Best Dog DNA Test For Mixed Breeds 2022: [Reviews & Guide]

mixed breed dog DNA test

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This is the most comprehensive guide to finding the best dog DNA test for mixed breeds.

You are probably curious about your dog’s breed mix if you have a mutt. If so, would you like to know what breeds make up your dog?

You can find out with an at-home DNA test. Not only will you find out all the breeds in your dog’s DNA that make up your one-of-a-kind pup, but DNA dog tests are a useful and fun way to understand who your pup is and help you develop a better health plan for their future.

Dog DNA tests are becoming increasingly popular for the insightful data you can get about your canine companions and more.

Today, we show you the best dog DNA tests for mixed breeds, including pros, cons, accuracy, price and information you should know before DNA testing your dog. Let’s get started!

Top Dog DNA Test For Mixed Breeds (Our Top Picks At Glance)

Here is a quick overview of just four of our top picks (by category) for the dog DNA test for mixed breeds.

You can click here to go straight to our raw dog food reviews, but we encourage you to read the first few sections of this article to make a more educated decision when buying an at-home dog DNA test for mixed breeds.

Wisdom Panel
Best Overall

Read Review

Embark
Best Health + Breed

Read Review

Orivet
Best Value

Read Review

DNA My Dog
Best Specific Test

Read Review

What Are Dog DNA Tests?

Dog DNA testing (aka dog genetic testing) involves examining your dog’s DNA, the chemical database that carries instructions for your dog’s body functions. 

DNA testing your dog can reveal (mutations) in their genes that may cause illness or disease. It may also provide a diagnosis for a genetic condition or information about your dog’s risk of developing a condition such as cancer. Canine DNA tests are also widely used for breed detection, traits identification, ancestry, family heritage and more. 

Genetic testing can also provide critical information for diagnosing, treating and preventing illness. However, there are limitations and you should discuss your results with your vet.  

A dog DNA test can be performed at home or at your veterinarian’s office. DNA tests can use cheek swabs or blood tests.

How Do Dog DNA Tests Work?

Thanks to at-home dog DNA testing, the dog DNA test process is relatively easy for us dog owners. Here is how it works.

1. Ordering. Purchase a DNA kit from a site like Amazon, Chewy, or one of our recommended top picks below, and you’ll get your dog DNA test kit in the mail.

2. Cheek swap sample. The kit will come with a cheek swab to swipe the inside of your dog’s cheek. Swab the inside of your dog’s cheek for 15 to 30 seconds to collect a sample of your dog’s DNA.

3. Mail swap sample to the lab. Read the instructions for your kit to properly package and send your dog’s sample back in the mail. 

4. Sample analysis. Once the lab receives your dog’s DNA sample, scientists will determine your pet’s DNA sequence during a process known as “genotyping.” Your dog’s genome will then be analyzed and compared with an extensive breed database to ensure accuracy.

5. Results. You’ll receive a report that includes your dog’s DNA results in a few weeks. Depending on the company, you will receive your results via email or view them through a customized portal on its website. Your results will vary depending on the type of dog DNA test that you picked. 

What Can Dog DNA Tests Tell You About Your Dog?

Dog DNA tests can give you insights into your dog’s genetic makeup. Here is what you can expect to find out.

  • Get a full breakdown of your dog’s breed mix. Dog DNA tests screen for the genetic markers for over 350 breeds to decode the breeds that make up your mysterious mix-breed or pure-breed dog.
  • If you have or plan to buy a pure-bred dog and want to be 100% certain that it is, in fact, a pure-bred dog, you can use one of these tests to confirm your dog’s pedigree.
  • DNA testing you pop lets you discover your pup’s family tree and heritage.
  • Map out your dog’s ancestry back multiple generations—all the way to their great-grandparents.

It’s no secret that your dog’s DNA helps determine what they look like, from the color of their eyes to the shape of your earlobes. But there are other traits hidden in your dog’s genes that may surprise you.

A dog DNA test helps you understand your dog’s physical features and why they look that way.

Here are some of the traits that will be analyzed:

  • Coat color modifiers (i.e., Merle, body pattern)
  • Basecoat color (i.e., dark, brown pigment)
  • Body size
  • Other coat traits (i.e., shedding, coat texture)
  • Body features (i.e., eye colors, tail length)
  • Performance

You will learn all the genetic factors and body traits that make your dog’s appearance unique.

