With a canine DNA testing kit, you can identify hereditary conditions in your dog, such as congenital night blindness, which is caused by a mutation of the RPE65 gene. It will also allow you to establish your dog’s parentage, should you need to know it.
Considering most people don’t regularly purchase DNA testing kits, finding the perfect one can seem like a challenge. In this article, we’re going to be looking at four of the most reliable dog DNA tests on the market today, all to simplify the buying process and put you on the fast track to doggy DNA success.
Top 4 Dog DNA Test Comparison Chart
Best Dog DNA Test Reviews
1. Embark Dog DNA Test
Embark is the brainchild of a team of veteran veterinarians, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Embark Dog DNA Test is considered to be among the best on the market.
When your results are ready, they will be delivered to you via an online interactive guide.
Comprehensive without being complicated, this guide will dissect the findings of your dog’s test and present you with an easy-to-follow chart listing the various breeds found in their DNA and detailing the most common personality traits of each.
The breed identification capabilities of the Embark Dog DNA test are virtually second to none. Embark has more than 150 breeds in its database, including wolf and coyote, and can trace your dog’s DNA as far back as its great-grandparents with almost 100% accuracy.
The Embark Dog DNA Test will examine 100 times more of your dog’s genes than the average store-bought test.
By widening the scope of its testing by such a great extent, Embark has the potential to detect over 160 genetic diseases, including dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), exercise-induced collapse (EIC), and degenerative myelopathy (DM).
- BREED IDENTIFICATION: Embark screens for over 250 dog breeds. 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 170+ 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.
What's to like about the Embark Dog DNA Test
One of our favorite things about the Embark Dog DNA Test is how easy it is to use.
Given that it offers such in-depth results, you’d think that the process of actually extracting the DNA sample from your dog would be more complicated than simply swabbing the inside of their mouth, but this test follows the same simple process of less expensive alternatives and blends it beautifully with Embark’s exclusive sizeable database.
The aforementioned vet report may very well prove to be a life-saving feature of the Embark Dog DNA Test.
The Embark team carefully crafts the document to ensure that the most crucial findings are prominently presented, thereby allowing your veterinarian to alter their files on your dog accordingly.
What's not to like about the Embark Dog DNA Test
If, for whatever reason, you need record of your dog’s allergies and hereditary conditions ASAP, the Embark Dog DNA Test probably isn’t the best way to go.
As a consequence of the sheer comprehensiveness of Embark’s investigation, the results of the test can take close to two months to arrive, whereas some less in-depth (though still useful) dog DNA testing kits will have their findings to you in half that time.
2. Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test
“Dogs can’t talk, but their DNA can.” So goes the motto of the good folks at Wisdom Health. If a dog’s DNA can indeed talk, the DNA of your dog will likely be screaming at you through the wide-ranging results of this affordable yet in-depth canine DNA test.
The major perk of the Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test is that Mars Veterinary, the company responsible for compiling the results of each submission, has the largest breed database of any canine DNA testing lab in the world.
An industry leader, Mars Veterinary boasts more than 250 breeds in its collection. The Mars Veterinary breeds database is so extensive, in fact, that it includes 99% of the breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club.
Dogs with a mutation of the MDR1 gene are unable to tolerate certain commonly used drugs, including some brands of sedatives, painkillers, and even chemotherapy medication. Unless a veterinarian is specifically told otherwise, they will most likely administer an MDR1 drug when necessary without even thinking about it, so it is imperative that you determine if your dog is sensitive to such drugs.
Products under the Wisdom Panel umbrella offer MDR1 drug sensitivity screening, making it the only officially licensed series of canine DNA tests to offer the service in the United States.
As an additional feature, Mars Veterinary will use the results of your dog’s DNA test to formulate an adult weight range prediction.
This can subsequently be used as a guide when planning your dog’s meals to ensure you are making the right dietary choices and that they are getting the nutrition they need.
- 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.
What's to like about the Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test
One of the major advantages of the Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test is its price.
While it certainly isn’t what anybody would consider “a steal,” it promises almost all the benefits of something like the Embark Dog DNA Test for a fraction of the cost, trumping virtually all other dog DNA tests in its price range in the process.
For just over $70, you unlock the ability to trace your dog’s ancestry back three generations and across 250 plus breeds.
What we love not just about the Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test, but about Mars Veterinary products in general, is that the company’s customer care team is steadfast in its dedication and will be almost as loyal to you as your dog itself.
If there is something in your report that you don’t fully understand, somebody on the Mars Veterinary customer care team will be there to talk you through it.
What's not to like about the Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test
One of the most commonly reported flaws of the Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test is that the results can be frustratingly vague.
While the test is able to determine the presence of upwards of 250 genes, result reports often simply list “30% mixed breed” and avoid going into detail regarding the breeds that make up that percentage.
3. Canine HealthCheck Dog Genetic DNA Disease & Trait Test Kit
Taking us up a price range, though still not quite as high as the Embark Dog DNA Test, is the Canine HealthCheck Dog Genetic DNA Disease & Trait Test Kit.
