Pet owners with mixed-breed dogs often ask themselves “What breed is my dog?” If you have a rescue dog, the shelter may have had very little information about the dog’s history, parents, and breed.

Shelters try to guess the breed based on pictures and breed specific marketings and traits. You may find yourself scrolling through different breed pictures online and asking “What breed is my dog” as you try to find a breed or mix of breeds that look similar to your dog.

A dog DNA test can answer the question, providing owners with information about the pet’s (there are dog and cat DNA tests) breed, ancestry, and even some health information.

What Breed is My Dog?

Mixed breed dogs are often not a 50/50 split between two breeds. Designer dog breeds are typically created from two purebred dogs bred to make a special hybrid. If you breed a mixed breed dog with a purebred or another mixed breed dog, it can be harder to identify the breeds and how big of a role they play.

Some hybrids are uncommon and create a new breed that is hard to identify from just looking at it, like a Siberian Husky and Corgi hybrid.

Check out the Corgi Husky mix here, which if we’re being honest, looks too much like the Swedish Vallhund

Furthermore, it is important to know what breed your dog is because of breed-specific laws, personality traits, and health. Some dog breeds have even special dog food that can help with ailments common to the breed.

How to Determine Breed of Dog: There are Multiple Ways!

If you are asking yourself “what breed is my dog?” there are multiple ways to find out.  Some owners have a starting point if the shelter said their dog was a hound or a Shepard dog for example.  Some mixed breed dogs from shelters or found stray, have no background information.

Dog DNA tests like Embark or Wisdom Panel can break down different breeds from a genetic level (using DNA from its saliva).  Some online services use technology to determine your dog’s breed based on a photograph, which they match against a database of other dog breeds.  You can take quizzes online using pictures and personality traits to figure out your dog’s breed.

What Breed is My Dog? #1: Dog DNA Tests (Most Reliable)

Wisdom Panel, Embark DNA and DNA My Dog are the three most popular dog DNA test brands available in the market.  The DNA test uses a swab of the dog’s mouth to extract genetic information and compare it the database of other American Kennel Club dog breeds.  These services can break it down the breed identification to a percentage ex. 16 percent German Shepherd, 12 percent Bernese Mountain dog, 30 percent Entlebucher Mountain Dog, and 40 percent Border Collie.

While there are multiple options, Embark provides the greatest accuracy in results. They test the highest amount of genetic markers and ensure you aren’t just going to get a response of “unknown origin”.

German Shepherds, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs, and Border Collies are herding dogs. Bernese mountain dogs are working dogs.  A dog made up of these breeds will enjoy activities like agility, a frisbee to satisfy the Shepherd, herding instinct (if there are no livestock or chickens to corral) and weighted exercise or specific jobs like bringing the newspaper in.

Embark Dog Breed Identification
  • FAST & EASY: Simple cheek swab. Results generally available online in 2-4 weeks.
  • Helps identify your pup’s family tree and reveals his ancestry all the way back to his great-grandparents.
  • DNA test kit that lets you learn all there is to know about your furry friend.

What Breed is My Dog? #2: Online Dog Breed Identifier (Not as reliable)

DNA tests like Wisdom panel can be a little pricey and it takes a couple of weeks to get the results.  Online services use breed identifiers like coat length and ears, to help determine “What breed is my dog?.”

What Breed is My Dog Quiz/What Breed is My Dog Online Test

You can answer a series of questions by choosing correct or incorrect to figure out what type of dog you have.  These resources may be a little difficult if your dog is not a simple mixed breed or a purebred.  Common breeds like Doberman Pinchers are easier to identify than less popular breeds like the Portuguese Podengo.

What Breed is My Dog? #3: Dog Breed Finder: Photo Matching Sites (Not at all reliable)

You can even figure out “what breed is my dog” based on your dog’s photograph! Thanks, advanced technology! You can do this online or through a mobile app and get the results instantly.

Upload Picture and Find Out!

Once you upload your dog’s photograph to a site like, the site’s database will compare your pooches face to a list of breed photographs.  To get the perfect match, your dog’s photograph will be compared with the breed or breeds is most closely resembles.  

