Last Updated on June 7, 2023 by Georgie Smith
Do you know that your dog’s DNA test result can save your furry pal? As shocking as that may sound, you should know that certain dogs are prone or immune to different diseases. The knowledge of your dog’s breed will help protect it from being infested carelessly. The knowledge will also help to treat the dog with the best care it requires to live a long, healthy life.
Many times, dog owners depend solely on the information given to them about their dog’s breed and where they bought or adopted them. However, some or most of such information come from guesswork with no scientific backing or testing. Hence, we advise you to test your dog’s DNA to ascertain its correct breed. The following are important reasons why you should know your pooch’s DNA today:
- A DNA test will help save your dog from dying untimely from certain diseases that affect its kind.
- A DNA test will reveal certain genetic health conditions of your pooch.
- A DNA test will help you monitor your dog’s health and prevent hereditary diseases.
- A DNA test will assist you in developing the perfect health plan for your dog in the future.
Now that we have set the record straight on the need for a DNA test, the next thing you might want to know includes the best DNA test kit available for use. We did a head-to-head review of the top three DNA test kits on the market.
Please read below:
|DNA My Dog
You can use DNA My Dog easily without taking the blood sample of your dog. Just do a cheek swab to proceed
You can use Wisdom Panel with ease. It requires only a cheek swab and no painful blood test.
Embark can be used by anyone, no need for blood test only cheek swab.
DNA My Dog comes with a relatively small database of breeds against which they test your pooch. Due to the limited markers, rarer breeds will most assuredly get missed.
Wisdom Panel use a fewer genetic marker for testing; hence it has low accuracy.
Out of the three, Embark leads the pack on the criteria of accuracy as being the most accurate. Embark DNA test utilizes well over 20,000 genetic markers.
|Speed of Result:
Within two weeks, you get the result of the test which by far happens to be the fastest of the lot.
|Speed of Result:
Around three weeks, you will get your test result.
|Speed of Result:
From 6 – 8 weeks you will get the test result.
If you run a tight budget, go for DNA My Dog because it happens to be the least expensive of the pack.
Wisdom Panel comes off the track a little behind DNA My Dog regarding its effect on your wallet.
Embark, though comes with more benefits, all of which come with additional costs. It beats the rest on the scale of the most expensive DNA test kit.
DNA My Dog has around 96 breeds in their database. Also, this kit provides a custom certificate with a photo of your dog stating its unique DNA composition.
Wisdom Panel has tests for more than 250 breeds, types, and varieties.
Wisdom 2.0 does not test health status.
Wisdom Panel’s versions 2.5, 3.0, and 4.0 test all screen for MDR1 genetic mutation.
Wisdom 4.0 also screens for Exercise-induced Collapse (EIC) and provides a predicted weight profile and information about the physical traits of your pooch.
Embark has tests for well over 175 breeds and above 160 health conditions and numerous traits which include size and coat.
– It comes off as the least expensive out of the three.
– It comes with two swabs, and you get a free replacement if they get damaged.
– You get the DNA test result within two weeks.
– They have a charitable shelter program that donates funds to US and Canadian animal shelters
– Make use of their phone and email customer service for questions
– Wisdom Panel’s DNA tests cover 99 percent of 180 AKC recognized breeds.
– It comes with two swabs and will replace damaged swabs free.
– The test result only takes between 2 to 3 weeks to be out.
– They have charitable partnerships with animal rights groups
– They have excellent website resources about your dog’s DNA testing
– For added feedback and answers to questions, you can use their phone and email customer service.
– It comes off the chain as the most accurate Dog DNA test.
– It executes genetic mutation testing for more than 160 dog health conditions.
– You will be able to get raw DNA data
– You will get 20 times more genetic information than others.
– You also get a free replacement swabs for damaged ones.
– They have charitable work with animal shelters.
– Their website offers blog service, FAQs, and newsletter signup for continual support.
– They have excellent customer feedback.
– They offer live chat or email for those who need help interpreting their Dog DNA results.
– They have only 96 breeds in their database – the least of the three.
– DNA My Dog does not offer genetic mutation testing for a health conditions.
– They have minimal website resources about dog DNA testing
– Several customers complain about their dog’s DNA testing accuracy and delayed results.