Inside the quaint packaging, you will find all the wonders of modern canine DNA testing, giving you everything you require for a comprehensive study of your best friend’s health without the need for veterinary intervention.
With the Canine HealthCheck Dog Genetic DNA Disease & Trait Test Kit, you will receive two sterile swabs. A lot of the most popular dog DNA test kits include only a single sterile swab as a means of encouraging customers to purchase a second unit, which calls their integrity and dedication to the cause into question.
Even if you are only planning to investigate the DNA of a single dog, you’ll appreciate the second cotton swab should something go wrong the first time you attempt to obtain a DNA sample from your dog.
The Canine HealthCheck Dog Genetic DNA Disease & Trait Test Kit is arguably the best dog DNA test kit on the market for discovering and identifying diseases and defects in your dog’s DNA.
As well as pinpointing any allergies and conditions your dog may be suffering from, it will determine if your dog is a carrier of any of the 150 plus diseases listed in the Canine HealthCheck database, which will prove an invaluable resource if you’re considering breeding your dog.
Nobody can deny that the Canine HealthCheck team cares a great deal about their customers.
When you purchase the Canine HealthCheck Dog Genetic DNA Disease & Trait Test Kit, you will find included in the kit a prepaid USPS label, so you can return the kit to the lab the moment you have attained a DNA sample from your four-legged friend without having to spend any extra money.
- Screen your dog for over 150 dog diseases and traits from the comfort of your home
- Simply swab the inside of your dog's mouth for 30 seconds and send us back the swab in the pre-paid return kit
- Test results indicate whether your dog is a carrier for any of the 150 diseases tested and are available online within 7-10 business days from date of receipt
- Canine genetic screen kit includes: 2 sterile swabs, a prepaid USPS return label, and detailed instructions on how to properly collect the sample
- Please note: This is NOT a DNA Breed Test, you are ordering a Genetic Screening for 150 canine diseases
What's to like about the Canine HealthCheck Dog Genetic DNA Disease & Trait Test Kit
One of our favorite features of the Canine HealthCheck Dog Genetic DNA Disease & Trait Test Kit is the super short turnaround time the company promises for the return of results.
Canine HealthCheck promises to deliver the results of your dog’s DNA test to you within 7-10 business days, displaying them in your online account as soon as they are ready for viewing.
As with a child, it is essential that you determine any allergies or conditions your dog may be suffering from as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, many dog DNA tests are suitable only for use on canines of a certain age, making them unsuitable for newborn puppies.
The Canine HealthCheck Dog Genetic DNA Disease & Trait Test Kit, however, is suitable for puppies aged six weeks and up, so you won’t have to worry about inadvertently making your dog ill with dietary guesswork.
What's not to like about the Canine HealthCheck Dog Genetic DNA Disease & Trait Test Kit
While the Canine HealthCheck Dog Genetic DNA Disease & Trait Test Kit is perfect for establishing faults in your dog’s genes, it does not, unfortunately, offer breed identification and so will not give you any information on your dog’s lineage.
4. Wisdom Panel 2.5 Canine DNA Test Kit
This is another in Mars Veterinary’s series of Wisdom Panel canine DNA test kits and serves to further the reputation of excellence cultivated by the previous Mars Veterinary product.
With many of the features of its predecessor and more, this is the Wisdom Panel 2.5 Canine DNA Test Kit.
Much like the 3.0, the Wisdom Panel 2.5 Canine DNA Test Kit will provide you with an adult weight range prediction along with the results of your test, so you’ll know which areas of your dog’s diet are lacking and if they are capable of digesting the grains used in the manufacturing of most mainstream brands of dog food (these grains pose a surprising challenge to a surprisingly high number of breeds).
Unlike the Canine HealthCheck Dog Genetic DNA Disease & Trait Test Kit, which goes for quite a bit more, the Wisdom Panel 2.5 Canine DNA Test Kit will provide you with a detailed breakdown of your dog’s ancestry, covering its genetic background in an official report that will be crafted and sent to your provided email address the moment the lab finishes its inspection of your dog’s DNA sample.
As Mars Veterinary itself explains, these breed insights will help you develop a greater rapport with your dog and formulate a training program centered around their instincts and personality.
Again, like the Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test Kit, this product provides officially licensed MDR1 drug sensitivity screening, which could prove to be the difference between a healthy dog and the unthinkable.
- With a simple cheek swab, you can uncover DNA-based insights that may help you understand your dog's unique appearance, behaviors and wellness needs
- MDR1 testing; Direct testing for the mutant MDR1 gene (multi drug sensitivity); Results can assist in the prevention of serious adverse drug reactions
- Adult weight range prediction to help you make appropriate nutrition and diet choices
- Breed insights to help you provide a better training program, understand behavior
- You will be emailed an official Ancestry Report revealing your dog's a genetic background
What's to like about the Wisdom Panel 2.5 Canine DNA Test Kit
As well as providing a meticulously researched study of your dog’s genetics and ancestry, the folks at Mars Veterinary will present you with an official certificate to confirm that your beloved pet was formally examined by the Wisdom Panel 2.5 Canine DNA Test Kit.
