dog breed dna test

Dog Breed DNA Test: Learn About Your Dog’s Ancestry

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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See our advertising disclosure.

What is a Dog Breed DNA Test?

Dog Breed DNA Test result gives the best estimate of your dog’s family. It shows how it might look all the way back to your pup’s great-grandparents. Dog DNA tests like Embark and Wisdom panel use a proprietary algorithm to make this prediction.

The representation might not necessarily be exact, but it is the best guess that dogs your canine friend shares an ancestral relationship with.

With the arrival and massive adoption of home human DNA testing, it became a question of when and not how our furry babies’ DNA will be collected and tested. After all, what benefits man should also be beneficial to man’s best friend.

The idea behind Dog Breed DNA Test is slightly different from human testing. We get tested to determine our ancestry and family heritage, while the typical dog DNA testing tries to ascertain the breeds inside your mutt.

This curiosity has plagued pet owners for ages – it isn’t really a problem, to be honest. A mixed-breed mutt in the wild tends to have fewer genetic problems due to its genetic diversity.

There is another reason, though, a dog DNA test can reveal gene-specific diseases or disorders. Your dog may be a carrier of one of these diseases or be at risk of a full-blown disorder. Dog DNA will either rule it out or expose the disease condition.

Embark Breed Identification Kit
  • Embark tests over 220,000 genetic markers, twice as many as the next competitor. We also screen for 350+ dog breeds, more than any other dog DNA test. 
  • Only Embark uses research-grade data and is partnered with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. In a blind study, dog owners rated Embark as the most trusted dog DNA test.
  • Find and connect with your pup's family through the world’s only canine relative finder. 

Does a Dog DNA Test Tell Breed?

Yes, the Dog Breed DNA Test tells the breed.

Different Dog Breed DNA Test kits have a different number of breeds they test for. For instance, Wisdom Panel 4.0 and Embark compare your pup’s DNA with over 350 breeds, including dingo, coyote, wolf, and street dogs.

On the other hand, the Find My Pet DNA Dog test kit compares your dog’s DNA with over 200 dogs to determine history and ancestry.

Can a Vet Tell You What Breed Your Dog is?

Yes, to some extent. There are various techniques that vets use to identify your dog’s breed.

They can use their years of experience, physical traits, anatomical measurements, and other tools to define your dog on a genetic level.

Why is it Important to Know Your Dog’s Breed?

Given below are some of the factors that talk about why it is important to know your dog’s breed:

  • Medical Conditions. Dog DNA tests also reveal potentially problematic medical conditions in your dog’s DNA. It often explains the disease, what it might mean for its offspring, and potential actions dog owners can take to help their dog live a healthy life. If a life-threatening issue comes up in the results, a consultant from the testing company will reach out to you personally.
  • Traits and Behavior. A dog DNA test reveals genetic variants that affect your dog phenotype. These are often broken down into different categories: coat traits, coat color modifiers, base coat color, performance body size, and other body features, as seen on Embark test result page.
  • Potential Allergies. Some dog DNA testing companies also screen for potential allergies using specific kits. A dog allergy test is not the same as a DNA test. It is also quite different from a typical human allergy test.
    This process uses proteins in your dog’s system to reveal intolerances and sensitivities your pet may be experiencing. This information helps you better understand what diet and medications to introduce or eliminate from your pet’s daily life.
    The following symptoms are associated with sensitivity and intolerance: diarrhea, itchy ears, ear infections, constant licking, itchy, red, moist, or scabbed skin, increased scratching, and itchy, runny eyes.

Why is it Important to Know if a Dog is a Mixed Breed or a Purebred Dog?

A mixed breed is the offspring of two different pure breed dogs. A mixed breed dog is also called mongrel, mutt, or random-bred. They are generally known as dogs having two or more breeds in their genetic background.

Mixed-breed dogs, cross-bred dogs, and purebred dogs all make excellent companion pets. If you need a dog for a specific trait such as top-level obedience, sheep-herding, or hunting, then you need to go for a dog breed that excels in that area. Specific breeds can also exhibit the particular traits you require. For instance, a Golden Retriever X Labrador Retriever cross will likely be an offspring that like to retrieve and love water.

Mixing breeds might not generally lead to healthier offspring. The truth is dogs, either mixed or purebred inherit genes from each parent. If any parent passes along a gene that codes for a hereditary disease, the pup stands a better chance of exhibiting the disease.

Hybrid vigor – the concept that unrelated parents produce healthier offspring (heterosis) only works when natural selection is in operation. A dog with clinical symptoms of hip dysplasia will not survive in the wild; hence it has a lesser chance of passing its genes to the next generation. In our modern world of advanced veterinary care and constant food, dogs with complex problems survive long enough to produce lots of pups.

On the other hand, knowing what your dog was bred for can help you predict and understand its behavior. Most dog breeds are developed for a purpose – this purpose fuel the drive to accomplish specific things.

At home, our pets still retain some of that drive. If you do not provide an avenue for that energy to be dissipated, it can come out in inappropriate ways. For instance, corgis, a herding breed, may nip at heels and try to control the movement of kids and other animals in the house.

In addition, knowing your dog’s tendencies doesn’t make nuisance tendencies acceptable, but it will help you understand. This will come in handy when developing ways to manage and train your pup.

It also allows you recognize your dog’s normal and abnormal behaviors and spot when something goes wrong. For instance, a lab that bites may be abnormal and dangerous. A terrier that fetches might be fun and unusual!

What is the Best Dog Breed DNA Test?

There are different dog breed DNA test products. Let’s take a look at the best ones.

