5 Best Dog DNA Tests With Our 2019 Budget-Friendly Pick

You just adopted Fido from the local animal shelter. He was labeled as “mixed breed” because he is truly one of a kind. Fido’s hair is reminiscent of a terrier, but he sheds like crazy and he’s incredibly lazy. What on Earth is Fido’s breed makeup? A dog DNA test will help you find out!

Not only is it fascinating to discover your dog’s lineage, but it’s extremely beneficial for their overall health and future. Knowing Fido’s breeds will allow you to understand why he sheds, barks and sleeps like he does. And more importantly, you can even find out if he’s predisposed to any health concerns. The type of dog DNA test you choose will be determined by a number of factors.

There are only handful of reliable dog DNA tests available to pet parents, and in this article we discuss them in detail. We’ll also share how exactly a dog DNA test works and what to look for when choosing the best one for your furry friend.

5 Benefits to Using a Dog DNA Test

Most dog parents choose to use a canine DNA test kit because they are curious as to the breed make up of their beloved pup. It’s incredibly fascinating to get those test results, and to find out whether you were correct or way off in your breed assumptions. While it’s exciting to finally have answers, there are some other extremely helpful benefits to using a dog DNA test:

  1. Create an appropriate diet: Perhaps one of the most important benefits of using a dog DNA test is the results will allow you to put together an appropriate nutritional regimen for your pup. Different breeds have unique diet needs, so knowing what breeds your dog is comprised of will allow you to create a diet that will keep your canine pal happy and thriving.
  2. Know why your dog acts the way they do: Is your pup a couch potato? Do they have a strong prey drive? Does your dog love swimming? Knowing the breed(s) of your dog will determine why they do the cute, crazy things they do! You will also be able to compare basic personality traits.
  3. Prepare for potential health concerns: Some dog breeds are prone to specific health conditions. Using a dog DNA kit to determine your pup’s breeds will give you and your vet the opportunity to plan for health concerns they may experience in the future.
  4. Satisfy your curiosity: Your dog looks like they could be a mix of 10 different breeds. They are truly an all-American pup. Receiving dog DNA test results is exciting and you’ll finally be able to satisfy that nagging curiosity!
  5. Prepare for the future: When you know your dog’s breed makeup, you can better prepare for their life ahead. Many dog DNA kit results come with a personalized report which you can share with your vet to create an appropriate healthcare plan.

How does a dog DNA test work?

In the dog DNA test kit box you will receive a few items; several cotton swabs (backups are provided just in case), a tube or sleeve for transporting the swab, any necessary labels for the swab and prepaid packaging to send in the DNA sample. The box will also have very specific instructions for you to follow.

Generally the process is simple. Once you swab your dog’s cheek, package it and send it out, you will receive results in 2-3 weeks. Most dog DNA tests allow you to register online so you can view all of the results straight from your computer or smart phone. Remember that the test will be most accurate when you properly follow all instructions for getting a sufficient DNA sample.

5 Components to Consider in a Dog DNA Test

There are only a handful of dog DNA test kits on the market today. Each offers something unique. Consider these components when deciding on the best dog DNA test for your pooch:

  1. Number of breeds tested: Some dog DNA tests will scan for 200 dog breeds, while some test for 250 dog breeds and other account for 100% of AKC registered breeds.  A majority of dogs will probably be covered within a 200 dog breed count, unless you believe your dog is a descendant or a rare or newly discovered breed.
  2. Wolf or coyote ancestry: If you believe your dog may be mixed with a wolf or coyote, you’ll want to purchase a dog DNA kit that tests for such animals. The Embark DNA kit includes testing for coyote and wolf breeds.
  3. Specific health screening: Certain dog DNA tests will also screen for potential drug allergies or potential genetic conditions. Not all DNA tests offer the same services, but you have the ability to choose the best kit for your pet parent needs.
  4. Reliability: You will get what you pay for when you choose a dog DNA test kit. Embark and Wisdom Panel can be pricey, but they are going to be the most reliable options.
  5. Results turn around: Receiving your dog’s DNA test results can take up to 4 weeks, but some tests only take about 2 weeks. We know you’re anxious to find out what breeds make up our furry friend, so consider the turnaround time when purchasing a canine DNA test kit.

Overall Best Dog DNA Test

Embark DNA & Ancestry Identification Dog DNA Test Kit

Key Benefits:

  • Screens for over 165 genetic conditions
  • Tests for over 200 dog breeds as well as coyote and wolf
  • Accepted by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
  • Considers over 200,000 genetic markers to provide an accurate analysis

The Embark DNA test kit is by far the best DNA test available to pet parents. It examines more than 100 times as many genetic markers as other test kits. Embark was developed by experts in partnership with Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine. It’s backed by extensive research and proven accuracy to bring dog parents the most specific results possible.

The Embark dog DNA test kit will screen your pup for over 165 genetic conditions with a simple swab of their cheek. It scans for over 200 dog breeds as well as wolf, coyote and village dog ancestry. This test kit comes with everything you need, including prepaid postage to send your dog’s DNA swab to the lab. When results come in, you’ll receive a full Vet Report, which you can share with your veterinary to create a personalized plan for your dog’s health.