Furthermore, a dog DNA test lets you predict your dog’s adult size and ideal weight. Knowing how big your dog will be can influence how you decide to exercise, feed, and care for your pup.

It can also help you understand which traits are likely to be passed down to their pups.

Getting a DNA test can give you a window into your dog’s health.

Most at-home dog DNA tests health can screen for over 210 genetic diseases that your dog may be “at-risk” for or be “carriers”.


Even if your pup does not have any health conditions, they might carriers. If you’re considering breeding your dog, these tests let you find out if they have genetic conditions that could affect the health of their future puppies.


Dog DNA tests with help of your vet can help with the following:

  • Detect common dog diseases such as Glaucoma, Von Willebrand Disease
  • Detect breed-specific conditions such as Muscular Dystrophy found in Golden Retrievers
  • Identify genetic risks related to drug sensitivities, vision, weight, mobility, and more.
  • Learn your dog’s “normal” ALT values to better understand bloodwork
  • Helps identify conditions that could cause serious problems during routine procedures, such as spaying or neutering

Additionally, you can find out if your dog has the MDR1 gene, or the multi-drug resistance gene, which can cause severe adverse reactions to some common medications.

 Knowing that your dog is predisposed as early as possible means you can start prevention or treatment early. You can be a more proactive owner when it comes to your dog’s health thanks to canine genetic testing.

  • A dog DNA test allows you to connect with other dogs who share your dog’s DNA.
  • Dog DNA testing companies will tell you how much DNA your dog shares with other dogs in their database and offer you the ability to find your dog’s relatives – from close to distant. You will be able to connect directly with them, compare DNA results, view photos, and more. Updates are continuous, so if a relative joins years after you do your dog’s test, you’ll still get notified.

Did you know low genetic diversity in dogs correlates with higher health risks? That’s why mutts are healthier than purebreds.


Your dog’s results will show you how diverse (or heterozygous) your dog’s DNA which can give you a more complete view of their health.

Dogs’ health and longevity are impacted by inbreeding. Dogs that are inbred can certainly live long and healthy lives, but dogs that are less inbred on average tend to live longer and healthier lives. 

  • When you get your dog’s DNA results, if there is a notable health concern, licensed veterinarians and vet geneticists are available to free consultation to answer or guide you regarding any concerns.

*Depends upon the type of DNA dog test you bought.

Dog DNA Test Research & Effectiveness

Is there scientific evidence that supports the efficacy and utility of dog DNA tests and the companies that sell these to consumers?

Below is a list of research findings by top dog genetic companies and third-party studies.

  • Wisdom Panel, a leading dog DNA company, examined 152 diseases in more than 100,000 dogs across 330 breeds. The study reported that mixed-breed dogs are more likely to carry a common recessive disease and that purebred dogs are more likely to develop a disease from one. They also found that mixed breed dogs and purebred dogs potentially suffer from many of the same inherited disorders.13
  • A similar study carried out by Embark, a popular dog DNA company, used 6,000 canine participants, and found a chromosomal link to blue eyes in Siberian huskies. The company discovered a genetic mutation, specifically a duplication of DNA sequence near ALX4 (a gene on dog chromosome 18 involved in craniofacial, skin, and hair follicle development) that explains why some dogs have blue eyes. The researchers believe large-scale canine genetic testing like this will open the door to understanding the genetic basis of aging, behavior, and even cancer.14
  • American Staffordshire Terrier (Amstaff) and 12 other dog breeds became illegal in Denmark when the Danish breed-specific legislation was introduced. Researchers launched a study to investigate if Wisdom Panel is usable in Denmark to identify illegal dog breeds. They used Wisdom Panel 4.0 to analyze 55 DNA samples from different breeds. The results revealed that Wisdom Panel can correctly detect all samples from 46 out of the 55 analyzed dog breeds, including Amstaff. The remaining nine breeds were not included in Wisdom Panel’s database, so they were not detected. The research concluded that Wisdom Panel could detect Amstaff and other breeds included in their database.15
  • Adam R. Boyko, Biomedical Sciences, took saliva and blood samples from 550 village dogs around the world, along with many purebred samples, and ran genome sequencing. He then compared the results to make inferences about canine heredity and origins. He found there was more genetic diversity in village dogs than in purebreds. Among all village dogs, the highest genetic diversity was in Central Asia, which implies that dogs were first domesticated about 15,000 to 20,000 years ago.