Best Dog Breed DNA Test: Embark Breed Identification Kit

Embark Breed Identification Kit

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Embark DNA testing company was founded by two brothers, Adam and Ryan Boyko, in Austin, TX, in 2015. Before the advent of Embark, the brothers were deeply involved in research using DNA to determine the genetic makeup, history, ancestry, and origins of domesticated dogs.

Embark DNA testing kits have two options: DNA breed identification and the other for breed identification plus health information. Dog DNA is extracted from saliva collected in a cheek swab, processed, and the results come back in 3-5 weeks.

The DNA data and interpretation of the results are accessible through the internet on a dedicated website through an Embark account. The company also allows pet owners to share their dog’s DNA data openly for research purposes. As a result, Embark partners at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, have explained the genes responsible for blue eyes in huskies.

The Embark Test compares your dog’s DNA to over 350 breeds, including dingo, coyote, wolf, and street dogs. It uses a custom canine microarray developed in conjunction with leading researchers at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

According to Embark DNA testing company, the breed results are 95% to 99% accurate. Embark analyses 110 times more genetic markers than its closest competitor. As such, they are more accurate and more expensive than others on the market today.

Best Dog Breed DNA Test for Purebreds: Embark Dog DNA Test for Purebred Pets

Embark Dog DNA Test for Purebred Pets

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This particular DNA test is perfect for purebred dogs as it captures 220,000 genetic markers, which can give you a plethora of information about your pup. That is almost twice the information you get from its competitors. This product is also among the highest-rated DNA test brand, with more than 6000 5-star reviews online.

Regarding genetic health conditions, 75% of dogs are either at risk or are a carrier. As a result, health testing is important for accurate DNA results, especially if you got your dog from a breeder. Embark’s panel tests more than 210 health risks and offers several hundred actionable insights to make your pup’s life much easier. Once pet owners receive their results, 37% of them change the way they care for their dogs.

Most Affordable Dog Breed DNA Test: Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test for Breed and Ancestry Information

Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test for Breed and Ancestry Information

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Wisdom Panel Premium is a DNA testing company that sequences and analyses DNA data from dogs. The coy comprises professional pet lovers from top to bottom whose single goal is to provide world-leading insights powered by DNA that will help strengthen the bond between dogs and their owners.

Wisdom panel uses in-depth knowledge of genetics to provide better care for your dog by taking their DNA sample from your dog’s cheek. Having spent a large part of the last 10 years developing smart genetic tests for dog owners, it is possible to get breed and health information about your pups in about four weeks.

Wisdom Panel has two options that provide valuable information about your dog’s health issues, unique physical traits, ancestry, and susceptibility/predisposition to certain medical conditions. The two DNA testing options contain the same trait, ancestry, and medical complication information.

While the premium customers enjoy additional health result features like health risks and a follow-up call by a veterinarian. Wisdom Panel puts these features in place to help you better understand your dog and make informed decisions that will help your dog live healthily and happier.

Wisdom Panel test for 350+ breeds. With a database of 1,800 genetic markers, it is easy to see your pup’s family tree back to his great grandparents! The accuracy of your dog’s DNA test result depends on the quality of the sample you submit.

As a result, it is not easy to ascertain how accurate the results will be. On the other hand, an independent study showed that Wisdom Panel’s testing kit exceeded an accuracy level of 90% on over 200 tests of mixed-breed dogs.

How do Dog Breed Tests Estimate Breed?

The Dog Breed DNA Test kits offer a complete breakdown of your dog’s breed composition and your dog’s genetic markers. As a result, these tests can determine what breed your dog is made up of. The breed composition is measured on various levels.

For instance, if your dog has 75% of DNA from a single breed, they qualify for level 1. But if your dog has 9% or less, they will fall under Level 5. Using this structure, these DNA tests can measure the breed mix your dog is made up of.

How Many Different Breeds Can a DNA Kit Test for?

Different Dog Breed DNA Test kits have a different number of breeds they test for. For instance, Wisdom Panel 4.0 and Embark compare your pup’s DNA with over 350 breeds, including dingo, coyote, wolf, and street dogs.

On the other hand, the Find My Pet DNA Dog test kit compares your dog’s DNA with over 200 dogs to determine the history and ancestry (based on percentage breakdown).

How Accurate are the Dog Breed DNA Tests?

From the three major dog DNA test companies, Embark Dog DNA Test, Wisdom panel, and DNA My Dog – their results are stated as 95-99% accurate, with a bit of room for human error and the size of the specific dog’s breed database.

Most of these kits offer a breed+health kit that caters to your dog’s overall wellness in addition to the canine genetic breed makeup. These dog DNA kits can be found on various online platforms such as Amazon and Chewy.

As a result, you have fewer health concerns to worry about thanks to their intensive health screening process, much to the relief of pet parents. Brands such as Wisdom Panel Essential, Orivet, and Embark can also provide insight into your dog’s personality traits, especially if you do not know where your dog is from or is a rescue dog.

How Much is a Dog Breed DNA Test?

Most Dog Breed DNA Test kits cost around 100-250 dollars.

Though the science behind DNA testing is still developing, there has been notable progress in recent years. Thousands of online reviews on Amazon have extolled the accuracy of their pet’s breed results.

For many pet owners, the Dog Breed DNA Test is a positive experience. This process reveals valuable insights that help to strengthen the bond with your canine friend.

We recommend the Embark Breed & Health Kit and the Wisdom panel for the best dog DNA test experience. They both provide a comprehensive breed breakdown of the family tree dating back to your pup’s great-grandparents. They also conduct tests for different genetic diseases.

Alternatively, if you need a little cost-friendly Dog Breed DNA Test, DNA My Dog Canine Breed Identification Test Kit is a good option. It will provide reliable and fast results.