– It has genetic mutation testing for limited health conditions compared to Embark.
– They have limited test result details when compared to Embark
– Though not as expensive as Embark by costlier than DNA My Dog.
– It comes at a high price making it the most expensive out of the three.
– It has test results for 175 and 187 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), but in this regard, Wisdom Panel has more.
– The results take a longer time to get when compared to others.
DNA My Dog will work for you if you lack time and finance. However, you will have issues if your dog comes from a super rare ancestral breed.
Wisdom Panel stands in the middle among the three test kits – not too much to the left or right. It will not cost you that much or take much a time for your result to be ready. Also, the newer version will give you some essential health information.
Embark leads the way as the best of the three; however, the cost and time might not be friendly to you. However, you will surely get detailed results for your dog no matter how rare.
In addition, you will get detailed information about your dog‘s genetic health conditions and traits. Embark DNA Test kit wins the award of the best test kit of the pack.
Top 3 Dog DNA Test Kits Reviews:
We have below the top 3 dogs DNA Test Kit reviews on the market for your reading pleasure.
Embark Dog DNA Test Kit Reviews:
This Embark Dog DNA Test Kit offers the most advanced understanding of your dog. It can execute breed and genetic ancestry discovery as well as trait and health detection. It gives more than 100 times more genetic information than its counterparts.
More than just selling DNA tests, Embark has a mission to end preventive diseases in dogs. They continuously add every dog’s DNA test to a global database which their research team used in their work. Their research scientists use the growing database to learn more about genetic patterns and diseases. Their findings contribute to the future health, wellness, care, and understanding of dogs.
- Breed Discovery – This DNA test kit tests more than 175 dog breeds and in addition to that it tests wolf, coyote, and village canine ancestry. The breeds covered go over 98 percent of American dogs. Embark engages the most accurate breed identification by a simple cheek swab.
- Genetic Ancestry – Embark can reveal the paternal and maternal ancestry of your dog back to the great-grandparents. You can discover how your pouch resembles other Embark canines having the same gene traits even if they have different mixed breeds.
- Health Condition – With Embark you need not worry because it tests for more than 160 diseases. This comprehensive genetic testing allows you to plan for your furry friend as it ages. From genetic diseases to drug sensitivities, the test for your dog covers many health issues. To cap it off, genetic diseases such as glaucoma, degenerative myelopathy, and dilated cardiomyopathy gets revealed for better planning.
- Traits – Information on traits gets revealed by Embark to explain the reason why your dog has the appearance in the way it does. For instance, the result reveals coat color adaptation, attitude, etc., all relating to traits.
- Results – The Embarks DNA test gives you the most comprehensive picture of your dog’s genetic health and ancestry because it has over 20 times more genetic information than others. Embark partners with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and is certified by the Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals. Built by experts, professional dog breeders and veterinary hospitals trust Embark.
Wisdom Panel DNA Test Kit Reviews:
Wisdom Panel DNA Test Kit features the most extensive database of any DNA test worldwide with above 250 breeds, types, and varieties covered. A simple cheek swab unravels DNA-based insights that tell a lot about your canine. You will have a better understanding of its appearance, behavior, and overall health needs. It comes with two swabs for fast, easy collection and pre-paid shipping to the lab.
- Breed identification – this test has breed detection for more than 250 breeds, types, and varieties which happens to be the largest breed database in the world.
- Life-Saving Drug sensitivity (MDRI) screening – Wisdom Panel has the only official commercial license from Washington State University to screen for the life-saving MDRI or drug sensitivity mutation. The mutation in question affects how canines process common drugs. The mutation information assists you and your vet plan for future surgeries, dental cleanings, etc.
- Detailed breed information – Besides building out your dog’s family tree, Wisdom Panel also provides you with a pie chart detailing each pure breed or breed group found in your K-9’s ancestry.
- Predicted weight profile for nutrition guidance
- Pre-paid shipping to the lab – You get pre-paid shipping to the lab, and you have access to the result within 2-3 weeks after the arrival of the samples.
DNA My Dog Reviews:
DNA My Dog identifies your canine’s DNA with over 99.7 percent accuracy of all the breeds in your canine. It comes with a gold-embossed custom photo certificate suitable for framing your dog’s unique DNA profile number. It also shows a personalized chart of all the personality traits and health risks of all breeds found in your dog’s profile.