Pros:

  • The most reliable and specific dog DNA test kit available
  • Tests for coyote, wolf and village dog ancestry
  • Examines over 200,000 genetic markers
  • Tests for over 160 genetic conditions

Cons:

  • While the Embark DNA test kit is the best out there, it’s also the most expensive.

Wisdom Panel 3.0 Breed Identification Dog DNA Test Kit

Key Benefits:

  • Tests for over 250 dog breeds
  • Opt to run tests for a mixed-breed, purebred or designer dog
  • Includes MDR1 genetic mutation testing to check for drug resistances
  • Comes with a customized report within 2-3 weeks

Runner-Up Best Dog DNA Test – Wisdom Panel is a great dog DNA test which evaluates your pup for over 250 breeds. The test will trace up to three generations of your dog’s ancestry. This particular Wisdom Panel DNA kit will test for multidrug resistances so you can be aware of potential adverse reactions to medications when your pup receives veterinary care. You will also receive an adult weight prediction for your dog, allowing you to help you make the best nutritional choices for them.

There are two types of Wisdom Panel DNA test kits, but this one is less expensive and you still get all of the necessary information you’re looking for. The end result will give you a customized report and family tree, along with the information from the MDR1 genetic mutation test. DNA test results will come in about 2-3 weeks after sending your dog’s cheek swab in the mail via prepaid postage. Wisdom Panel is a trusted and reliable dog DNA test, and it’s recommended highly by other pet parents.

Pros:

  • Less expensive than the Embark DNA test
  • Tests for over 250 breeds
  • MDR1 genetic mutation testing to predict drug allergies
  • Results offer an adult weight prediction

Cons:

  • This DNA kit doesn’t test for other potential species like coyotes or wolves

DNA My Dog Breed Identification Test Kit

Key Benefits:

  • Affordable
  • Gain insight into the traits and exercise levels of your dog’s breed(s)
  • Results in less than 2 weeks
  • Offers the percentage of every breed in your dog

Best Budget-Friendly Dog DNA Test – The DNA My Dog DNA test kit is the most cost-effective option on our list. It will give you all of the basic information that you’re looking for in terms of your pup’s breeds and ancestry. This test does not test for wolf breeds like the Embark test does, but it will give you basic insight into your dog’s heritage.

This DNA test kit is fairly basic, but it will get the job done. Results won’t be as detailed and specific as Wisdom Panel and Embark, as you get what you pay for. If you’re generally curious about your dog’s breed makeup, the DNA My Dog kit will offer you that information.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Quick results
  • Find out the percentages of each breed in your pup

Cons:

  • Not as reliable as other tests
  • Will not give as specific, detailed results as other dog DNA test kits

More Top Dog DNA Tests

Wisdom Panel Breed & Health Identification Dog DNA Test Kit

Wisdom Panel offers two different DNA test kits – the one we listed above, and this one, which tests for genetic health conditions. It screens for over 140 disease-causing genetic mutations. These results will allow you to build an appropriate nutrition and exercise regimen for your dog based on their predispositions. The genetic health conditions testing will give you an indication of the severity of potential health concerns. Like our top Wisdom Panel DNA test kit, this one scans for over 250 dog breeds, types and varieties. It will also indicate whether your dog is a purebred, mixed breed or designer dog.

Find My Pet Dog DNA Test Kit

This dog DNA test from Find My Pet is another fairly simple option. It tests for 100% of AKC recognized breeds, identifying your dog’s ancestry back to their great-grandparents. The test results will indicate whether your dog has any predisposed health ailments so you can work with your vet to create a plan moving forward. Results from this dog DNA test kit take about 3-4 weeks to receive, unlike others which will provide results more quickly. Find My Pet canine DNA test kit is made in the USA and backed by world class customer service.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do dog DNA tests show age? – Dog DNA tests do not offer an age estimate. Your vet can help you determine how old your dog is by generally examining their teeth. There are also genetic age tests for dogs available, but their reliability is unknown.
  • How can you tell if your dog is part wolf? – The Embark DNA & Ancestry Identification test will test to see if your dog has any wolf or coyote in them! Not all DNA tests have the ability to test for these animals, so you will need to specifically purchase the Embark test to see if your dog is part wolf.
  • Are dog DNA tests painful? – Dog DNA tests kits require a simple cheek swab with a Q-tip, which is provided in each kit. It’s painless! No blood or needles involved!
  • How much does a dog DNA test cost? – Dog DNA tests cost anywhere from $45 to $200 depending on which test you choose. You will get what you pay for with dog DNA tests, so it’s probably best to make an investment in a more expensive test like Embark or Wisdom Panel.
  • Does a dog DNA test include their ancestry? – Yes! DNA test can detect as far back as your dog’s great-grandparents. Most dog DNA test results come with a pedigree layout so you can view the potential breed(s) of your pup’s parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. The process is entirely fascinating!

Conclusion

Dog DNA tests are excellent tools for satisfying your curiosity, but most importantly they can give you helpful information on how to care for your dog based on their breeds. Your dog’s health is priority, and knowing your pup’s breed makeup will allow you to give your dog the best life possible!

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