Dog DNA Test Price

An at-home dog DNA test costs $60 to $200 (including the kit and lab analysis). Pricing varies by test type. Some tests only include dog breed identification, and others might include more in-depth information such as health risks, traits, family tree and more. When it comes to dog DNA tests, you get what you pay for (the higher the price, the more accurate and comprehensive the results).

You’ll pay more in a veterinarian setting. However, veterinarians and breeders use the same DNA testing companies we recommend here.


Mixed Breeds Dog DNA Test Benefits

There are multiple ways your dog can benefit from getting its DNA tested.

  • Detect and plan for potential health risks. Dog genetic tests can reveal if your dog has a suspected genetic disorder or predisposition for genetic diseases he may develop one day. Knowing your dog’s breed mix can help you and your vet become more informed since each breed has specific health concerns.
  • Breed make-up percentage. Get a report of your dog’s breed percentage (e.g., 50% Cocker Spaniel, 25% German Shepherd, and so on).
  • Understand your dog’s behaviors. Your dog’s breed makeup and ancestry play a big role in its traits, such as herding, retrieving, and aggressive behaviors.
  • Gain insights into your dog’s needs. Understand your dog’s exercise requirements, nutrition requirements, feeding recommendations, training needs and more.
  • Get answers to your dog’s most puzzling questions. What makes them tick? Why do they look the way they do? Why do they act the way they do? Who are their relatives? Why do they chase squarely? A canine DNA test decodes genes to answer most of the questions you may have about your dog. For instance, a genetic test identifies genes like the “MC5R,” which is responsible for shedding.
  • List of dog traits. From the shape of their nose to the tips of their toes, you will understand the “why” of every inch of your dog’s physical appearance.
  • Puppy screening. If your puppy hasn’t been screened for congenital or hereditary diseases, a DNA test is perfect for getting peace of mind.
  • Fun, good gifts and hundreds of actionable insights. These kits are a fun way to learn more about your pup — and they make a great gift for your dog-loving friends and much more.

A dog DNA test ensures you have the tools to keep your pup happy and healthy. 


What to Look For In A Dog DNA Test

Here are the main things you should look for when buying an at-home dog DNA test.

  • Accuracy level
  • Speed of results
  • Number of genetic markers tested
  • Reviewed by scientists
  • Breed database size
  • Price

Picking a dog DNA test comes down to what you want out of your dog’s DNA and how much you want to spend.


Best Dog DNA Test For Mixed Breeds Reviews

Which dog DNA test is best for mixed breeds?

Meet our top picks for the best dog DNA test for mixed breeds.

Our research team dug into the top dog DNA products and based our rankings on hands-on reviews, customer reviews, research studies, genetics and expert recommendations, breed database size, number of genetic markers, accuracy and other important factors.

We’ve broken down the best dog DNA kits into categories to help you choose one that’s the best fit for your needs.


Best Dog DNA Test For Mixed Breeds (Wisdom Panel )

Wisdom Panel wins our top pick for the best dog DNA test for mixed breeds. Why?

Compared to the competitors, breed identification is the area Wisdom Panel excels at. They have the largest database with over 2.5 million dogs (21,000+ samples from over 50 countries) for the best breed detection allowing them to compare your pet’s genetic code to millions of possible breed combinations and screen for over 23% more dog breeds and 150% more cat breeds than leading competitors.

Their DNA test kits can test for 350 different breeds, which includes 99% of AKC-recognized breeds and breeds uncommon in the United States, such as the coyote, the Mexican street dog, and the wolf. Even though Embark’s Breed ID kit also screens for 350 breeds, Wisdom Panel’s test is less expensive and includes additional screening, so it’s the best dog breed DNA test for your money.

Their technology has 40x greater genetic resolution, resulting in a dog breed detection system with over 98% accuracy. You will be able to see See breed mix reported down to 1%. All lab results are processed in a U.S.-based lab that is CLIA-certified, AAHA-compliant, ISO 17025-certified, and accredited by both A2LA and the USDA.

