DNA

Human DNA testing technology has changed our approach to ancestry, health, and relationships. So it’s no wonder many pet owners would like to use that same technology to better understand their beloved dogs. 

If you’ve ever wondered what your dog’s parents (or grandparents or great-grandparents) may have looked like, dog DNA tests can give you some idea. Even if your dog is a purebred, there may be some things you may not know about its family tree.

Dog DNA also holds valuable information about your pet’s health. Specific breeds are prone to certain health issues, but you won’t know if your dog is a carrier unless you get a test and see if they have the genetic health markers for that condition.

Our Top Dog DNA Tests 

#1 Embark Dog (Highest Reviewed & Best Overall)

#2 Wisdom Panel Premium (Popular For Mix Breeds)

#3 DNA MyDog (Best Budget-Friendly)

Choosing the Right DNA Test for Dogs

In the last five years, the popularity of dog DNA tests has risen significantly. That means more companies are competing for dog parents’ business, promising to offer your the most accurate report on your pup’s breed, genetic diseases, and more.

But which is the best dog DNA test? Any reputable company will have been developed by experts in veterinary medicine and will have a respectable track record in the pet owner community. Preferably, it will be recognized by a canine organization like the American Kennel Club or another reputable source.

But, regarding features, the best dog DNA test kit for you and your pet depends on what information you want to know most about your dog.

Read on about three of the top dog DNA tests available today. We’ve analyzed the pros, cons, and features that set each apart and made suggestions about who they might benefit most.

#1 Embark Dog DNA Test Kits: An Overview 

DNA

Developed with Cornell University and can test more than 350 dog breeds and 200 genetic diseases: Get The Best Available Pricing on Embark

Embark Dog DNA Tests give you multiple options for learning more about your dog’s genetic profile. The company claims to be the market’s most accurate dog DNA test. 

They offer tests that tell you about your dog’s breed mix, health profile, or both, and they also have a test that can help you determine your dog’s age. It offers some nice extras, like a relative finder and breed-specific support from a veterinary geneticist. 

Embark Veterinary, the company behind the tests, is a Boston-based venture founded in 2015. Both its co-founders were associated—as a professor and researcher—with Cornell University College, one of the top veterinary research colleges in America. Embark is the official DNA test of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show. 

Pros and Cons 

Pros: 

  • Quite comprehensive 
  • High accuracy
  • Screens for 250 health issues

Cons: 

  • Processing time can be lengthy
  • Somewhat pricey, especially if you get the breed estimate and health profile together 

Things To Consider When Buying an Embark DNA Test

For some dog owners, knowing their dog’s breed profile is just part of the equation. Understanding their dog’s health risks and personality traits ranks high on the list of their desires. Unfortunately, not all dog DNA companies can provide this comprehensive information, but Embark does. 

The ideal candidate for Embark DNA Test is a dog owner who is curious about their dog’s background and is ready to utilize the scientific information to make their canine’s life better by implementing preventive vet care, dietary changes, and new training methods.

People who work with dogs professionally, like breeders, trainers, and pet fosterers, could also find Embark helpful. 

Here are some more things to consider about this product: 

  • Price point: The test retails for $159 for the Breed ID and Health combination test. If you want the Breed ID test only, you’ll pay $109. There are savings if you buy more than one test or a breeder kit. Check the official site for the latest promos
  • Options: Embark presents your results differently based on whether dogs are purebred dogs or mixed breed dogs. 
  • Customer care: Embark contacts customers directly if they find a serious issue in their dog’s DNA, even before the rest of the test is complete. 

Embark DNA Test: Features & Benefits

Below are some highlights of the Embark DNA Test.

Breed Identification 

When you’re looking for a DNA test kit for your dog, the first thing you want is accuracy. Embark offers that, as it is widely considered the most accurate kit available today. With over 350 breeds in its database, it can pinpoint your dog’s admixture with reliable precision. 

Some dog DNA tests can identify basic breed groups like “hound” or “terrier” while the specifics are murky, but Embark can break your dog’s breed profile into details and goes back three generations. 

These results can be a big selling point for dog parents who are genuinely curious about their dog’s breed, are considering breeding their dog, or want to know which breed-specific personality traits their dog has. 

