Whether you’re checking for potential risk factors and genetic diseases or you’re trying to learn more about your canine friend, a dog DNA test kit will come in handy!
By learning more about your dog breed and genetic makeup, you can help your dog to have a happier and healthier life.
If you’re looking for a good DNA test kit for your dog, you’re in for an awesome treat! In this article, we’ll provide you with the best dog DNA test comparison in 2020, so you can pick the ideal one for your dog!
Note: If you click some of the links in this article we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Table of Contents
In a Hurry? Here’s a Summary of the Top Picks
- Embark Dog DNA Breed Identification & Canine Genetic Health Test Kit
- Wisdom Panel 2.0 Mixed Breed Dog DNA Test Kit
- Wisdom Panel 3.0 Dog Breed and Ancestry DNA Test Kit
- ORIVET Dog DNA Test Kit
- Embark Dog DNA Breed Identification Test Kit
Top 5 Dog DNA Test Kits Available on the Market
There’s a wide variety of Dog DNA test kits that you can find out there. Each one has its own features, advantages, and drawbacks.
To make the search process easier for you, we’ve compiled a detailed review list of the 5 best dog DNA test kits you may come across. This can help you narrow down your selections to the most suitable option that the market offers!
Embark Dog DNA Breed Identification & Canine Genetic Health Test Kit
- BREED IDENTIFICATION: Embark screens for over 350 dog breeds, types, and varieties. Using a research-grade genotyping platform developed in partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Embark offers the most accurate breed breakdown on the market.
- HEALTH SCREENING: Embark tests for 200+ genetic diseases including MDR1 drug sensitivity, glaucoma, degenerative myelopathy, and dilated cardiomyopathy, some of the most common adult-onset diseases in dogs. Keep your dog healthier & happier, longer.
- HIGHEST RATED: Embark's Breed + Health DNA test is the highest rated dog DNA test on Amazon.com.
- DISCOVER YOUR DOG’S RELATIVES: Find and connect with other dogs that share DNA with yours, including distant and close relatives. Only Embark will give you a percentage of shared DNA between your dog and others that have been tested with Embark.
- FAST, TRUSTED RESULTS: Built by experts, only Embark is partnered with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and is trusted by veterinary hospitals. Results generally between 2-4 weeks.
Kicking off the list with one of the most reputable breed identification kits on the market. What makes the Embark test kit special is that it has a huge database of about 200,000 genetic markers.
This enables you to confirm your dog’s lineage as well as a lot of other information. Embarks will screen the sample over 250 breeds, so you’ll be able to identify your dog’s breed with up to 99% accuracy!
For example, the DNA testing kit can also help you test for more than 175 genetic disorders. These include conditions like drug sensitivity, glaucoma, degenerative myelopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy, exercise-induced collapse, and more!
You also don’t have to worry about the authenticity of the test results. This testing kit is certified from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Despite giving highly comprehensive results, it takes about 2 to 4 weeks only for the results to reach you!
What makes the Embark test kit truly special is that you get the results electronically. These results will be graphically represented in an easy to understand way, so you don’t have to worry about that!
Things We Liked
- Validated by multiple organizations
- Partners with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
- Highly comprehensive yet quick results
- Results are easy to read and print
Things We DIdn’t Like
- Premium price tag
Wisdom Panel 2.0 Mixed Breed Dog DNA Test Kit
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If you’re having a hard time finding the best method to care for your mixed-breed dog, this one might be the ideal choice for you.
The Wisdom Panel 2.0 is designed specifically to identify all lineage of a dog. This way, you’ll be able to identify all the breeds that are present in your dog without costing you an arm and a leg.
Using the information that you’ll find in that report, you’ll be able to compose a tailor-made training program for your pooch. Not only that, but it can give you a brief overview of the health condition of your dog.
In addition to these benefits, the test can also give you an accurate prediction of the adult weight range of your puppy. This can aid you to make the best decisions when it comes to their dietary choices and nutritional needs.
The test is easy to perform with detailed instruction that includes sampling, storing, and sending the swab. Once you’ve sent the sample, you should activate your online testing. You should expect to get the results within 3 weeks via email.
Things We Liked
- Good value for its price
- Ideal for mixed-breed dogs
- Quick results
Things We DIdn’t Like
- Doesn’t identify health issues
Wisdom Panel 3.0 Dog Breed and Ancestry DNA Test Kit
- DOG DNA BREED ANCESTRY TESTING KIT: With a simple cheek swab you can do at home, the Wisdom Panel test analyzes for more than 350 breeds, types, & varieties. Some customers may receive kits with older packaging that still refers to 250+ breeds; rest assured that your test will be automatically upgraded to the current 350+ breeds, types, and varieties analysis.