Wisdom Panel is developed by top geneticists and veterinarians and offers two main dog DNA tests: Wisdom Panel Essential (350+ breeds, 35+ traits, 25+ medical complications and more) and Wisdom Panel Premium Premium (for everything the Essential tests for in addition to 210+ genetic conditions and a veterinarian consultation to go over results)

  • Best for mixed breeds
  • Offers cat DNA
  • Offers DNA for dog breeders
  • Great customer service (phone, email customer service for any questions)
  • Comes with two swabs, and they’ll replace for free if damaged
  • Ancestry, trait, and key health insights
  • 210+ health tests, including vision, weight, mobility, and drug sensitivities like MDR1
  • 350+ breeds, types, and varieties
  • Largest dog DNA database with over 2 million dogs tested
  • Discover your dog’s ideal weight range
  • Bundle offers
  • Trait results (coat, body features, eye color, etc.)
  • Multi-generational family tree
  • Genetic diversity
  • Genetic relative match
  • Answers questions you have about your dog
  • Postage included
  • Great packaging
  • One account works for multiple kits
  • Excellent presentation of results
  • Results are delivered via email to be viewed on their web page
  • Medical testing is included in Wisdom Panel Premium
  • Wolf test
  • BCSYS algorithm was specifically tuned to improve accuracy for mixed breed samples
  • Doesn’t allow customers to share results on the web portal
  • Health Canine Breed + Disease Detection: 250 Breeds & Disease Detection – $149.99
  • 3.0 Canine Breed Detection: 250 Breeds – View on Amazon
  • Complete for Cats DNA Test – $129.99

Looking for the latest Wisdom Panel promo code? Our readers have access to the exclusive discount. Just click this link to get started.


Best Dog Health DNA Test For Mixed Breeds (Embark)

If you want to know your mixed breed dog’s makeup percentage and gain insights on your dog’s health, Embark dog DNA test takes our top spot for the medal for bet dog health DNA test for mixed breeds.

Their kits take this edge in the health category because they analyze over 230,000 genetic markers, twice as many genetic markers as the competition. Genetic markets help link an inherited disease with the responsible gene in your dog. Embark also uses a proprietary research-grade DNA genotyping platform developed by industry-leading scientists at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. They can provide you with the most accurate results using this technology.

Embark’s panel tests 210+ known genetic health risks in 16 different areas (e.x., brain, hormones, clinical, etc.). It provides hundreds of actionable insights to help you give your pup the best care possible. After receiving their test results, the company says that 37% of dog owners changed how they care for their dogs.

Furthermore, it screens more than 350+ dog breeds, helping you find your pup’s genetic makeup, map out your pup’s family tree, ancestry, traits, close family members and much more. They have a breed directory section on their website where you can click on the breed and view the breed’s profile and view the DNA results for that breed, allowing you to compare your results or what to expect when you test your mixed breed.

We love that Embark contacts pet owners about worrisome results, which the competitors did not.

  • Dog scientific discoveries and invests in research
  • Published studies
  • Shows dog lineage (map)
  • Tests for 350 breeds, types, and varieties, including dingo, coyote, wolf, street dogs and so-called “village dogs.”
  • Identifies 230,000 genetic markers
  • Genetic mutation testing for 210 canine health conditions
  • Free replacement swab if yours is damaged
  • Relative finder, matching your dog’s DNA to possible family members
  • Charitable work with animal shelters
  • Free shipping on all products
  • Live chat or email available if you need help interpreting test results
  • Excellent customer service and feedback
  • Dog owners rated Embark as the most trusted dog DNA test in a blind study
  • Linkage tests
  • Trait tests
  • Family tree
  • Genetic score
  • Sells kits for veterinarians and breeders
  • Embark’s computers test about 256 quadrillion different genetic ancestry combinations. Its scientists manually cross-check suspicious results
  • Confirm purebred or breed mix
  • Over 90% of dogs tested by Embark have a close relative, like a cousin, and 12% discover a direct family member 
  • A resourceful website with information about everything they test
  • Don’t disclose any information without the owner’s consent
  • Breed + Health test is relatively expensive
  • Breed Identification Kit – $129
  • Breed + Health Kit – $199
  • Purebred Kit – $199
  • Breeders Dog DNA Test Kit – $149

Looking for the best Embark Vet promo code? Our readers have access to the exclusive discount. Just click this link to get started.


