Compare the best dog DNA testing kits in 2022
What is a dog DNA test kit?
Curious about your dog’s breed and ancestry? You need a dog DNA test. With just a simple swab of the inside of your pooch’s cheek, these marvels of technology can tell you what percentage of which breeds are in its genetic makeup.
What can dog DNA tests tell you about your dog’s health?
Many DNA tests check for markers of genetic health conditions. If one is present in your pup, the test will let you know. Plus, since some dog breeds are more prone to particular health problems than others (pugs can have breathing issues, for instance, while some retrievers are more prone to cancers), knowing your dog’s breed can help you stay on the lookout and treat them quickly should they occur.
Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test review
- 350+ breed database
- Results include weight range predictions for your dog’s mix
- Great customer service
- Testers report very high accuracy
- Long-ish turnaround time
- Not the cheapest
- Bristly swabbing can irritate your dog’s gums
Wisdom Panel offers an excellent dog DNA test. The database it tests against is nice and broad, and, best of all, service testers report extremely accurate results – including possibly identifying your dog’s ancestry back to its great-grandparents where it has the data. It’s an excellent choice for truly mysterious mixed breeds, especially as a number of rare breeds are included. All that doesn’t come cheap, though, and bear in mind too that the particularly bristly swab can irritate your poor pup’s gums.
Read the full review of Wisdom Panel’s DNA kit here.
Embark Breed + Health Dog DNA Test review
- 350 breed database
- Tests for 190+ genetic health conditions
- Interactive online portal that may let you connect to your pup’s relatives
- Excellent customer service
- It’s expensive
- Long turnaround time
Embark’s doggy DNA test offering is a fantastic all-rounder – it has a large breed database to test against, can test for a whopping 190+ genetic health conditions, and for peace of mind its customer service is reportedly excellent too. One particularly intriguing feature is its amazing online portal: not only can you see all your dog’s test results and info in one easy-to-use place, you can also connect with its relatives if Embark has their data too. Again, though, this isn’t a cheap test, and turnaround time isn’t the quickest.
Read the full review of Embark’s DNA kit here.
DNA My Dog Canine DNA Test review
- Great value
- Very quick turnaround time
- Optional health screening reports
- Easy to use
- 100 breed database – smaller than most
- Some testers report lower accuracy
- Postage not included
DNA My Dog has a wholesome mission: accessible canine DNA tests that don’t cost the world, and give you fast results. If you’re interested in finding your dog’s breed more out of curiosity than any major concerns, this is the one to go for. Bear in mind, however, that it keeps costs down by testing against a smaller database of the most common breeds – if Rex has a rare breed in his mix, it may not show up.
Orivet Mixed-Breed Identification and Life Plan dog DNA test kit review
- Medium sized breed database of 220+
- Tests for 150+ health conditions
- Tests up to three generations of ancestry
- Some testers report low accuracy
- Slow turnaround time
The mid-range Orivet test has a good-sized database of 220 breeds, which they’re working on upgrading – meaning the test will spot the majority of breeds. You’ll also get good health testing, with 150+ conditions checked for, and an easy-to-understand report that puts it all together for you. If you don’t think DNA My Dog will give you the accuracy you need, but don’t want to spend a bomb either, Orivet offers a good middle-ground.
Mixed-Breed Identification Test kit
Determine the breeds that make up your dog. Discover genetic health secrets. Gain insights into your dog’s personality and behaviour.
If you’re willing to splash out just a little more, the results are worth it. The Embark Breed + Health Dog DNA Test gets the crown from us; though it costs more, the test is all-encompassing with a huge breed database. Plus, the online portal goes the extra mile, letting you potentially link up with Fido’s relatives.
However, for highest accuracy, you may prefer the supremely accurate Wisdom Panel test – the main drawback being that the cheek swab can irritate dogs’ mouths.
If cheap ‘n’ cheerful is what you’re looking for, on the other hand, the DNA My Dog test is perfectly decent.
How does a dog DNA test kit work?
- You take a swab from your dog’s mouth, which contains a small amount of doggy cells.
- Once it’s sent off to the lab, technicians will manually process the sample to extract DNA from the cells.
- The lab looks for markers in your dog’s DNA that indicate the genes of different dog breeds. If a health test is included, it’ll also look for markers of various genetic conditions.
- A computer algorithm looks at the results, and calculates how much of each different breed the DNA matches, and how prone they are to the health conditions.
- You’re sent your results in the post – or in the company’s online portal.
Is it a blood or swab DNA test?
Almost all dog DNA test kits on the market use a swab from the inside of your dog’s cheek. There’s no need to get a sample of Rover’s blood.
What can I find out from a dog DNA test?
Canine DNA tests look for two main things: your dog’s breed(s), and potential health problems lying in their genetics. If you have a mixed-breed pup from a shelter, for instance, a test can discover which breeds are in its lineage. If you choose a health test too, it’ll also check for a number of genetic diseases or illnesses, as well as help you learn any breed-based conditions your dog may be predisposed to.
Key benefits of a dog DNA test
One benefit of dog DNA tests is to find out once and for all what breed your pooch is. They’re great for satisfying that curiosity, and better understanding its temperament and behaviour. An even bigger benefit, however, is for your dog’s health. Potential genetics-based health problems can be identified from its DNA – and if your dog gets sick at some point, the DNA health test will have already ruled out certain issues.
Limitations of dog DNA tests
A DNA test can’t tell you everything, sadly. Each company is limited by the size of its breed database, so some rare breeds won’t be tested for. DNA is also rather complicated – some breeds in your pup’s lineage might not show up on the test, and the more mixed the breed is, the less accurate results are. Some tests can even report a percentage of “mixed breed unknown”… which is a frustrating result to spend £150 on.
On the health side, there’s only so much we can tell from DNA. Though a test can certainly help identify some conditions, it’s only testing for specific genetic ones – your dog could still develop (or have) a different kind of illness.
How much does a dog DNA test cost?
A dog DNA test usually costs between £50-£150. It can vary depending on what it tests for, how in-depth the test is, and the size of the dog breed database it’s testing against. A more expensive test will generally be more accurate – and will often also cover health checks.
When looking at the cost of dog DNA tests, bear in mind too that postage isn’t always included.
No, it can’t. A DNA test can only tell you information about your dog’s genetic makeup. Your vet may be able to give you a more accurate picture of your dog’s age.
That’s what a canine DNA test is for! Choose one that focuses on breed identification – the bigger the provider’s breed database, the better – and it’ll give you an assessment of what breeds show in your dog’s DNA
Not really – sending your pup’s DNA off for testing isn’t in your vet’s remit. However, they can help you collect the sample from your dog’s cheek if you need a hand doing so.