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Professional Reviews
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Reviews Guidelines
by Katy Willis

6 Best Dog DNA Tests in 2022 - Decode Your Dog's DNA

6 Best Dog DNA Tests in 2022 - Decode Your Dog's DNA

There are a lot of companies claiming to have the best dog DNA test, but they’re not all reliable. Whether you’re curious about your dog’s breed profile or concerned about possible health markers, you don’t want to risk a DNA test that doesn’t provide accurate results.

To help you decide which test is the best for your pet, I spent several weeks reviewing and testing some of the most popular DNA tests for dogs.

In addition to accurate results, I also considered how easy they were to use, how long it took to get answers, and how comprehensive the results were.

In the end, I found only a handful of tests I’d recommend. My favorite is Embark because it offered the most precise results, but you won’t go wrong with any of the tests that made the list.

Short on time? Here are the best DNA tests for dogs

  • Embark – Most accurate dog DNA test for determining breed and the possibility for developing certain medical conditions
  • Wisdom Panel – Affordable dog DNA testing that includes breed ID and common health concerns in its basic package
  • Orivet – Includes a LifePlan analysis to help you stay on top of routine care and medical testing as your dog ages
  • Plus 3 more dog DNA testsSee how each test comparesFAQs

UNLOCK THE SECRETS OF YOUR DOG’S DNA WITH EMBARK

What We Look for in the Best Dog DNA Tests

There are lots of at-home dog DNA tests available, but we want you to receive only the best results. To determine which tests were best, we looked for:

  • Accuracy: A dog DNA test is no good if it doesn’t offer highly accurate results that you can trust.
  • Ease of use: Dogs don’t usually make great patients, so these tests need to be quick, easy, and painless to ensure you can get a good DNA sample.
  • Comprehensive screening: If you’re concerned about health conditions or intolerances, you deserve as much information as possible.
  • Fast results: No one wants to wait for answers, so these tests offer a fast turnaround.
  • Fair Value: While each dog DNA test offers different information, you can be sure you’re receiving your money’s worth.

Detailed Look at the Tests Offered

1. Embark – Best Dog DNA Test Kit for Determining Breed

  • Compares your dog’s DNA against 350+ breeds and 200,000+ genetic markers
  • Review your pet’s family tree and find DNA-matched relatives
  • Optional health test screens for 190+ genetic risks
  • Test your pup with a simple cheek swab — no blood draw is necessary
  • Turnaround time is 3 to 5 weeks

Embark easily deserves the title of best dog DNA test because its breed database and biomarker screening are so comprehensive, it can pinpoint the exact makeup of your furry friend — including breeds that may contribute to as little as 5% of your dog’s unique form. In addition to a breakdown of each breed, you’ll also have access to a family tree diagram that shows you the breeds of your pet’s ancestors, all the way back to great grandparents.

With your paid test, Embark includes its Canine Relative Finder service at no additional cost. This is a first-of-its-kind feature that you won’t find anywhere else, so it’s quite exciting. It analyzes the results of other Embark customers to find dogs that share your pet’s DNA. You can communicate with pet parents via the site’s chat feature, and if you live close to a pet relative, you can even reach out to set up a puppy playdate.

If you’re concerned about your pet’s wellbeing, you can upgrade to Embark’s Breed + Health test. With this optional upgrade, you’ll get access to info about your dog’s predisposition to over 190 health risks, including glaucoma, hypothyroidism, and muscular dystrophy.

In my opinion, it’s well worth the extra cost to invest in the health test — its findings can help you avoid misdiagnosis and prepare for your dog’s future care.

Also included with the Breed + Health test is a trait decoder service. This is a must-have if you’re the proud parent of a new puppy because you’ll learn valuable information about genes that affect the look and size of your pup. With this info, you’ll have a clearer picture of how big your pup will get and what its coat will be like.

One of my favorite things about Embark’s DNA tests is that you only need a quick cheek swab to gather a sample, so don’t worry about taking your dog in for testing, or worse, trying to collect blood yourself.

The turnaround time for Embark dog DNA tests is 3 to 5 weeks, which is about average compared to other testing services.