Best Affordable Dog DNA Test For Mixed Breeds (Orivet Dog DNA Test)

Orivet dog DNA test offers the most affordable Mixed-Breed Dog Identification DNA Test kit. It’s priced at 69.99 on Amazon. This test lets you determine your dog’s breed by comparing your dog’s DNA to over 350 breeds in their comprehensive database. It also includes a personalized LifePlanTM based on the breeds determined, your pet’s age, weight, gender, geographic location, and lifestyle.

You can also opt for Orivet’s GenoPet 5.0 (Breed + Health Kit) if you want to screen your pet’s DNA for over 200 heritable diseases, traits, breed identification and more. The GenoPet 5.0 is Orivet’s latest dog DNA test and it’s priced at $99 on Amazon. 

Orivet’s Geno 5.0 test is slightly less expensive than Wisdom Panel’s breed+health test and significantly less than Embark’s similar test, but it does not include trait testing, ancestry screening and other features benefits offered by Embark and Wisdom. And its genetic testing isn’t nearly as advanced either.

This test is excellent for budget-conscious dog parents who only want to find key items such as breed makeup composition and genetic health risks.

  • Breed percentage levels
  • Interactive online report
  • Self-addressed pre-paid envelope
  • You can share results with your veterinarian, groomer, family & friends
  • Nutritional suggestions
  • Daily energy needs analysis
  • Routine health care advice
  • Adult weight prediction (for puppies under 12 months old)
  • Insights into your dog’s personality and behavior
  •  Heritable health risks and what to do about them
  • Trusted by veterinarians worldwide
  • Results don’t contain as much information as our top 2 picks
  • Some customers said it took a long time to get results
  • Geno Pet 5.0 Breed and Health Screening: $99.95
  • Dog DNA Health Screen & Life Plan: $124.99
  • Mixed-Breed Dog Identification DNA Test and Life Plan: $69.95

Looking for an Orivet promo code? Our readers have access to the exclusive discount. Just click this link to get started.


Best Mixed Breed Dog DNA Test For Specific Items (DNA My Dog – Sold By EasyDNA)

DNA My Dog tests are good options for dog parents seeking to test only specific items such as traits, paternity, ancestry and more.

Its database has far fewer breeds, so you won’t get as much accuracy as Embark, Wisdom Panel, or Orivet. DNA My Dog’s DNA test is a decent at-home canine DNA assessment, and it’s sold via EasyDNA. 

You can get a Breed Identification Test for a reasonable price of $79 (98 breeds) or one for $109 (350 breeds).

But what we love about this brand is that it offers a couple of cool DNA tests that other companies don’t offer.

For instance, you can buy their Canine Genetic Age Test by EasyDNA to identify your dog’s breed mix and biological age. In addition, this test measures the size of the dog’s telomeres, which tend to shorten as they age. Telomere length provides insight into the dog’s long-term health and longevity. Really cool, huh!

Other specific genetic tests the company offers include:

  • EasyDNA’s Dog Inherited Disease & Trait Test: Discover the genetic susceptibility of your dog to a given disease and if it will suffer from it later in life. Priced at $69. 
  • EasyDNA’s Premium Dog Testing Package: Includes three tests: Breed ID, Genetic Age, and Dog Allergy Test – $195
  • EasyDNA’s Dog Parentage Test: A dog paternity test. Find the true parentage of your dog – $169
  • EasyDNA’s Dog Parentage Test without Mother:dog parentage test without the inclusion of the mother’s sample – $269

Other tests include DNA My Dog Breed Test PLUS Wolf, Deceased Dog DNA Breed Testing and DNA My Dog NEXTGEN Breed Identification and Genetic Age Test.

  • Best for specific DNA test types
  • Budget-friendly
  • Inexpensive for the basic test
  • Postage included
  • Includes extra Life Plan service for managing canine wellness.
  • Frame-worthy certificate
  • Shows DNA breakdown of breeds by level, rather than a percentage
  • Comes with two swabs and free replacement if damaged
  • Many customer complaints about accuracy
  • Charitable shelter program donates funds to U.S. and Canadian shelters
  • Live chat (including with DNA consultant), phone, and email customer service for any questions
  • Smaller database. This means that if your dog is of a rare origin or an unregistered breed, DnaMyDog is probably not the best choice
  • No “family-tree” view of breed results or testing for genetic problems
  • Cheap packaging
  • Only 98 breeds in their database

Looking for a DNA My Dog promo code? Our readers have access to the exclusive discount. Just click this link to get started.


