Fifteen years ago, dog DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) tests were primarily a novelty that enabled genotype research facilities to generate additional revenue. Since then, dog DNA tests have become increasingly popular, affordable, and accurate. Aside from ancestral breakdown by breed, DNA test centers may reveal whether a dog has a medical predisposition to a genetic disease.
DNA tests can also be used to confirm that a purebred dog was, in fact, purely bred. DNA test reports offer particulars on behavioral tendences, history, and unique traits of different breeds. As dog owners strive to fulfill longer, happier, and healthier lives for their companions, dog DNA tests have become a notable strand in achieving that goal.
How do dog DNA tests work? – Order a test kit from Amazon or Chewy, then collect a sample from inside your dog’s cheek using the provided swab (skin cells in the cheek contain white blood cells with your dog’s DNA). Mail the sample to the laboratory, and in about 2–4 weeks, exciting results will arrive by email.
What is the cost range of dog DNA tests? – High-quality DNA tests cost from $70 to $200. Visiting your vet is not compulsory for a DNA test since cheek-swab DNA sampling is easy to complete at home. Testing companies offer discounts when one customer is testing for multiple dogs.
Types of Dog DNA Tests
There are heaps of choices, but here is a brief rundown of 6 top-rated ancestry tests for dogs. The first two are free apps, and the remaining four are analytical laboratories.
THE DOG KEY – A free app used to determine breed types. Results do not guarantee the exact dog’s behavior or heritage, but it’s a quick and free test. The Dog Key determines which job your pet was bred for by analyzing physical traits such as weight, ear shape, tail and body type, and coat length.
I completed the Dog Key test for Duncan while writing this article, and his result was “Scent Hound.” According to the results, he is very outgoing and friendly with people and other dogs. He is also emotional, fun, impulsive, a hunter, and dramatic. All of this is true!
DOG SCANNER – Mobile software that can identify the breed of a dog from a single photo uploaded into the app. Results are completed in seconds. There is a feature to this app that allows users to run a comparison photo of their human friends. Dog Scanner will pair a human photo to a dog breed based on morphological features.
Free Dog DNA Tests provide an indefinite determination of breed, and are fun to use. However, to learn about your dog’s DNA, lineage, and potential medical conditions, invest in a test kit that analyzes genomic material.
EMBARK – Breed Identification Kit – The most highly-rated dog DNA test kit on Amazon. It uses a research-grade genotyping platform developed in conjunction with Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Embark compares your dog’s DNA with over 350 breeds, including dingo, coyote, wolf, and street dogs. It also tests for over 200 genetic diseases, including glaucoma, dilated cardiomyopathy, MDR1 drug sensitivity, and many others. Breed identification results are represented in percentages, and owners will receive a report on genetic relatives of their dog within the Embark’s dog breed database. DNA results are returned within 2-4 weeks.
Embark Breed Identification Kit – $100
Embark Breed ID & Health Condition ID DNA Test for Dogs – $150
Embark DNA Test for Purebred Dogs – $200
WISDOM PANEL – Essential Dog DNA Collection Kit – With over 350 breeds in its database, including 99% of AKC-recognized breeds, Wisdom Panel is a popular choice, and their health screening covers more than 200 potential genetic conditions. Reports reveal ancestral roots back to a dog’s great-grandparents. Wisdom Panel can also help obtain breed certification for purebreds. The turnaround time for test results is 2-3 weeks.
Wisdom Panel Essential Dog DNA Collection Kit – $100
Wisdom Panel Premium Dog DNA Collection Kit – $160
DNA MY DOG – Canine Breed Identification Test Kit – While not as expensive as Embark or Wisdom Panel, results satisfy inquisitive owners who may not be concerned about a pressing medical issue. DNA My Dog has 95 different dog breeds in their database. Reports contain a list of personality traits and health concerns found in a breed mix, and results come back in 2 weeks.
DNA My Dog Canine Breed Identification Test Kit – $70
ORIVET – Geno Pet 5.0 Breed ID – Results include a Life Plan that provides support to manage your dog’s health. It also includes a health risk analysis, weight predictions, suggested dietary habits, and a schedule for vaccines. Orivet Dog DNA Test provides a complete wellness kit in addition to a dog’s genetic background.
Orivet Geno Pet 5.0 Breed Identification & Health Condition ID – $100
Embark and Wisdom Panel dog DNA tests can accurately predict a dog’s breed at 90-95%, and the assessment unveils a dog’s breed mix as a percentage breakdown processed from a database of 350 dog breeds.
While these tests may be accurate, breed information is primarily provided for its entertainment value. However, they also foster a superior understanding of mixed-breed dogs that will be useful as you socialize, train, and exercise your best friend throughout their lifetime.
Disease gene information should only be acted upon in consultation with a veterinarian to identify what drugs and procedures are safe for your dog.
Dog DNA tests divulge which genes a dog may carry, but not display. Knowledge of dominant and recessive genes enable breeders to consider ramifications as they compare results from sires and dams.
Although top-rated dog DNA testing companies make every effort to maintain a high level of quality control, dog DNA tests are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA does not monitor the quality of dog DNA tests as they do with human DNA tests.
Featured photo – Duncan the lab-hound mix.