Certain dog DNA test kits require you to submit all sorts of supposedly essential information along with the necessary saliva sample, including age, weight, and sometimes even a picture of the dog you are having tested.
With Mars Veterinary, however, you’ll be asked for minimal information and will rarely have to send on anything beyond the DNA-drenched swabs and your dog’s weight at the time of testing.
What's not to like about the Wisdom Panel 2.5 Canine DNA Test Kit]
As mentioned a couple of entries back, Mars Veterinary has the most extensive breed database of any canine DNA testing laboratory in operation today.
Unfortunately, if you want to make use of the full 250 plus breeds in the Mars Veterinary library, you’ll have to go with the Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test Kit. The 2.5 will grant you access to a significant portion of the lab’s database, but will not detect coyote or wolf DNA.
Buying for your pet is always a challenge because you’re not just looking for the product that is right for you. That’s important, sure, but you also have a responsibility to choose the product that is right for them, especially when you’re purchasing something as potentially lifesaving as a DNA test.
You are totally justified in basing your final decision on your budget, but you should, if possible, spend a little bit extra for a more comprehensive test, one that will pick up certain allergies and conditions that a less expensive alternative would fail to detect.
You should also strive to find a DNA test that is relatively easy to administer, so you don’t cause your dog avoidable stress when trying to obtain a sampling of their DNA.
An easy-to-use DNA test will also have its advantages for you as it won’t take up too much of your time and you won’t have to spend hours sitting in anticipation with your swab in hand, just waiting for your dog’s head to loll in a certain direction so you can move in.
You should take the depth of each dog DNA test into account before making a final decision as to which you are going to purchase. Some of the tests listed in this article will establish any faults in your dog’s DNA while also providing you with an insight into its ancestors.
Others, however, will only do one of those two things. Decide what you need to know – or would like to know – about your dog and from there establish which of the available dog DNA tests offer the necessary range.
It’s important to remember that “most expensive” rarely, if ever, equates to “best,” especially with dog DNA tests. You may very well be able to find a dog DNA test that meets all of your requirements without taking you over budget, so avoid spending just for the sake of it.
Some dog DNA tests take longer to process their results than others.
The more information a test promises to reveal about your dog and its genes, the longer it is going to take to come back from the lab, so if you go with a test designed to establish both allergies and ancestry, you should be prepared to spend a couple of weeks – maybe even a couple of months – waiting for the results to come back.
How much should I expect to spend?
While you shouldn’t let money be the deciding factor in which dog DNA test you purchase, we understand the importance of keeping costs down, especially in these increasingly trying economic times.
Dog DNA tests run through a variety of price ranges, with some going as high as $200. Thankfully, it is possible to get a quality test kit for less than $100, but not much less, mind you. It is our advice that you budget at least $80.
How can I obtain a DNA sample from my dog?
Most of the dog DNA tests designed for home use include a cotton swab so you can obtain a DNA sample from your dog simply by wiping it across the inside of their cheek.
Some kits offer multiple methods of DNA extraction, such as blood and umbilical cord samples, but they are more complicated and often require professional assistance.
Why do I need to know my dog’s ancestry?
Other than pure curiosity, there is a very legitimate reason why you should concern yourself with your dog’s ancestry. A properly formulated ancestry report will let you know the various breeds that make up your dog’s parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents.
This will alert you to possible negative personality traits lying dormant in your dog before they have a chance to manifest themselves in the form of biting your nephew or brutalizing your other pets.
How long will it take for the results to come back?
As mentioned in the previous section, the turnaround time for the results of your test will depend on which test you purchase.
DNA tests that are intended to establish conditions and allergies will take in or around ten days to come back while more comprehensive alternatives have been known to take two months, sometimes even longer.
Should I pass the results on to my vet?
When sending you your results, many of the higher-end dog DNA tests will include a specially crafted veterinarian's report that can be handily forwarded to your vet for their examination.
If those in charge of your dog’s DNA test results do not include such a report, you should be sure to pass the results on to your veterinarian yourself, especially if you discover a fault in your dog’s genes or a sensitivity to MDR1 drugs.
Although they certainly don’t fall into the realm of everyday pet care, dog DNA tests exist in large quantities and there is no shortage of options for the genetics-conscious dog owner.
Each of the tests featured on this list has something unique to offer, but we are firmly of the belief that the most rounded and comprehensive of the four is the Embark Dog DNA Test.
The Embark Dog Test promises a level of accuracy previously unattainable with home dog DNA tests. This, combined with the brand’s vast database of breeds and rigorous testing, makes the Embark Dog Test worth every penny.
If you can’t – or aren’t willing – to drop the almost $200 that the Embark Dog DNA Test goes for, you can achieve similar results with the Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test, which won’t set you back more than $100.
The Wisdom panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test compares DNA samples against a larger breed database than the Embark alternative, so it’s no pretender to the doggy DNA throne.