- THREE SIMPLE STEPS: Simply collect your dog's DNA with a cheek swab, activate your kit online & send your kit to the lab with pre-paid shipping. You'll receive our genetic analysis of your dog's ancestry & breed identification in as little as 2 weeks.
- BENEFITS OF DNA ANALYSIS: Genetic testing can help you identify breeds & specific health issues that may be important to the wellbeing of your dog. Work with your veterinarian & use your results to develop training, nutrition & long-term healthcare plans.
- BEST IN SHOW: As the leading canine genetics company we’ve tested the DNA of more than 1. 5 million dogs & developed the largest & most comprehensive breed database in the world, with a sophisticated algorithm and a very strategically placed set of markers.
- DISCOVER MORE ABOUT YOUR DOG: DNA analysis unlocks a brand new world of DNA-based insights that may help you understand your dog's unique appearance, behaviors, and wellness needs.
If you’re enjoying the Wisdom Health products but you’re looking for more advanced results, you can opt for the Wisdom Panel 3.0.
This one is ideal for testing your dog breed among more than 350 breeds, varieties, and types. The test kit uses swab bristles that are easy to use.
This test kit includes all the features of its predecessors, such as testing for breeds, predicting weight range, and more. However, it also has some extra features that make it extra special.
For example, Activating the kit is remarkably easy to perform online and you should expect the results within 2 weeks only. This is by far one of the fastest dog DNA test kits you might come across in the market.
As for the accuracy, Wisdom Health has some of the most comprehensive markers and their kits are trusted by a wide variety of veterinarian hospitals and organizations.
The testing kit also includes a wider scope of genetic health assessment than the 2.0 model. This allows you to rely on the testing while building long-term healthcare plans for your furry friend.
Things We Liked
- Extra fast results
- Identifies your dog’s lineage among 350 breeds
- Screens multidrug sensitivity
Things We DIdn’t Like
- Lacks some premium DNA testing features
ORIVET Dog DNA Test Kit
- DNA TEST KIT FOR DOGS- The Orivet Health Screen is an effective DNA test kit for dogs. It screens any dog for dozens of diseases and traits and also runs the Orivet proprietary algorithmic analysis for your canine friend, creating a Life Plan based on their breed, age, weight, gender, lifestyle and geographic location.
- EFFECTIVE PET CARE- The Orivet Health Screen help you understand your dog’s specific health risks. Together with your pet’s veterinarian, you can create a comprehensive and effective nutrition, wellness and medical program for your dog.
- LIFE PLAN INCLUDED - This DOG DNA test kit also comes with a personalized Life Plan you can share with your veterinarian to implement a customized wellness plan for your pet.
- CLASSIFY HEALTH RISKS - The Risk analysis included in this DNA test considers your dog’s ancestry (when known), age, weight, sex, lifestyle & location. Health risks are further classified based on impact to only show the most relevant conditions for your dog.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: This is not a breed identification test - you will need to know the breeds that make up your pet to oder this product.
If you’re on a budget, you can still build a healthcare and nutrition plan for your dog without paying huge sums of money.
The Orivet dog DNA test kit is designed to analyze and screen your dog from a wide variety of diseases as well as behavioral traits.
Another thing that Orivet excels at, is that it can create a life plan based on multiple aspects of your dog. These points include its breed, gender, age, weight, and even its geographic location!
The only drawback to this DNA test kit is the lack of breed identification. Instead, this kit is more healthcare plan-oriented.
Things We Liked
- Ideal for buyers on a budget
- Provides you with a custom nutrition plan
- Test for health risks
Things We DIdn’t Like
- Doesn’t identify the breed of the dog
Embark Dog DNA Breed Identification Test Kit
- BREED DISCOVERY: Embark screens for over 350 dog breeds, types, and varieties. Using a research-grade genotyping platform developed in partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Embark offers the most accurate breed breakdown on the market.
- MOST ACCURATE: In mixed breed dogs, Embark can precisely detect breed contributions down to 5% of the total breed make. This makes Embark’s product more than twice as precise as other tests on the market that can only detect breed contributions of 12% or more.
- DISCOVER YOUR DOG’S RELATIVES: Find and connect with other dogs that share DNA with yours. Only Embark will give you a percentage of shared DNA between your dog and others that have been tested with Embark. Doggy DNA Relative Finder included with purchase.
- FAST & EASY: Simple cheek swab. Results generally available online in 2-4 weeks.
