Numerous companies boast about having the finest dog DNA test, but not all of them can be trusted. Whether you’re intrigued by your dog’s breed makeup or worried about potential health indicators, relying on a DNA test that offers precise outcomes is crucial.
To aid you in selecting the optimal test for your furry friend, I dedicated several weeks to evaluating and testing some of the most widely used DNA tests for dogs. Beyond accuracy, I also assessed their user-friendliness, turnaround time for results, and the comprehensiveness of the information they provide.
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 test kits for dogs:
- Embark – Most accurate dog DNA test for determining breed and the possibility for developing certain medical conditions
- 5Strands – Great for discovering which food your dog is intolerant to.
- Orivet – Includes a LifePlan analysis to help you stay on top of routine care and medical testing as your dog ages
- Wisdom Panel – Affordable dog DNA testing that includes breed ID and common health concerns in its basic package
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.
Best Dog DNA Test Kits Reviewed
- 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 undeniably earns the distinction of being the top dog DNA test, thanks to its unparalleled breed database and extensive biomarker screening. With remarkable precision, it can reveal the precise genetic composition of your beloved canine companion, even identifying breeds that makeup as little as 5% of their overall genetic profile. Alongside a detailed breakdown of each breed, Embark provides a comprehensive family tree diagram showcasing your pet’s ancestral lineage, tracing 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
What’s In the Fine Print?
Shopping for dog DNA tests requires careful attention to potential hidden costs that could inflate your final bill. These might include shipping fees, upsells at checkout, and possible subscription fees.
Regarding shipping, most dog DNA tests on my list offer free delivery to your address. However, 5Strands does have a small shipping charge of about $5 for first-class delivery. When it’s time to send your sample back, all companies provide prepaid shipping labels, so you won’t pay anything extra for postage.
While some companies may attempt to upsell additional products or tests at checkout, the DNA tests recommended here do not. They won’t prompt you to buy anything beyond the DNA test kit.
It’s also important to note subscriptions. Some companies might require a subscription fee for continued access to your dog’s DNA test results or other ongoing features. The companies I’ve looked into don’t require this. With these tests, including Embark’s relative finder feature, you pay once and retain lifetime access to your results and any features included with your purchase.
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.
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 Dog DNA Test Kit Can Be Beneficial to Your Dog
dog DNA tests are not just about discovering your pup’s breed mix and satisfying your curiosity (although that’s pretty cool too). These tests can actually be incredibly beneficial for your dog’s overall health and happiness. Let’s dive in and explore how!
- Uncovering Genetic Health Risks: Imagine having the ability to peek into your dog’s genetic blueprint and identify potential health issues before they become major concerns. Dog DNA tests can do just that! By analyzing your pup’s DNA, these tests can reveal genetic mutations or markers associated with certain diseases or conditions. Armed with this knowledge, you and your vet can take proactive measures to manage or prevent these risks, ensuring a longer and healthier life for your beloved companion.
- Tailoring Nutrition and Exercise: Every dog is unique, and their dietary and exercise needs can vary based on their genetic makeup. With a DNA test, you can gain insights into your pup’s metabolism, predispositions to weight gain, and nutrient requirements. Armed with this information, you can develop a customized diet and exercise plan that suits your dog’s specific needs. From portion control to choosing the right type of food, these tailored strategies can help your pup maintain a healthy weight, boost their energy levels, and keep those tails wagging!
- Predicting Behavioral Traits: Have you ever wondered why your pup behaves the way they do? DNA testing can provide fascinating insights into your dog’s behavioral traits and tendencies. From their socialization skills to their response to training, genetic markers can offer clues about their natural inclinations. Understanding these traits can assist you in tailoring your training methods, setting realistic expectations, and strengthening your bond with your four-legged friend. It’s like having a secret decoder to unlock their unique personality!
- Connecting with Ancestral Roots: Discovering your dog’s breed heritage is an exciting adventure in itself, but it’s not just for curiosity’s sake. Knowing their ancestry can help you understand breed-specific behaviors, temperament, and potential health risks associated with certain breeds. This knowledge can guide your training approach, anticipate specific needs, and ensure a happier and healthier life for your pup.
So, it’s time to embark on a tail-wagging journey of discovery! Dog DNA tests offer a window into your dog’s genetic makeup, empowering you to make informed decisions about their health, nutrition, behavior, and overall well-being. Consult with your veterinarian, choose a reputable DNA testing provider, and get ready to unlock a world of insights that will help your furry companion thrive.
Best Dog DNA Test Kits: 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|
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.
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.