14 days $67.50
Wisdom Panel 2 to 3 weeks $99.99

Get The Best Dog DNA Test for Mixed Breeds

Mixed-breed dogs carry a unique combination of traits that can influence their health, behavior, and care requirements. A high-quality DNA test kit serves as the key to unlocking this vital information. It allows you to understand their heritage and predispositions, aiding in personalized care.

I’ve found that Embark stands out as the best DNA test kit for mixed breeds. Its comprehensive analysis caters specifically to the intricate genetic makeup of mixed breeds. It offers detailed reports on breed composition, and health risks, and even connects you with relatives of your dog, making it an invaluable tool for your mixed breed’s well-being.

FAQs

Why is a dog DNA test important for mixed breed dogs?

A dog DNA test for mixed breeds can provide essential insights into your dog’s ancestry, which helps in understanding their behavior and personality traits. It also screens for genetic health risks, allowing for proactive healthcare and lifestyle adjustments tailored to your dog’s specific needs.

How accurate are dog DNA tests for mixed breeds?

The accuracy of dog DNA tests for mixed breeds varies by brand, but leading providers like Embark offer a high level of accuracy due to their extensive breed databases and advanced genetic testing technologies. Most accurate tests boast over 95% accuracy in identifying breed composition and potential health conditions.

What kind of information will I receive from a mixed breed dog DNA test?

You’ll receive a detailed report that includes your dog’s breed composition, often broken down by percentages. The results also cover genetic health risks, carrier status for certain diseases, traits, and sometimes even the dog’s family tree, including relatives found through the DNA database.

How do I choose the best DNA test for my mixed breed dog?

Select a DNA test that offers a comprehensive analysis, covering breed identification, health screening, and genetic trait analysis. Look for tests with sizable breed databases and positive customer reviews. Consider tests that provide actionable health insights and connect you with a community of other dogs that share DNA with yours.

Can a dog DNA test tell me how big my mixed breed puppy will get?

Many dog DNA tests include predictions about adult size based on genetic markers. While not an exact science, these predictions can be quite helpful in anticipating how much your mixed breed puppy will grow, assisting you in making long-term preparations for their care.

We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.
About Author
Kristina Perunicic
Kristina Perunicic
Chief Editor

Kristina Perunicic is the Chief Editor at DNA Weekly. She has several years of experience reviewing and writing about genealogy and DNA testing products. In her free time, she likes to read and write for her small book blog.

Kristina Perunicic is the Chief Editor at DNA Weekly. She has several years of experience reviewing and writing about genealogy and DNA testing products. In her free time, she likes to read and write for her small book blog.