Best Dog DNA Test For Purebreds & Specific-Health Condition (Paw Print Genetics)

Do you have a purebred pup? Paw Print Genetics offers the best genetic testing for breed-specific diseases that determine whether your dog is at risk of developing a disease or passing it on. 

Their website allows you to search tests by breed, disease/trait, or symptom. For instance, if you pick Labrador as your breed, you will get a list of all the most common Labrador diseases. You can choose to test your Labrador for one specific disease or multiple. The more tests ordered, the greater the discount. 

They also offer breed-specific coat color/trait tests, a parentage test, and a DNA profiling test you can use to ID your dog if he gets lost or stolen.

Paw Print Genetics doesn’t provide breed identification and has a very small number of mixed-breed tests.

  • Best for purebred dogs
  • Analyzes each mutation with two independent methods
  • Provides highest accuracy
  • Genetic counseling is available, and excellent customer support
  • Pedigree Report and Genetic Health Certificate
  • Partners with many dog clubs and associations
  • Very limited mixed breed tests
  • No breed identification tests
  • Disease Test: Starts at $80 (discounts for each additional test ordered)
  • Color/Coat Test: Starts at $80 (discounts for each additional test ordered)
  • DNA Profiling Test: $49
  • Parentage Test (puppy, dam, or sire): $30
  • Clear by Parentage Test: $19

Looking for a Paw Print Genetics code? Our readers have access to the exclusive discount. Just click this link to get started.


Dog DNA Test Accuracy

Are dog DNA tests accurate?

The three major dog DNA companies, Wisdom, Embark Dog DNA Test, and DNA My Dog, claim their test are 95-99% accurate. But how valid are these claims?

Most dog DNA tests are fairly accurate. However, different companies use different methods of analyzing your dog’s DNA, and there is minimal peer-reviewed research or publications to verify the exact accuracy of at-home dog DNA tests.

A paper published by Liza Gershony, DVM, Ph.D. and Anita Oberbauer, Ph.D. of the University of California, Davis, states that direct tests are highly accurate because they determine whether or not a dog’s DNA contains the causal mutation.1

Ryan Boyko, founder and CEO of the Boston-based testing manufacturer Embark defended the accuracy of the Embark dog DNA test in an interview with USA Today by saying that it is the same lab work approved by the Food and Drug Administration for humans.2 Angela Hughes, a veterinary geneticist with Mars Petcare which makes one of the dozen DNA testing kits on the market, says the company has conducted its internal studies and finds that breed identification in mixed breed animals is 93% accurate.3

Anecdotal evidence and research on consumer reviews show dog owners who have used dog DNA tests frequently said the test results were informative and/or viewed the test as accurate.4

What Dog DNA Test Is Most Accurate?

Various factors affect dog genetic testing accuracy, including breed database size, the number of genetic markers tested, testing method (i.e., a single mutation, microarray genotyping, etc.), tester’s skills, and more.

Because DNA companies use proprietary technology and different testing methodology, results may vary slightly from company to company. No test is 100% accurate. There is always human error and test accuracy is only as reliable as the science behind them.

If you want the most accurate results, look for a well-respected dog DNA testing company that uses the latest human genetics science to test each dog’s DNA.

It’s worth noting that SNP microarray testing has become the go-to standard for DNA testing. The method has been used to test tens of millions of people over the past 15 years by leading direct-to-consumer DNA tests, and it has been approved for testing dozens of human genetic conditions by the FDA. Dog DNA companies like Wisdom Panel, Embark and Orivet rely on SNP microarray and other DNA testing technology.

Let’s learn how some of the most popular dog DNA companies can provide accurate results.

Wisdom Panel Dog DNA Test Accuracy

Wisdom Panel uses BCSYS (Breed Classifier System) to offer the most accurate and comprehensive genetic testing for dogs.

BCSYS leverages best-in-class Artificial Intelligence (AI) methods, the largest dog DNA database with over 2.5 million dogs tested across more than 50 countries and six continents—and over 1,000 Banfield™ Pet Hospital clinics and largest known dog DNA reference panel (21,000 samples and counting) to provide the most accurate (>98%) and precise dog DNA test on the market.