DNA My Dog presents three DNA levels:
- Level 1 – Specific DNA, e.g., 75 percent or greater which most mixed breed dogs will not usually have unless it has one or both purebred parents.
- Level 2 – Reports easily recognize dog breeds which usually have a substantial influence on canines.
- Levels 3 to 5 – These levels classify breeds with the least amount of influence on your dog’s composition. They represent the little but measurable amount in your dog’s DNA, i.e., level 3 (from 36 percent) and level 5 (from 5 percent or less).
Furthermore, their database has 85 breeds, and more added at the time of writing this post. The over 85 breeds represent 95.7 percent of the mixed-breed dog population.
- It determines dog breeds with a simple at-home DNA cheek swab and presents the result of all breeds in your dog in percentage.
- You get a custom certificate within two weeks from receipt of the sample making it great for animal shelters, vet offices, and personal use.
- Breed Determination Report and Canine Breed DNA Analysis Certificate – you get the certificate, and it lists all breeds found in your pup by levels/percentage found in your dog’s genetics.
- It presents an outline of the Generic Health Concerns and Personality Traits for every breed found in your mutt’s genetic profile.
Which One is The Most Accurate Dog DNA Test Kit?
Judging by our reviews, our pick for the best Dog DNA Test kit by all standards remains Embark Dog’s DNA test. Besides the comparison above, we have here the summary of the facts and figures of Embark:
- It offers a very comprehensive test for dogs by looking at more than 200,000 genetic markers which stand over 100 times more than any other test in the market.
- It considers more than 160 known genetic health risks found in dogs.
- It adds to its result a detailed vet report which assists you and your vet plan for the long-term health and care of your pet.
- It never stops researching – this can be seen by it partnering with researchers from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University to perform ongoing research on dog genetic testing.
- Concerning customer care, it receives positive customer feedback and provides email and live chat assistants to interpret test results.
Although Embark comes off with the most comprehensive, it tests only 175 out of the 190 AKC recognized breeds. Furthermore, being the best comes with an extra cost, if you can afford it, it is worth every dollar spent. 
How to Choose
When selecting the best dog DNA test kit, your choice must reveal the basic information about your dog’s family tree. This section will guide you on how to buy the right dog DNA test kit at the right price. Please read on to know how to choose the best dog DNA test kit.
Number of Genetic Markers Tested
DNA test varies one from to another. Markers represent tests conducted to look at specific points. Because of the incredibly long nature of DNA strands, varying tests must be performed to cover as much. Scientists make use of the makers mentioned earlier to determine breeds, traits, and potential health risks.
As a rule of thumb, the more markers checked, the more accurate the test result. In practice, the DNA test that checks the largest number of markers gives the most accurate and useful result. Therefore, if you do not consider cost, the test with multiple markers will work best for you.
Number of Breeds in the Database
The more the number of breeds in a testing company’s database the better. For that reason, our experts advise you to check their breed list before making a choice. Currently, the 190 dogs registered by the American Kennel Club do not get featured in most DNA tests.
Note that a DNA company compares your dog’s DNA with those in their database. Hence choose a test company with a long list of breeds.
Range of Genetic Health Risks
While some DNA tests consider between 140 to 160 or more genetic health risk factors, others considerably less. Stating the obvious, the more risks the test checks for, the better the test. The tests will reveal detailed information needed to discuss your dog’s current and future health condition with your veterinary doctor.
On the contrary, you should know that some test gives a vague general report based on your dog’s breed. When choosing, the obvious choice should be the test that offers the most health information about your furry little friend.
Physical Traits Report
Physical traits report also forms a tremendous part of a dog’s DNA test. Tests vary regarding the details loaded in their physical traits reports. While some DNA companies report attributes based on the breed of your dog, others report based on its specific DNA.
We recommend that you consider test companies that use your dog’s unique DNA profile to create a useful traits report. However, with our recommended test you must be ready to part with a substantial amount of money.
In the final analysis, put all these factors side by side, and you will be able to determine the best dog test for your little pooch.
How Accurate Are Dog DNA Test Kits?