This is great if you know your dog is a retriever but not sure if it’s a Full Coated Retriever, Curly-coated Retriever, Labrador Retriever, or Golden Retriever.  It can be less accurate if your dog is a mix of many different breeds or a less common hybrid.

Check out the Goldador mix here!

How to Tell What Breed My Dog Is: What’s The Best Way?

Understanding what breed of dog you have is important for breed-specific legislation.  Some counties and states make it harder for owners with American Staffordshire terries or bull terriers to rent apartments. “Pitbull” breeds are even banned in some areas; you can find more on Pitbulls here. And of course, some breeds are predisposed to different diseases and disorders like demodectic mange or hip dysplasia.

The best way to determine your dog’s breed is to go for a dog DNA test. Both Wisdom Panel and Embark DNA maintains a very comprehensive breed database and can quite precisely identify almost all common pure and mixed breeds.

Vice Versa! What Breed of Dog Am I?

It’s important to choose the right type of dog for your personality and lifestyle.

Take, for example, the American Eskimo Dog.

These dogs are smart and easy to train but shed a lot.

Fox terriers are small, and make great apartments dogs but do not like being alone.

The Dog Breed Selector matches your personality type with a complimenting dog breed.  High energy dogs that aren’t exercised enough can develop behavior problems from the pent-up energy.  Owners looking for a marathon partner may think a Great Dane is perfect because of their size, but they actually prefer low to moderate exercise.

What Kind of Dog Do I Have? Factors That Go Into Analyzing the Data

Technology has allowed for the creation of databases that compile information on different dog breeds.  Dog breeds can be identified by personality characteristics, whether they are a herding dog or from a non-sporting group.  Some breeds have hallmark markings like the German Shepherd which makes them easier to identify in a mixed breed.

Dog DNA tests like Wisdom Panel use breed-specific genetic markers from your dog’s saliva (which contains DNA) and test it against a database of known dog breeds. These tests can even determine the percentage of a specific breed is present in your dog by examining how strong the genetic marker is!

Trivia Time! What Kind of Dog was Benji?

The original Benji was a rescue mixed breed dog, named Higgins.  He stole the hearts of many with his scruffy face.  According to, the shelter had labeled him a Border Terrier, but his owner thought he was a Mini Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, and Schnauzer mix.

What Kind of Dog is This? Benji Dog Breed

The Benji dog breed is a fluffy mixed breed.  The 2018 Benji dog is also a rescue dog, abandoned in a parking and taken to a local shelter.  There have been other dogs to play Benji, two of which were related to the original according to  One the Benji was thought to be part Tibetan Terrier and Spaniel.

What is a Dog By Any Other Name: How to Identify Dogs’ Breed Just Got Easier

Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to figure out “what breed is my dog?” Dog DNA tests take all of the guesswork out.  You can find out what different breeds make your pet unique, down to percentage.

If you enjoy guessing, you can take quizzes, tests, or use an app that will match your dog’s photograph to similar breeds.  If you get a Dog DNA test or a close match on the photo app, share on Twitter.  Your Twitter share may help someone who has a similar mixed breed to your dog, you may even find one of your dog’s relatives!

Some breeds were bred to perform a task. For example, dog breeders designed the Sporting dog to help hunters, some in the water (does your dog have webbed feet?) and some on land. To create the ultimate Sporting dog, Hounds used their sense of smell to track animal trails and their speed to chase prey.

Working dogs were used to guard the home, watch over children, and use their strength to rescue people or pull carts and sleds. Terriers would rid houses and barns of rodents. Toy and nonsporting groups were companions.

Hence, dogs will still have their natural breed instincts, and if they’re not being met, can lead to behavioral issues.  Some dog breeds are more prone to different injuries and diseases, which is important to know.

Figuring out what breed of dog you have, can help make you and your dog happier.  If you don’t have a dog yet, do research on different breeds to find one that matches your personality and lifestyle.

Each dog breed is unique, and when mixed together can create hybrids or “mutts” that bring out the best of each breed and make wonderful pets. There are many different breeds to choose from.  Shelters are full of both mixed breed and purebred dogs that need good homes.

Common Questions On What Breed Is My Dog