Health Profile 

Embark screens for over 250 health conditions, so you can have the information you need to keep your dog’s wellness on track. You can share the information with your veterinarian and create a healthcare plan to prevent and/or treat any issues.

If your dog happens to have any notable health risks, you’ll be notified by email before the rest of the test is completed. This is a thoughtful move on the part of Embark and adds to the positive customer care experience. 

Perks and Extras

In addition to having access to your dog’s breed info and health panel results, you will also be able to see your dog’s genetic matches. 

Yes, like with human DNA tests, Embark has a section where you can view your dog’s relatives. You might be surprised to find out how many live in your area. 

It’s up to you to decide what, if anything, you want to do with that information. For example, some pet parents choose to contact the owners of related dogs and set up meetups and pup playdates. 

Embark also sends its customers custom dog tags with their animal’s name on them and the Embark logo. The logo is cleverly shaped like a leaping dog made of a strand of DNA. 

Ease of Use

The Embark Dog DNA kit comes with a sponge-tipped swab and a liquid sample vial with a preservation solution. To use, you swab your dog’s cheek and seal the swab in the liquid-filled container, then mail it out in the postage-paid mailer. 

It’s a very straightforward method; the most difficult aspect of the experience is getting your dog to cooperate with the swab. The company sends instructions on making the sample collection process easier for both you and your dog. 

What Customers Are Saying About Embark 

If you do some online research as I did, you’ll find lots of people talking about Embark, and the buzz is mainly positive. 

Amazon customers testify to Embark’s accuracy and how the results helped them better understand their dogs. The few poor reviews cited slow processing times, lost samples, or the company’s inability to identify rare breeds.

>>Visit The Official Embark Site Here<<

#2 Wisdom Panel Premium: An Overview 

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Shop The Latest Specials on The Wisdom Panel Premium: Visit Official Site

Wisdom Panel Premium offers dog owners one of the most comprehensive genetic workups available. The package includes a breed ancestry assessment, a full health risk panel, and a genetic trait readout. 

Wisdom Health Genetics is a subsidiary of the Mars Corporation (yep, the candy bar makers!) and has produced canine DNA tests since 2007. 

The company foresaw the trend toward pets being viewed increasingly as a part of the family, and they knew that people would be delighted to have a genetic test available that could help them better understand their dog’s genetic traits. 

Wisdom Panel Premium might be a good choice for dog owners who don’t want to buy multiple tests for different aspects of their dog’s genetic profile. This all-in-one test takes the guesswork out of buying and can help save customers money, too. 

Pros and Cons

Pros: 

  • One kit does it all 
  • Great value for money
  • Years of experience in the market

Cons: 

  • Offers no certificate or other type of hard copy of your pet’s report
  • Results are only accessible online

Things To Consider When Buying a Wisdom Panel Premium test

Here are some more things to consider about this product: 

  • Price point: Wisdom Panel Premium retails for $129. This is a competitive price when compared with other kits. Keep in mind this kit is a comprehensive one, so you don’t have to buy separate tests for health and ancestry.
  • Turnaround time: The time between testing and results is similar to other dog DNA tests on the market, at around 2-3 weeks. However, in reviews, many pet owners who have taken tests from multiple companies mentioned that Wisdom Panel was faster. 
  • No extras: Wisdom Panel doesn’t send dog tags, certificates, or other personal keepsakes for your dog. For some pet owners, this makes the experience feel a bit cold. 

Wisdom Panel Premium: Features and Benefits 

Here are some more details on Wisdom Panel Premium. 

Breed Identification

As with many breed identification DNA tests these days, Wisdom Panel offers a full spectrum breed breakdown, drawing on over three million dog DNA samples from over 350 breeds to find your pup’s unique breed composition.

Unlike other tests, they have some special features and more in-depth breed breakdowns. They are able to identify rare breeds and can pinpoint admixtures to 1% and up to three generations back. This means they can go back to your dog’s great-grandparents.

We all know dog breeds have distinctive features like snout length, fur type, coloring, etc., but did you ever wonder how genetics played a role in making your dog look the way they do? With Wisdom Panel, you can see the genetic markers that give your dog its unique look. 