Many dog owners have asked the question as to the accuracy of the Dog DNA test. Many dog owners express shock and disbelief when they see their dogs’ DNA test results, hence querying the accuracy of such. Most of these dog owners rely on the certificates given to them when they bought or adopted the dog rather than any DNA test. This section is aimed at educating your dog owners about the accuracy of Dogs’ DNA tests.
Dog DNA test seems to be fairly accurate. However, the quality of accuracy vastly depends on the tools and the sophistication of the laboratory. Let us now explore some factors that affect the accuracy of Dog DNA tests.
The majority of dog DNA test kits rely on cheek swab DNA samples to carry out the task. The owner must obtain a cheek swab DNA sample and then send the same to the lab for analysis. The laboratory scientist will then analyze and reports the results. Easy right? Wrong! The quality of the test sample cannot always be guaranteed.
The home kit problem lies in the fact that certain factors can corrupt the quality. For instance, food, debris, and other factors can affect the quality of the sample. We further like to give the following tips that affect the quality of samples viz-a-viz the accuracy of the test.
- Food and debris – The presence of food and debris in a DNA sample can corrupt the result. Therefore, do not take cheek swabs immediately after your dog finished a meal or treat. For the best result wait after at least two hours before swabbing as the mouth must be free from food and debris.
- Oral Bacteria – Once the level of oral bacteria in the sample goes beyond normal, it will corrupt the result. In effect ensure your dog does not have mouth disease or gum infection before you perform the test. If it has an infection, do treat the infection first before proceeding.
- Careless Handling of the sample – Do take extra care when handling the test swab, don’t allow your hand to touch the tip of the cheek swab sample. Improper handling can transfer your DNA sample to the cheek swab, hence handling with care.
- Avoid Surface Contact – After taking the sample, allow the swab to dry for a few minutes before returning it to the packet. Furthermore, avoid contact with other surfaces during the drying and returning stage.
What in the world do you refer to as a genetic marker? Genetic markers refer to places of differences with a canine’s genetic structure that inform researchers about the breed composition of the dog.
To help identify characteristic signatures, researchers must have to study the differences and similarities in the genetic markers. The larger the database of the genetic markers the more accurate the test will be. On the other hand, fewer genetic markers lead to inaccurate results.
Number and Types of Dogs:
More dog breeds mean a high tendency of getting accurate DNA results, hence the need for a DNA database to have more breeds. Therefore, when choosing the test kit, ensure you go to the ones with many dogs in their database.
Taking a DNA test in itself might not be so accurate unless you confirm such a test from a Third-Party Specialist and geneticist.
In the final analysis, you should know that Dog DNA tests are accurate and would depend on varieties of factors. Once you can address the factors, the accuracy of your result increases.
Is My Dog Really A Purebred?
As a first-timer, you might not know so much about purebred dogs but reading this post will help a lot. So, you know, a purebred dog refers to the end product of selective breeding backed up with adequate documentation.
One outstanding quality of purebred pups relates to the fact that once they become adults, they will develop the main traits and behaviors typical of their breed.
Furthermore, you can easily predict what a purebred dog will become judging by its size, color, fur, temperament, and so on. Purebred dogs have identical temperaments, yet they differ slightly on an individual basis one from the other. Generally, purebred dogs adhere to the same basic temperament.
Purebred canines can be quite expensive because of breeding costs. Their breeders need to cover such expenses as food, medical expenses, stud charges, vaccinations, etc. These dogs come with documents backing them since they have particular registry registration. The largest of such in the United States remains the American Kennel Club, AKC.
Why the Craze for Purebred?
Many people get influenced in their buying behavior by what they see on television. I remember buying a fish after watching the trailer for the movie, “A Fish Called Wanda.” Many films about dogs caused the craze for a particular purebred at one time or the other. A few of such movies include:
- Beverly Hills Chihuahua – The movie, centered on a Chihuahua led to the love of the breed
- Disney’s 101 Dalmatians – people went gaga for Dalmatian pups
- Disney’s The Shaggy Dog – Featured an Old English Sheepdog and demand for the breed went slightly up
- Marley and Me – People going crazy about Labrador pooches
How to Know a Purebred?