Get to Know Your Dog With Embark!

2. Wisdom Panel – Best Value for Breed and Health Info

  • 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 is another top contender for best DNA dog test as it also has an extensive database that covers over 350 breeds, from Affenpinscher to Yorkshire Terrier. As some dogs can be made up of a dozen breeds or more, Wisdom Panel presents its findings by breaking up your dog’s ancestry by type and then percentage — I really liked how easy it was to review this info.

You’ll also see a snapshot of your dog’s family tree information that shows the breed makeup of your pet’s parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. This is an exciting way to visualize where your pup came from.

Also included with the basic Essentials test is a breakdown of the genes responsible for your dog’s traits, including coat type, color, and body type, and info about your pet’s likelihood of developing certain medical complications. You have to pay for this insight with other tests, so it was very nice to see it included with this basic test. You’ll even receive info about your pet’s ideal weight range (based on 7 genetic markers) so you can keep an eye on its diet.

If you want an even closer look at your dog’s health markers, you’ll need to upgrade to Wisdom Panel’s Premium test. With this, you’ll get the results of over 180 additional health tests so you can learn what to look out for in the future. As an added bonus, you’ll receive a call from a licensed veterinarian should your dog test positive for a notable health condition — they’ll talk to you about what the result means and what you should do next.

Testing your pet for a Wisdom Panel dog DNA test is a little more complicated because you need to use two swabs for two samples rather than one, but more swabs means better chances at snagging a good DNA sample. It only takes 2 to 3 weeks to receive your pet’s results, which is a bit faster than other services.

Learn About Your Dog's Genetic Makeup With Wisdom Panel

3. Orivet – Includes Detailed LifePlan for Monitoring Your Dog

  • 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

Orivet offers three screening options: a breed identification kit for those who don’t know their dog’s genetic makeup, a health test for those who already know their dog’s breed, and a combination breed and health test to cover all bases.

The company’s breed test compares your dog’s DNA info against a database of over 350 breeds to determine its unique makeup. You’ll receive a genetic analysis certificate that shows the percentage breakdown of your dog’s makeup, information about each of the breeds, and an ancestry report detailing your pet’s lineage through its great-grandparents.

With the breed test, you’ll also receive a LifePlan analysis that details important milestones you should be aware of as your dog ages, such as disease screening and routine care. Note that these alerts are only based on breed info as this test doesn’t include any genetic health testing.

If you already know your dog’s breed and want more customized information about its well-being (now and in the future), opt for the health screening kit. It tests for over 200 diseases and conditions, but it doesn’t provide any information about breed. When you receive your report, you’ll find it broken up by those diseases for which your dog has tested clear, those for which he’s a carrier, and those for which he’s at risk of developing.

For the most comprehensive assessment of your pet’s breed and health, choose the GenoPet 5.0 test. It offers everything above, including the LifePlan analysis, which will be updated with more customized information based on your dog’s genetic results.

What pleased me most about Orivet’s dog DNA tests is the turnaround time: You can have your results in as little as 10 days. As someone who hates waiting, I thought this was impressive.

Get Started With Orivet!

4. DNA My Dog – Best Dog DNA Test for Revealing Genetic Age

  • Analyzes telomere shortening to determine your dog’s genetic age
  • Offers options for wolf hybrids and recently deceased pets
  • Results take about 2 weeks

While DNA My Dog offers dog DNA tests to determine breed, its database is much smaller than its competitors — it contains only around 100 breeds. This includes the most popular breeds, but if you’re looking for a comprehensive breakdown, you won’t find it here. I also found the presentation of the breed results to be lacking and unnecessarily confusing. Rather than a report detailing the specific percentages of each breed, you’ll receive a certificate with levels corresponding to percentage ranges.

Another thing you won’t find at DNA My Dog is health testing. Instead, the company offers its NEXTGEN test kit. In addition to breed information, it analyzes the shortening of your dog’s telomeres to determine its genetic (or biological) age. Genetic age differs from chronological age (age in years) because it gives insight into how exactly your dog is aging: Longer telomeres indicate a biologically “younger” dog, while shorter telomeres correspond with a genetically “older” dog. While the study of telomere shortening isn’t an exact science, these results can give you an idea of how your dog is aging and its expected lifespan.

