Doggie DNA tests are becoming more popular than ever. Have you ever wondered if your purebred dog is truly a purebred? Have you wondered about his parentage? Can dog DNA tests warn of health issues? In this article, we’ll take a look at these questions and look at the top 5 dog DNA tests available.
Dog DNA Tests—What’s the Big Deal?
Dog DNA tests are becoming cheaper and more accessible these days and if you’re the owner of a mutt, you may wonder just what mix of breeds he may be. DNA tests can help answer that question and they can do even more.
Not only can doggie DNA tests help you discern your dog’s breeds, but they can also help determine genetic markers for health issues that are inherited and prone to certain breeds. In addition, knowing your dog’s breeds can also help clue you in to his behaviors. Behaviors are sometimes tied to the genes your pup has inherited from his parents and ancestors. Understanding these behavioral traits can help you decide on dog training methods that may best work for him.
Dog DNA Test at Your Vet
Another option is to have your vet do a DNA blood test at their office. You can still order a dog DNA test kit online—one that requires a blood test. Then call your vet for an appointment and take your canine companion to the office to have blood drawn for the test. After the blood is drawn, you can then have it sent off to the company for analysis.
Beware that the dog DNA test cost at vet will be a bit higher—you’ll be paying for the test kit and then your vet’s services. In the next sections, we’ll take a look at 5 specific dog DNA tests and help you choose the best one for your pup.
Best Dog DNA Tests
When you’re ready to buy a dog DNA test kit, you’ll find there are many options available. We’ll take a look at the top 5 dog DNA tests available.
1. Wisdom Panel 3.0
This dog DNA test helps to detect your dog’s breed(s). Their database includes over 250 breeds, types and varieties and is one of the biggest databases currently on the market. This product’s DNA report offers you a percentage breakdown of the breeds and breed groups in your dog’s DNA. You’ll also receive:
- Detailed family tree (going back three generations)
- Detailed information about each breed found in your pup’s DNA
- Your dog’s predicted weight—what should be a normal weight for your dog, based on his breed background
- A genetic trait analysis—what traits your dog may exhibit that are normal for his DNA breed background
- Cost: anywhere from $75-$89 USD, depending on where you purchase them.
Not only that, but the test also scans your fur baby’s DNA for a genetic drug sensitivity—MDR1 (multi-drug resistance 1). The test is easy and painless—just take a cheek swab from your pet and send it off in the prepaid packaging for analysis. In about 2-3 weeks you’ll receive an online report about your pup’s DNA.
Wisdom also offers another test called the Wisdom Panel Health Canine DNA test that checks your dog’s breed(s) and screens for over 150 genetic health issues. This test also uses a cheek swab, and you’ll receive a report about 2-3 weeks after your pup’s DNA has been analyzed. In addition, you can contact the company and speak to geneticists about your dog’s DNA test results—they’re happy to help with any questions you may have and will explain the test results in more detail.
2. Embark Dog DNA Test Kit
Embark is another top brand recommended for doggie DNA tests. This test kit uses a cheek swab to obtain your dog’s DNA, which you send off in a prepaid package for analysis. This test checks your dog’s DNA against a database of over 250 dog breeds and even checks to see if your dog has wolf, coyote or “village dog” (a type of feral dog) ancestry. In addition, the test checks for:
- Genetic mutations that cause disease (such as glaucoma, degenerative myelopathy and others)
- Will give you information about your dog’s traits, including body size and coat color, and will even tell you if your fur baby will shed or not.
- Cost: can run around $189.00 USD, depending on where you purchase the test kit.
You’ll receive the test results in 2-4 weeks and will be able to contact the company’s geneticists with any questions you may have about your pup’s test. The DNA test results are shared with you online and are easy to understand.
3. Orivet Mixed-Breed Identification DNA Test & Life Plan
This is another popular dog DNA test kit. This kit is specifically for dogs of mixed-breed—it will help identify your dog’s breeds by percentage (for each breed in your dog’s DNA) and includes a personalized LifePlan schedule you can use with your vet to develop a customized wellness plan for your pet. In addition, the Orivet DNA test includes:
- Adult weight prediction
- Insights into your dog’s personality and behavior
- Tests for genetic mutations that can cause disease
- Offers nutritional suggestions based on your dog’s DNA
- Cost: these tests can range anywhere from $109-$129 USD
This test also utilizes a swab to get DNA from inside your dog’s cheeks, along with instructions on how to do the swabbing, and a self-addressed pre-paid envelope to send the swab to the lab. Test results are given online after a few weeks.
4. DNA My Dog
This DNA test kit is a little different. In addition to testing for your dog’s breed(s), the test includes DNA testing for genetic conditions, food intolerance, stress, hormones, vitamins and minerals, and even toxins.