Daniel Garrigan, Ph.D., Senior Scientist Population Genetics stated, “when compared to the industry standard, the new Wisdom Panel algorithm outperformed all others with error rates 2 to 4 times lower than the industry standard in mixed breed samples—meaning the Wisdom Panel breed detection system is now more accurate than anything else on the market.”5

The BCSYS algorithm analyses 40x more genetic data points per sample and was specifically tuned to improve accuracy for mixed breed samples.6

The Wisdom Panel (Mars Veterinary) test runs on an Illumina custom array (SNP microarray genotyping) and is conducted for Mars by Neogen GeneSeek in Lincoln, Nebraska, a large animal genetic testing company.7 Furthermore, Wisdom Panel partners with Genoscoper Laboratories, a Finland-based DNA diagnostics laboratory specializing in highly-developed DNA testing, and is the first laboratory to introduce a canine genome-wide, panel-testing method that combines disease gene testing with advanced genetic diversity measurement.8

Embark Dog DNA Test Accuracy

Embark’s innovative testing platform is a customized SNP Microarray developed in partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine using the latest research-grade canine genotyping platform.

Embark’s computers test about 256 quadrillion different genetic ancestry combinations, and its scientists manually cross-check suspicious results.9 Embark states that its platform is over 99.9% accurate. They test each health condition using at least 3 (and up to 8 ) separate probes. This redundancy gives them a 99.99% genotyping accuracy for each health condition.

Embark’s quality control process requires that two independent geneticists conduct a secondary analysis to determine accuracy when irregularities occur. The conclusions of both geneticists must agree for a result to be provided to the customer.

They also check the breed, sex, and relatives of every sample to ensure DNA samples are correctly labeled and unique identity is recorded.

Others

Companies like Orivet, DNA My Dog and Paw Print Genetics offer similar or identical levels of accuracy as Embark and Wisdom Panel.

Dog DNA Test Risks

Dog genetic testing poses little physical risk. Blood and cheek swab tests have almost no risk. However, dog DNA testing can have emotional and financial risks for dog owners.

While DNA tests allow owners to understand their dogs’ health better, owners shouldn’t make medical decisions about their pets based solely on DNA testing results. It’s important to not panic at every health risk in your dog’s results and never waste more money doing further testing until your dog has officially been diagnosed by a professional.

A dog’s DNA test may indicate a vulnerability to a health condition, but it does not mean the dog will get it. DNA tests only provide warnings, not diagnoses. Even if your dog’s results reveal a mutation, they may not necessarily develop the disease, says Professor Kari Ekenstedt at Purdue University.10  

As an example, let’s look at a severe condition known as degenerative myelopathy (DM). DM is a debilitating spinal condition that eventually results in paralysis in elderly dogs. Professor Ekenstedt calls DM the “ever controversial DM mutation” because it is hard to interpret. A story of two distressed dog owners published in Nature recounts the story of a 13-year-old dog that was losing her ability to walk. They bought a genetic test through a direct-to-consumer company that showed a mutation linked to DM. Convinced that she would slowly die of the disease, her owners put her to sleep. It’s possible the 13-year-old dog had an entirely treatable spinal disorder and did not need to be put down.11

The American Kennel Club notes pet DNA health test research is still in its infancy and warns against “the unquantifiable level of worry, heartbreak, and sometimes false confidence these tests might stir.” For instance, some conditions are associated with multiple genes, but genetic testing companies might only test for one of those genes. This might result in pet owners falsely believing their canine companions have the “all clear” from a certain condition.12 

If you get back a positive test — meaning your dog is carrying a genetic variant that has been in a study correlated or associated with a disease—discuss your results with your vet, a medical geneticist, or a genetic counselor to make an educated decision about your dog’s results.

Your vet can provide further health screening if needed. Frequent exams can further corroborate your dog’s DNA test results and give your more insights.

How To Read Dog DNA Results

Regardless of your dog’s DNA test results, you should take them with a grain of salt. 

Depending on the type of genetic test your dog had, the terms “positive,” “negative,” and “inconclusive” can mean many different things.