- UPGRADE ANYTIME: Solved your breed mystery but now want to know if your pup is at risk for 200+ genetic health conditions? Upgrade your Embark account at any time to get your dog's genetic health report — no additional swabs or kits needed. Upgrade equivalent to buying the Embark Breed + Health kit.
If you’re interested in Embark’s breed identification quality, but you don’t need the expensive health assessment test, this one should be on your shortlist.
This testing kit will screen over 250 breeds to find the full lineage of your dog. Additionally, all these testings are made in partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
This means that you won’t have to worry about the accuracy of the test. All you have to do is take a swab of your dog’s mouth and send it to their labs. You should expect an official result in as little as two weeks!
Moreover, Embark will give you a full representation of the DNA of your dog, including a percentage of all the shared DNA between your dog and other tested dogs. This means that you can find your dog’s relatives using the kit!
Things We Liked
- Helps you find some of the dog’s relatives
- Highly accurate and quick results
- Certified by a large number of organizations
Things We DIdn’t Like
- Still a bit pricey for a limited testing kit
What Is a Dog DNA Test?
Similar to all living organisms, dogs’ genetics play a huge role in who they are. These aspects include many things, such as appearance, expected behaviors, and even their overall health.
A dog DNA test is a screening test for genes that can reveal a lot of useful information regarding your dog. For example, it can tell you more about the genetic makeup of your dog and its family history.
Some people might argue that a dog DNA test is purely for satisfying the owners’ curiosity about their dog. Of course, they’re a great way to scratch that itch, especially if you don’t know much about your dogs’ breed.
However, Dog DNA tests are more than just that. A DNA test for your dog can tell you a lot about your genetic predisposition and risk value for some health conditions. Also, it can help you treat your dog better. But more on that later!
How Dog DNA Testing is Performed?
Now that you know what exactly is dog DNA testing, it’s time to know more about the testing itself. One thing you should know is that dog DNA testing is pretty similar to human DNA testing in various aspects.
For example, both tests provide the same range of information regarding our ancestry as well as predisposed risks of developing some diseases, whether they’re genetic or not.
DNA tests, in general, are done using two popular methods. However, you won’t have to be confused about choosing one of them, as they both give extremely similar results. Let’s have a quick look at each one of them.
Blood sampling is the more invasive method that involves inserting a needle in the dog’s veins to draw some blood. The method provides a larger amount of DNA for further testing.
Some people might argue that blood DNA testing is more accurate than cheek swabs. Yet, all evidence shows that both cheek swabs and blood sampling provides similar results.
The main issue with blood sampling is that it’s uncomfortable for dogs just like it is for most humans.
For these reasons, blood sampling is rarely used now because it produces similar results to the other less invasive method.
Blood sampling is always done at a vet’s clinic, which is another reason why they aren’t as popular anymore with other methods being equally accurate and less invasive.
Using cheeks swabs for DNA testing is currently the golden standard for DNA testing whether it’s for dogs or even humans.
The method is much quicker, easier for both dogs and owners. You simply swab the insides of the dog’s cheeks and send it for testing.
The noninvasive and simple nature of the DNA along with its pretty accurate results made it the most popular method among owners and vets as well.
The simplicity of the test also allowed for the rise of DNA test kits, which makes collecting the samples much easier.
However, it’s important that you be careful about the kit you choose, as you might end up with incorrect results.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Dog DNA Test?
As you can see, the use of cheek swabs allowed many manufacturers to offer home testing kits to help you perform the DNA tests from the comfort of your home. So, how can you benefit from a DNA test for your dog?
Here’s a list of all the reasons that make a DNA test for your dog an excellent investment.
Revealing a Lot About Potential Health Risks
While it’s not an actual test for the disease, DNA testing can calculate the potential risk of occurrence of a disease in that breed.
Help You Create a Custom Health Plan
Depending on the information you get from the report, you can easily design a tailor-made health plan for your pooch.
This can be beneficial for weight control and disease prevention plans, as you’ll be able to predict the kind of problem your puppy might face when it gets older. This way, you’ll be able to act accordingly.
Genetic Background Can Help You Better Train Your Dog
Every dog breed has its own set of behaviors and temperaments. The key to better train your dog is by understanding these behaviors.
By testing your dog, you’ll learn more about the breeds in your puppy’s lineage. This can help you train your dog with the best approaches.
Things to Look for in a Dog DNA Test Kit
There’s a wide variety of options that you can find out there while shopping for dog DNA kits. However, not all of them are of the same quality.
To make sure that you make the most out of your hard-earned money, there are some aspects that you need to look for in DNA test kits. Let’s have a brief overview of each one of them.