The test is done with a swab, which you then send off for analysis. The test also requires a small hair sample from your dog. The lab tests your dog’s DNA & fur for over 160 health conditions (including glaucoma, dilated cardiomyopathy, etc.). The test will also analyze your fur baby’s DNA for signs of food intolerance and sensitivities to over 125 foods and environmental substances. You’ll learn which foods and other things your dog should avoid in order to stay healthy! Not only that, but you’ll learn about your dog’s overall health.
- Cost: can run from about $60-$149, depending on where you purchase the test kit.
5. Find My Pet DNA
This dog DNA test kit also uses the swab method to gather a sample of your fur baby’s DNA (from inside his cheeks). Their database includes all recognized DNA from the AKC database and will even tell you about your dog’s personality traits. You’ll also learn if your dog is prone to certain genetic diseases. The report will determine your dog’s dominant breeds, so you can better understand his personality and why he acts the way he does. This test takes about 3-4 weeks and the results are presented via email.
- Cost: can run about $70 USD
Where to Buy Dog DNA Tests
You can buy the DNA tests directly from the labs online or even from Amazon. You can also find dog DNA test Petsmart and other pet shops. As you can see, there are many options when it comes to testing your dog’s DNA. When choosing which test to use, be sure to consider the information you’d like to learn about your fur baby’s DNA. Do you want to only know his breed(s), or would you like to more about his health and predisposition for certain genetic diseases? Use our guide to help choose the best DNA test for your dog!
Here’s What You Need to Know about Dog DNA Tests
Before testing your fur baby’s DNA, there are a few things to keep in mind. While commercial dog DNA tests have been around for a while (the early 2000s), the science is still evolving. The main purpose of most dog DNA tests is to help you determine what breed or mix of breeds makes up your unique pup. If you’ve adopted a shelter pup, you may be curious to know what his lineage could be. Not only that, but you may wonder what exactly makes him tick—why does he act the way he does? DNA tests may be able to give you those answers. DNA tests may also let you know what your new puppy’s height/weight will be when he becomes an adult. That’s helpful information!
Dog DNA test accuracy can be good; however, it depends on the size of the database used by specific dog DNA companies. The larger the database, the more accurate your dog’s DNA test results will be. This makes sense—the more breeds a DNA company has in its database, the larger the sample size, then the more DNA types it uses to see which breed(s) make up your fur baby! In other words, the larger the database, the more accurate your pup’s test will be. It’s also important to note that there are different types of DNA tests. Some tests focus only on what breed mix the dog is, while others may offer an additional look at your pup’s predisposition for certain genetic diseases.
How Do Dog DNA Tests Work?
Doggie DNA home tests are bought as kits that you can find online or in pet shops, etc. The kits typically contain instructions on how to obtain the DNA sample and a swab (or two) used to gather the sample. The kit usually also contains a container for the swab (to keep the swab free from contamination) and a prepaid shipping container you use to send the sample to the doggie DNA company. All of you have to do is follow the directions that come with the kit. You’ll have to take the swab and place it inside your dog’s mouth in the cheek area. Then twirl the swab around for the recommended time (about 15 seconds or so—follow the kit’s directions). You may then need to let the swab dry, and seal it in the included swab packaging, and then use the prepaid container to send back to the DNA company. After that, (depending on the company), you may receive an email letting you know your fur baby’s DNA sample has arrived.
The next steps will be carried out by the company, and after about 2-4 weeks you’ll receive a link to the company’s website where you can see the test results, or the company may send you a letter with all your pup’s DNA information. That’s it—the process is simple and painless for your dog and you may gain some important insights into his genetic makeup, including breed and the possibility of diseases he could develop.
Be Careful of Making Health Decisions Based on Dog DNA Tests
Just because a DNA test says your dog has a genetic mutation that could lead to a specific health problem doesn’t necessarily mean he will definitely develop that problem in the future. Many people mistakenly believe that commercial dog DNA tests can be used to make healthcare decisions about their pets. While this is somewhat true, you need to understand exactly what the test are saying about your pup.
DNA markers for specific genetic diseases can be picked up during DNA testing. This can be a good thing in that you’re receiving information about possible medical issues your dog could develop. However, notice the word “could.” Just because your dog carries the specific marker for a genetic health issue doesn’t mean he definitely will develop that problem at some point during his life. It’s only an indicator that he has the possibility of developing that health issue.
This information can be helpful if you discuss it with your vet. Knowing your pet could possibly develop a health issue can be an alert of what to watch for or to check for if your dog gets sick. That’s how the DNA test results for genetic medical issues should be handled—as an alert, not as a definite prediction that your fur baby will develop a specific medial problem. So, keep this in mind if you decide to use a doggie DNA test kit that also tests for genetic mutations that can check for health issues in dogs.