This feature is great for pet parents who have mixed breed dogs and are curious to know which of their dogs’ traits come from which side. 

Health Tests 

Canine genetic health testing is the foundation of Wisdom Panel. They claim to offer the most thorough commercial genetic health screening for dogs, with over 210 risks and conditions in their database. 

You can find out if your dog is prone to specific conditions and whether or not it’s common to their breed. You can also learn whether your dog is at risk of being resistant to certain medications. For example, some dogs who are resistant to anesthesia can have higher risks when they need surgery. 

Many dog owners aren’t sure about their dog’s age. This is especially true if they got them from a pound or rescue. Wisdom Panel can use DNA to determine your dog’s age, which can be important when planning your dog’s routine and medical care.

The report is easy to read and understand. The interactive online interface lets you learn more about each specific genetic condition or risk, so you can educate yourself on how to best help your dog. 

Perks and Extras

Wisdom Panel Premium is a fairly no-frills testing system that doesn’t offer a lot of extras with its kit. The biggest perk is probably the free veterinary consultation. 

Wisdom Panel gives customers an extra layer of support and comfort by offering a free 15-minute phone consultation with a veterinarian if your dog is found to have any genetic health risks or complications. 

For many customers, hearing a human voice giving knowledgeable, professional advice to help you manage your pet’s health and future well-being is one of the main selling points of this test. 

Wisdom Panel also offers a canine relative finder, where you can find dogs related to your dog. With over 3 million dogs in their database, the odds are good that your pup may find their brother, sister, great-grandparents, or other kin.

One more thing that sets Wisdom Panel apart from other dog DNA tests: they also offer tests for cats! So, if you are ever curious about where your feline furbaby comes from, they have you covered.

Ease of Use 

The swab time for Wisdom Panel is very short, only 15 seconds, so it’s good for those with impatient pups. 

One of the customers’ concerns about Wisdom Panel is that their testing swab differs from those in other test kits. 

Instead of a soft cotton swab, Wisdom Panel uses a bristled brush-type wand that looks similar to a mascara wand. It’s just as easy to handle, but some customers feel it’s less pleasant for their dog’s mouth. 

Aside from that, the method for collecting samples is the same as any other DNA test, and turnaround time is comparable, if not quicker.

Dog Lovers, be sure to also check out our latest posts on the SpotOn Virtual Fence and the Halo Dog Collar. 

What Customers Are Saying About Wisdom Panel 

Amazon reviews for Wisdom Panel Dog DNA test are overwhelmingly positive. The praise is aimed primarily at the test’s simplicity and speed, the company’s courteous customer service, and the accuracy of the test results.

Negative reviews tend to be caused by longer-than-expected processing times, dubious results, and those pesky mascara brush mouth swabs.

>>Visit The Official Wisdom Panel Site<<

#3 DNA MyDog: An Overview 

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Get Mixed Breed Identification, Personality Traits and More – Shop DNA My Dog

DNA MyDog works with veterinary geneticists to provide accurate, helpful DNA results relevant to several aspects of your dog’s background.

Its focus on canine ancestry—it doesn’t do disease screenings—means it’s a good option for those who only want that particular information. Read on to learn more about their special features. 

DNA MyDog was founded in 2008, making it one of the oldest commercial canine DNA companies. Its founder, Mindy Tenenbaum, launched the company in hopes of blending her education in veterinary medicine with her passion for animal rescue in a unique way. 

She felt that DNA testing could help dog parents understand more about their pets, even when those pets come from the streets, pounds, or foster homes. 

In 2020, DNA MyDog won the “Leader in Ethical Canine Genetic Testing” award from Global Health and Pharma.