There are three ways of knowing if you have a purebred pup and we have highlighted them below:
Every breed comes with a set of standards for physical appearance and personality. The dog’s national breeders develop these so-called standards then the AKC approves it. They will give the breed’s coat, color, markings, gait, structure, temperament, etc. For example, they described my favorite dog, the German Shepherd Dog thus:
- General Appearance: “…large, agile, muscular dog of noble character and high intelligence…”
- Temperament: “…distinct personality…”
- Head: “…cleanly chiseled, strong without coarseness…”
- The Muzzle: “…long and strong…”
Now, any canine that does not meet the standards for its acclaimed breed will be referred to as a poor example of the breed or stands disqualified. Check the standards against your dog.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Vet
Who knows your dog more than the good old vet? An experienced vet has many dogs visiting his office from day today. By experience, he has treated many of them and gone through their records.
All breeds have their health issues, so in his position, the vet knows one from the other based on their health conditions. For instance, the German Shepherd suffers chronic eczema and hip dysplasia more than others.
DNA testing was not created to determine purebreds but rather to identify breeds in the genetic composition of mixed-breed dogs. However, some tests can be conducted to know how closely related your dog’s DNA profile matches a specific breed.
In conclusion, from the three points, you should know that the Kennel Clubs govern the definition of dog purity. Therefore, they stand as standards of determination.
How Does Dog DNA Testing Work?
A dog DNA test does not require much from the dog owner. Most of them come in a comfortable and simple-to-use test kit. Most of these test kits follow the same process of testing.
Dog DNA Test Kit Components:
However, do know that slight variations exist concerning components, but a dog DNA test kit will generally include:
- Step-by-Step Instruction Manual
- Cheek Swabs – usually two which you must use both for the same dog
- An insert for drying the swabs
- Shipping label and box or envelope – it should be prepaid and used to send the dog samples to the laboratory for testing.
DNA Test: Step-By-Step Guide
In this step-by-step guide, we will use the Wisdom Panel which has a process like most of the Dog DNA tests. Here you will see the demonstration on how to take your dog’s DNA. Whichever one you bought comes with its own set of how-to instructional guides to help you.
Step 1: Remove the swab:
Read all the instructions in the kit and carefully remove the swab from the packet. Do not let your sweat or your other dog drool on it. Avoid contact with the swab.
Step 2: Collect your Dog’s DNA:
Firmly twist the swab on the inside of your dog’s cheek for 20 seconds. After collecting the DNA, place the swab into the insert in the packaging and leave it to air dry for about 5 minutes or so and then repeat steps 1-3 with the second swab.
Step 3: Activate Online:
Whichever company you bought from you will receive an activation confirmation number. Write the number on the label. Apply label
Step 4: Package and Ship Your Sample:
Place the swabs back into the sleeve and do not seal it until dry to avoid growth by mold and so on. Keep both the sleeve and the swabs into the box or envelope and seal it. Apply the shipping label to the front of the box and mail it.
Step 5: Wait for your result:
Wait patiently for the test result to come. Some tests can take days or weeks depending on the testing company.
Q: Should I take my dog to the vet for the Dog DNA test?
A: You do not necessarily need to take your dog to the vet for the DNA test. You can take the sample from your home with the at-home kit. Read more about this under the sub-topic: “How Does Dog DNA Testing Work?”
Q: Are DNA test results by cheek swab more accurate than blood DNA tests?
A: You should know that both cheek and blood cells contain cells. Due to technological advancements, cheek swabs are preferred to collect DNA samples. Both dog and man can use this painless process.
Q: Can the breed test detect wolf, coyote, or hybrid DNA in my dog?
A: Yes, due to the advanced technology implored in the testing, it can now detect such breeds.
Q: I do not agree with the test result. What should I do?
A: If you think the result does not reflect what you believe, then you should take a confirmatory test from a Third-Party Specialist and geneticist. Once the next result confirms it, you have nothing to do but to accept the result.
Either purebred or mixed-breed do go ahead and confirm your dog’s DNA. Choose one of DNA My Dog or Wisdom Panel or Embark as you can see their details in this 2020 Review and Comparison!
Furthermore, for you intending dog owners you should know what to do now regarding getting your first dog. Follow our advice, and you would not regret buying that furry little buddy. Why Choose us?
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