Two other unique offerings from DNA My Dog include its hybrid test that lets you know if your pet has wolf or coyote in its background and its breed testing for deceased animals. The latter extracts DNA from objects your pet previously had in its mouth, including toys, bones, and bedding, to provide info about its ancestry. Designed for pet parents who are curious about an animal’s lineage after it has passed, this test will not reveal a pet’s cause of death or any health conditions — it only provides info about its breed makeup.

Choose a DNA My Dog Kit Today!

5. 5Strands – Best for Uncovering Pet Intolerances

  • 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

5Strands offers several dog DNA testing options, but none of its panels offer information about your pet’s breed or lineage. Instead, the company focuses on your dog’s health, specifically intolerances that may be causing discomforts like itching or poor digestion.

The Environmental Intolerance test checks for adverse reactions against 100 common items that your pet may come into contact with, including bugs, fabrics, and grasses.

The Food Intolerance database is filled with over 250 ingredients often found in pet food. Consider this analysis if your dog scratches incessantly, bites its paws, is losing hair, or often has an upset stomach. Your test results will show how much trigger foods affect your pet, on a scale from 1 to 3, so you can start an elimination diet.

The Food and Treat Intolerance checks for issues against an additional 100 common treats or ingredients you might find in treats.

The Nutrition Test is ideal if you’re working on your pet’s diet. It shows which nutrients your dog isn’t getting enough of or isn’t absorbing properly. Note that this test won’t show actual nutrient measurements, just whether your pet is receiving enough.

The Metals and Minerals test can be a useful tool for parents of pets that are displaying symptoms that can’t be attributed to food or environmental intolerances. While it doesn’t provide exact measurements, it will tell you those metals and minerals in your dog’s system that are high or not being properly eliminated.

5Strands’ Standard Package is a combination of its environmental and food tests, and its Deluxe Package offers the most comprehensive review of your pet’s DNA, including the environmental, food, nutrition, and metals and minerals tests.

Find Out Your Dog's Intolerances With 5Strands!

6. HomeDNA – Insightful Breed and Health Tests

  • Dog breed and health tests in partnerships with Orivet
  • Only requires a simple cheek swab
  • Results ready in about 3 weeks

HomeDNA has partnered with Orivet to offer a Mixed Breed Identification kit and Health Screen kit. While you could go directly to Orivet to order similar tests, you may choose to stick with HomeDNA if you’ve already purchased the people-version of its other DNA tests.

The Mixed Breed Identification kit compares your pet’s genetic markers against a database of 350+ breeds to determine your pup’s makeup. You’ll receive an attractive certificate showing your pet’s pedigree with breed percentages and the breed of its parents.

The Health Screen kit helps you become a better pet parent by offering information about your dog’s biological predisposition to over 100 diseases. Use the info in this analysis for help diagnosing a current issue or preparing for one that may come later in life.

With both tests, you’ll also receive a LifePlan analysis, a detailed timeline to help you prepare for monitoring and testing your pet as he gets older. If you purchase the breed test, your LifePlan review will contain information specific to your pet’s particular breed(s). If you purchase a health test, your LifePlan will incorporate information gleaned from your pet’s genetic markers.

No matter which test you order, all you have to provide is a saliva sample for results, and you can expect your report within 3 weeks.

Pick Your Dog's Test From HomeDNA!

What’s In the Fine Print?

When shopping for dog DNA tests, you have to be aware of hidden fees that can drive up the cost of your kit. The most common fees you’ll see are shipping costs, various add-ons at checkout, and ongoing subscription costs.

With at-home dog DNA tests, you have to think about shipping costs two ways — shipping to you and return shipping to the company. Almost all the DNA tests on this list offer free shipping to your home. The only exception is 5Strands, and you can expect to pay about $5 for first-class shipping.

When it comes to return shipping to send back your sample, I’m happy to say that all the companies I’ve reviewed include the cost of postage in the purchase price. In all cases, you’ll receive a free prepaid label for easy mailing.