Pros and Cons 

Pros: 

  • Competitive turnaround time
  • Focus on mixed breeds
  • Ethical company

Cons: 

  • No health screening package is available
  • Complaints about inaccurate results

Things To Consider When Buying a DNA MyDogTest Kit

Here are some more things to consider about this product: 

  • Price Point: The Essential Breed ID Kit sells for $79.99, and the Premium Breed ID Kit goes for 129.99. If you’re interested in an allergen screening for your dog, you can buy one for $107.99 (Hint: Check Amazon For the Latest Price)
  • Results display: Rather than showing your dog’s breed makeup pie chart style, as most DNA companies do, DNA MyDog displays the information in levels, with Level One representing your dog’s primary breeds, Level Two its secondary breeds,                    and so on, up to four levels. 
  • Values: This company is dedicated to helping unwanted and abused animals, and they work with rescues across the country to provide free and low-cost genetic tests to dogs in need.

DNA MyDog: Features & Benefits

Check out the sections below for more information on DNA MyDog.

Breed Identification 

This is the primary feature of DNA MYDog. The company is proud of its track record of accuracy, and they believe that presenting a dog’s breed mix as levels rather than percentages gives consumers a clearer picture of how each breed’s traits may manifest in their dog. 

Because DNA MyDog was designed for everyday rescue dogs, street dogs, and family pets, it detects the makeup of dogs with high genetic diversity. Their Premium Breed ID test is the only test of its kind that can detect non-canine DNA, so it can tell you if your pup is part gray wolf or coyote. 

Health Tests 

As previously noted, DNA MyDog does not offer a complete health report that detects markers for health risks. Dog owners who want a full genetic health panel of that kind will have to go with another company. However, DNA MyDog does offer some basic health information. 

The Essential Breed ID Kit and the Premium Breed ID Kit include a breakdown of the health risks common in your dog’s breed (or breeds). The Premium Breed ID Kit also includes an estimate of your dog’s genetic age, which is different from their chronological age. 

Genetic age is determined by measuring the length of the telomeres in your dog’s DNA. Telomeres are similar to protective caps, and they’re found at the ends of chromosomes. Shorter telomeres mean a genetically older dog.

Knowing this information can help you understand your dog’s projected lifespan and give you an idea of how you may be able to help extend its life and quality of life.

If you opt for the company’s Allergy Test kit, your dog will be screened for over 120 different environmental, food, and household allergens. 

This can be an excellent product for pet owners whose dogs have symptoms like itching, tummy troubles, or sneezing that come and go without any apparent cause. DNA MyDog’s test helps pinpoint allergens and offers valuable care and management tips you can discuss with your veterinarian. 

Perks and Extras

DNA My Dog provides customers with a printed certificate that shows their dog’s breed ancestry results. This certificate can include a photo of the dog and is suitable for framing and display. 

Ever wonder how to best bond with your dog? This can be a question for any dog owner, but particularly for those who have a rescue dog. DNAMyDog offers bonding tips based on your dog’s genetic profile. 

DNA MyDog is one of the few companies currently offering a Deceased Dog DNA test. They will test your deceased dog’s toys and other items to determine its breed admixture. 

This option can mean a lot to pet parents who never got the chance to know their dog’s breed composition before it passed away. 

Ease of Use

The test kit from DNA My Dog is easy to use. The swab time is 20 seconds for each cheek, which is a shorter swab time than other tests. Every second counts when you have a wiggly dog! 

They provide everything you need for the swabbing procedure, including the mailer to send it in and instructions on how to swab your dog for best results. They don’t use liquid vials, which makes for a quicker procedure. 

What Customers Are Saying About DNA MyDog 

Amazon reviews for DNA MyDog are mixed. Some customers who weren’t pleased with their dog’s results complained that the results could not possibly apply to their dog. For example, a 15-pound, long-haired dog’s breed breakdown comes back as mainly American Pit Bull Terrier.

The positive reviews include heartwarming stories about customers learning the breed mix of their beloved rescue dogs or confirming what they already knew about their dog’s parentage. 

>>Check Latest Pricing on DNA My Dog<<

Conclusion

Embark Dog DNA Test is often cited in comparisons around the Internet as the best overall due to its wide range of services and streamlined technology. Still, the other two tests reviewed here have many notable merits and positive reviews of their own. 

Ultimately, the best dog DNA test is the one that you feel most comfortable with and that serves you and your dog’s needs. Check out our other top dog articles such as the best wireless fences, best portable fences, and best gps trackers for dogs.