Purpose of Testing
The first thing you need to decide on while shopping for dog DNA tests is the purpose of testing. For example, if you’re only testing to find out more about your dog’s lineage and breed information, you can opt for some of the basic tests that can do that.
However, if you’re looking for more in-depth results, you need to look for a more comprehensive testing kit.
These tests cover more than just lineage, as they can also provide you with information regarding your dog’s personality. Also, some dog DNA test kits can also reveal the risk factors for some genetic diseases and other health conditions about your dog.
The more details the test kit, the more expensive it’s going to be. That’s why you don’t have to pay extra for features you don’t think necessary.
On the other hand, if you’re paying such a hefty premium for a test kit, you need to make sure that it covers all the important information about your dog.
Here are some of the details that some dog DNA test kits can include:
- The genetic background of the dog
- The breed purity percentage
- A complete health risk assessment for genetic diseases
- A prediction of adult weight for puppies
Whether you opt for a simple or comprehensive dog DNA testing kit, the most critical aspect of its quality would be its accuracy level.
As a rule of thumb, a good dog DNA test kit should have an accuracy level anywhere between 95 to 99%.
However, The range of acceptable accuracy also depends on the sensitivity of the information you’re after. For example, if you’re only curious about your dog’s ancestry and lineage, even a 90% accurate test might be good enough for you.
The Amount of Information Extracted
An important indicator of the brand’s value is the size of the database of which the sample is based upon.
The larger the database, the more information that you can extract from the DNA sample.
The level of trustworthiness and credibility of a DNA test kit is also a crucial factor that you should always keep on your radar.
Unfortunately, it’s quite difficult for the user to follow the company’s testing process and validate or measure the level of its authenticity.
For that reason, you need to look for dog DNA test kits that are approved and certified by authoritative and relatable organizations.
Also, you need to make sure that you’re able to contact the company. This way, if you doubt the results of your testing, you can further confirm it.
The good news is, all of the products that we’ve reviewed are made by the biggest names in the dog DNA testing industry, so you don’t have to worry about that part!
The Speed of the Results
According to the quality of the test, you’re going for, the time until the results reach you might vary significantly.
the speed of delivery should also be considered. For example, some companies can deliver the test results within a couple of weeks.
On the flip side, some DNA testing companies might take months before they deliver the results. The choice here depends on your patience and the purpose and urgency of testing. You should also expect that more comprehensive results would take longer to come out.
No matter how urgent you are, the accuracy of the dog DNA testing should always be your number 1 priority and the main base for choosing a kit over the other.
How to use a dog DNA test kit properly?
To make sure you get the most accurate results, you need to take a sample of your dog tissue. Here’s how you can it:
- Make sure that it at least 2 hours since the last meal your dog had
- Check the dog’s oral cavity for any food particles or dirt
- Open the DNA testing kit and take out the swab bristles (don’t touch them directly to avoid contamination)
- Carefully but firmly roll the swab in the inner surface of the dog cheeks
- Keep rolling and swab for 15 to 20 seconds depending on the instruction provided to collect enough cells
- Allow the swab to air dry for 5 minutes without touching the bristles
- Once the swab is dry, put it back in the storage vial
- Proceed to send the DNA sample for testing as per the instructions provided.
Is dog DNA test kits the same as lab DNA testing?
It depends mainly on the quality of the brands in question. Of course, lab testing is the most reliable and accurate method for DNA testing in general. But other reputable brands are pretty accurate too!
Most experts think that these DNA testing kits are reliable enough to give you accurate information, especially about ancestry and breed information. In other words, as long as you’re dealing with a trustworthy brand, there’s nothing to worry about.
How does dog DNA testing work?
Regardless of the method you followed for collecting the DNA sample, the rest of the testing process is pretty much the same.
Once you send the sample to the lab, they’ll purify the sample to concentrate and extract the DNA to analyze it.
Once the DNA is ready, researchers will search for some important parts in the DNA called “genetic markers”.
These parts are different for each breed, so by comparing these markers to their purebred samples in their database, scientists can easily identify the breed of the dog.
A Dog’s DNA contains a huge number of these markers that identify every part of their genetic makeup. The larger the labs’ database, the more data you can extract from the dog’s DNA sample, and the more accurate these results will be.
There you have it. A complete guide with everything you need to know before picking the best dog DNA test kit of 2020.
As you can see, each one of the kits has its pros and cons. However, Embark Dog DNA Breed Identification & Canine Genetic Health Test Kit is by far the best one in the market. It gives you all the information you might want within 2 to 3 weeks only.
However, if you’re on a budget or looking for health assessment only, the ORIVET Dog DNA Test Kit might do the trick for you! It can create a custom healthcare plan for your dog without poking a hole in your wallet!