Positive results

If the genetic test result is positive, meaning the genetic change tested for was detected in your dog, talk to your vet or genetic counselor about what a positive result means for your dog. In some cases, you can make lifestyle changes that may reduce your dog’s risk of developing a disease, even if your dog has a gene that makes him more susceptible to a disorder. A positive result will help you and your veterinarian determine the right treatment and management plan. Results may also help you make choices related to treatment, breeding, and insurance coverage.

Negative results

A negative result means a mutated gene was not detected by the test, which can be reassuring, but it’s not a 100 percent guarantee that your dog doesn’t have the disorder. The accuracy of genetic tests to detect mutated genes varies depending on the condition being tested for, testing method, whether or not the gene mutation was previously identified in a family member, health risk predisposition, and other factors.

Even if your dog doesn’t have the mutated gene, that doesn’t necessarily mean he will never get the disease. Also, genetic testing may not be able to detect all genetic defects.

Inconclusive results

A genetic test may not provide helpful information about the gene in question in some cases. Dogs have variations in the way genes appear, and often these variations don’t affect their health. But sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish between a disease-causing gene and a harmless gene variation. These changes are called variants of uncertain significance. In these situations, follow-up testing or periodic gene reviews over time may be necessary.


Dog DNA Test Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions dog owners have about canine genetic testing.

Are Dog DNA tests regulated? 

No, is the short answer. Dog DNA tests are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), unlike human DNA tests such as Ancestry and 23andMe. These companies promise high levels of internal quality control.

Can The Vet Do A Dog DNA Test?

Yes, you can get a dog DNA test from your veterinarian. However, it will be more expensive than performing an at-home dog DNA test. Your veterinarian may refer you to submit a blood sample versus a saliva sample to ensure adequate genomic material. The process does not take long, but your dog may be frightened by the needles.

How Long Do Dog DNA Tests Take?

Most dog DNA tests take about 2 to 4 weeks to process and analyze your dog’s DNA sample in the laboratory. You can expect to wait for this much to receive the results.  

Where To Get A Dog DNA Test?

You can do a dog DNA test from the confront of your home thanks to at-home dog DNA testing companies like Wisdom Panel and Embark. These options offer the most convenience and affordability. Your local veterinarian should also be able to perform a dog DNA test.

Which Dog DNA Test Is Most Accurate Reddit?

According to various Reddit threads, Embark and Wisdom Panel dog DNA tests provide the most accurate results.


What Does A Dog DNA Test Tell You?

A dog DNA test result will tell your dog’s breed mix by percentage. They can also discern between lineages and provide a DNA tree from the sire (father) and dame (mother). Canine DNA testing will also reveal health risks and breed predisposition to certain diseases. Other key items these tests tell you to include your dog’s ancestry, relatives, genetic diversity, traits, ideal weight, and other fun facts you didn’t know about your dog. 

How Do You Do A DNA Test On a Dog?

Thanks to at-home dog DNA test kits, a dog DNA test can be performed at home. It only requires you to take a simple mouth swab from inside your dog’s mouth (usually from the cheek) and send it to the laboratory. You simply put the swab into the provided container or clean envelope, mail it to the manufacturer, and wait two to four weeks for your results to arrive.

Another option for DNA testing your dog is with your vet. Veterinarians may choose to take a blood sample from your dog instead of a saliva swab.

When Can You DNA Test a Dog?

Puppies can get DNA tested as the results won’t change. However, it is advised to wait until they are at least two weeks old, and it is safe to separate them from the dam and littermates for at least 1 hour to minimize contamination.

Which Dog DNA Test Has The Largest Database?

Wisdom Panel claims to have the largest breed database with more than 350 profiles, including wolf and coyote.

Are Dog DNA Tests Worth It?

Dog genetic testing companies offering Dog DNA tests are becoming increasingly popular, but are they worth the cost?

According to our findings outlined above, dog DNA tests are worth it in our book. We are a huge proponent of everything that will make your dog’s life better. Aside from learning fun facts about your furry friend, DNA testing for dogs can provide vital insight into your dog’s health. Mixed-breed genetic testing can be a great asset in discovering who they are and why they behave in specific ways.

Knowing more about your dog is a wonderful way to provide a better quality of life and keep them happy.

We recommend DNA testing your mixed breed if you want to be able to better care for them. It’s worth the investment.


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