When you arrive at the checkout screen for some dog DNA test companies, you may notice offers for additional testing, supplements, and other doggy merchandise. But you won’t see that with the DNA tests on this list — none of them pressure you to buy anything else.

Another tactic some companies use to squeeze more money out of you is ongoing subscription costs, usually to maintain access to your test results or other features. None of the companies I’ve reviewed here do this; once you purchase a test, you unlock permanent access to your results, and in the case of Embark, access to its relative finder.

Uncover Your Dog's Secrets With Embark!

How Accurate is Dog DNA Testing?

The accuracy of at-home dog DNA tests is very good, and as more pet parents seek tests and contribute their dogs’ data, these results will get even better. Right now, you can expect accuracy rates of 80% or more.

The most accurate dog DNA test on this list is Embark, which boasts up to 99.99% precision for its health tests and points towards the 200,000 genetic markers it checks to determine breed — for comparison, the next best dog DNA test kit is Wisdom Panel, and it only checks 1,800 markers.

Keep in mind that no testing facility can guarantee 100% accuracy as there are many factors that can affect its tests. The dog DNA tests on this list offer the best results, so the margin of error is small.

The biggest factor that affects accuracy is the quality of your DNA sample. It’s easy to take saliva samples from humans because they understand what’s happening and can stay still. The same can’t be said for dogs. If you don’t follow the sample collection instructions perfectly — such as not swabbing long enough or doing so too soon after your dog’s eaten — it may be harder to extract enough DNA.

To ensure the best possible results, try practicing saliva collection with your dog before doing it for real. Use cotton swabs during your test runs, and reward your pup with plenty of treats after. When it comes time to use the real DNA swab, your dog will be eager to please.

Get Started With Embark Today!

What Will the Results From a Dog DNA Test Tell Me?

A dog DNA test can unlock the secrets of your furry friend’s pedigree and what the future may hold for him. It can tell you about your dog’s:

  • breed makeup and ancestry, often to great grandparents
  • biomarkers that determine coat color, coat type, body shape, and more
  • likelihood of developing health concerns, such as cardiomyopathy or glaucoma
  • carrier status for certain genetic conditions
  • biological age and expected lifespan
  • nutritional needs, vitamin deficiencies, and necessary routine care
  • intolerances to foods, its environment, and other things it may come in contact with

It’s important to remember that DNA tests for dogs are not designed to diagnose health conditions. Instead, they tell you about your dog’s predisposition to a health concern based on its genes. If your pet’s test comes back indicating that he’s prone to a particular condition, you need to consult with your veterinarian to determine what steps to take next, including possible treatment.

How Much Does a Dog DNA Test Cost?

If you’re only interested in learning about your dog’s breed and the breed-related health concerns it may face, you’ll find that DNA My Dog is the cheapest test available. Priced at just under $70, the test offers accurate results, but they won’t be as detailed because its breed database is so small.

Orivet’s breed identification kit is also affordable, and while slightly more expensive at around $100, it also includes its LifePlan analysis that prepares you for the health and medical milestones your pet may encounter. You can purchase the same breed ID kit at HomeDNA for a similar price — you might consider shopping here if you already have an account for its human-version DNA tests.

Wisdom Panel’s Essential DNA kit costs about $100, but it offers so much more value than the budget options above. In addition to comprehensive info about your pet’s breed and ancestry, you’ll also get screening results for over 25 health conditions. Opt for its Premium kit for the results of over 180 additional health screenings.

Of all the dog DNA tests I researched, I found that Embark’s Breed + Health kit offers the greatest value. Compared to other tests, it’s pricey at about $200, but it offers the most accurate results and more information than any other test. It even gives you free access to its Relative Finder so you can find your dog’s long-lost siblings.

If it’s not your dog’s breed that you’re interested in, but rather reasons for why it’s scratching, licking, or having digestion issues, the intolerance tests at 5Strands will provide solid answers. The company offers an array of panels for discovering food and environmental triggers that can cause your pet discomfort.

Which Dog DNA Test is the Best?

Embark offers the best DNA test for dogs. It’s the most accurate at determining breed because it checks over 200,000 biomarkers, and it offers lots of information about your dog’s ancestry and living relatives, even if you purchase its basic kit. If you upgrade to include health testing, you’ll receive in-depth information about health conditions your dog may be at risk of developing.

If you’re on a budget but would still like to learn about your dog’s breed and possible health concerns, you’ll find that Wisdom Panel’s basic Essentials kit offers good value. While its Premium kit offers more comprehensive testing, the Essential kit still screens for over 25 possible health concerns.

5Strands’ intolerance tests can help you determine what’s ailing your pup. You won’t receive any information about your dog’s breed or ancestry, but you will get detailed information about your pet’s sensitivity to over 400 food and environmental items so you can address biting, scratching, and other signs of discomfort.

Dog DNA Test Comparison

DNA Testing Company Breed Identification Health Risks Free Shipping Time to Results Starting Price
Embark 3 to 5 weeks $129.00
Wisdom Panel 2 to 3 weeks $99.99
Orivet 10 to 14 days $67.50
DNA My Dog 2 weeks
5Strands 5 to 10 days $144.00
HomeDNA 3 weeks $69.00

Learn Your Dog’s Genetic Secrets

Taking a dog DNA test can be fun because you get to learn about your pup’s unique genetic makeup. But it can also be an important tool for preparing for your dog’s future needs because it can reveal your pet’s chances of developing a disease.

If you’d like to determine your dog’s breed and identify potential health concerns, Embark is my top recommendation. Embark’s accuracy and comprehensive results can’t be beaten, and you’re sure to be pleased with its fast turnaround and fair pricing.

Best Dog DNA Tests in 2022

FAQs

How can I find out what breed my dog is?

A dog DNA test that includes breed identification is the best way to find out your pet’s biological makeup. Best of all, most tests don’t require a blood sample or vet visit — you just need to swab your dog’s mouth for about 30 seconds.

Of all the DNA tests I’ve researched, Embark is my top recommendation because it offers the most accurate results. It reviews over 200,000 biomarkers to provide the most in-depth information about how your dog came to be.

What can dog DNA tests tell you about your dog’s health?

Dog DNA tests can tell you a lot about your dog’s health, including what conditions it may be predisposed to developing and what foods or environmental factors may be causing it discomfort.

Remember that dog DNA tests are not intended to diagnose a health condition. Just because a test shows that your pet may develop a disease, that doesn’t mean your dog is sick or that it will ever be sick. It’s best to use the information from DNA tests to develop action plans with your veterinarian.

Why should you test your dog’s DNA?

If you’ve ever wondered why your dog has floppy ears or whether its piercing eyes come from wolf or coyote in its ancestry, you can gain insight into your pet’s lineage by using a dog DNA test.

Dog DNA tests can also be used to learn about possible diseases or health conditions that your pup may develop. If your furry friend has been plagued by itching or an upset stomach, you can use the intolerance tests from 5Strands to determine what food or environmental factor might be causing discomfort.

Can dog DNA tell age?

Dog DNA tests cannot tell your dog’s chronological age, but some can tell you its biological age — that is, how old your dog seems based on the shortening of its telomeres.

My research shows that the NEXTGEN test kit from DNA My Dog offers the best value and results in determining how old your dog is genetically and how much longer he may live.

Which dog DNA test is better: Embark or Wisdom Panel?

Embark is easily the best dog DNA test kit. It offers the most accurate breed identification because it compares over 200,000 biomarkers against its database of more than 350 breeds.

It also offers comprehensive health screening of over 200 medical conditions so you can learn about what diseases your pet may develop in the future. Best of all, it does all of this for under $200.

About Author
Katy Willis
Katy Willis
Expert DNA & Health Test Researcher

Katy has been researching and writing for more than 15 years. She has a deep understanding of DNA and at-home health testing for humans and pets. She believes in providing genuine, honest information that helps people achieve their goals.

Katy has been researching and writing for more than 15 years. She has a deep understanding of DNA and at-home health testing for humans and pets. She believes in providing genuine, honest information that helps people achieve their goals.