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Updated Nov 18, 2022 12:27 PM

If you’ve recently rescued or purchased a pup, you may not know much about your new furry friend, which is why it’s a good idea to invest in a dog DNA kit. As a good pet parent, it’s smart to find out as much as you can about their breed so you can understand their behaviors and if your dog might be predisposed to certain health issues. Characteristics such as herding, retrieving, aggressive behaviors, and physical attributes have a lot to do with a dog’s breed and ancestry. And if you’ve rescued a dog, you may not even know what breed(s) your dog is! The best dog DNA test will not only answer the important questions about your pet’s genetic history, but also will help to ensure you have the tools to keep your pup happy and healthy. 

How we picked the best dog DNA tests

There are plenty of home DNA tests for dogs on the market. The truly effective ones may cost more, but they may save you in the long run. Brands such as Wisdom and Embark dog DNA tests can between just under $100 and to more than $160, but keep in mind they are the most highly rated and effective home DNA tests. The difference in price is due to what is tested for in the kit. The less expensive tests are specifically for breed identification, while the pricier options will offer information on health and doggy relatives, so the test you choose is up to you and what you are interested in learning more about. Fortunately, most canine DNA tests are very easy to use. You just need to swab your pup’s cheek, send your kit into the lab, and wait for about two to four weeks.  

The best dog DNA test will offer the most accurate breed breakdown for your pup at its most basic function. There are various types of dog DNA tests that will help determine your dog’s breed, genetic testing for diseases, or even help to connect you with your dog’s relatives. 

The best dog DNA tests: Reviews & Recommendations

Best overall: Embark Breed & Health Kit

Embark

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Why it made the cut: This market leader provides comprehensive genetic testing for health risks, breed, ancestry, and relatives, with a relatively quick turnaround time. 

Specs

  • Tests: More than 230,000 genetic markers, including 350 dog breeds and 215 health risks 
  • Time to results: 2-4 weeks
  • Price: $139.00

Pros

  • Comprehensive testing
  • Relative finder
  • Fast turnaround time 

Cons

  • Expensive

The Embark dog DNA test is one of the most popular dog DNA test kit brands—and for good reason. The research-grade genotyping platform developed with the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine screens for over 350 dog breeds, making it one of the most accurate tests on the market. The test includes a health screening for over 200 genetic diseases, so you can share your dog’s potential health risks with your vet. You can also find and connect with other pups that share your dog’s DNA to schedule a fun meet-up. Results take about two to four weeks. 

Best for breed identification: Embark Breed Identification Kit

Embark

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Why it made the cut: If you’re interested in tracking down your dog’s relatives, the Embark Breed Identification Kit is for you. Easy to use, this kit provides access to Embark’s database, in which 90 percent of dogs tested have a close relative.

Specs

  • Tests: More than 230,000 genetic markers, including 350 dog breeds and 215 health risks 
  • Time to results: 2-4 weeks
  • Price: $109.00

Pros

  • Detailed breed information
  • Comes with Relative Finder
  • Less expensive

Cons

  • May not be as effective with mutts

To understand your dog’s physical traits and personality, it’s important to start with the breed ID. Once you’ve accurately detected your dog’s breed(s), you can correctly address the training that would best fit their temperament. In three simple steps of activating your dog’s test, swabbing your dog’s cheeks, and mailing the swab into the lab, Embark can detect breed contributions of your mutt down to five percent of all of the breeds involved. The Embark DNA test will provide a family tree up to the great-grandparents and will show any relatives that have used the test.

Best for health: Wisdom Panel Premium

Wisdom Health

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Why it made the cut: This comprehensive kit tests for more than 200 genetic health risks, plus provides access to a database of more than three million dogs so you can compare DNA. 

Specs

  • Tests: More than 200 health health tests and screening for over 350 breeds 
  • Time to results: 2-3 weeks
  • Price: $159.99

Pros

  • Screens for sensitivity to medications and potential for kidney stones
  • Comes with free vet consultations as part of package
  • Can match dogs with family members in their database of 3 million canines

Cons

  •  Some users have questioned the accuracy of breed identification

If you want to know about your dog and health risks common with specific breeds, then a canine DNA test is the perfect starting point. Better insight into ancestry, historical conditions, as well as current red flags, means better care.  With over 200 health tests—including vision, hearing, weight, and drug sensitivities—you will learn about any health risks and what procedures and medicines could be of danger to your furry pal. Of course, this easy-to-use Wisdom panel test also includes top-notch breed breakdowns by uncovering your dog’s breed mix down to one percent and by using over 35 trait tests to reveal your pup’s unique physical characteristics.

Best with life plan: ORIVET GenoPet 5.0 Dog DNA Test

ORIVET

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Why it made the cut: This kit tests for health risks and breed information and also provides a personalized wellness plan and ongoing outreach through an online portal. 

Specs

  • Tests: For more than 350 breeds and health risks
  • Time to results: Three weeks 
  • Price: $99.95

Pros

  • Provides personalized nutrition and health plan for your pooch
  • Ongoing support through online portal
  • Developed for purebreds

Cons

  • Not designed for mixed-breed dogs

One of the best reasons to invest in the best dog DNA test is to better understand your pet’s care options throughout their lifetime. With a pet profile, you can easily share information to a veterinarian, health care provider, family, and friends. This dog DNA test kit from Orivet includes all the bells and whistles—and then some. The results reveal breed makeup, weight prediction, behavioral insights, and health risks (and, more importantly, how to act on them). The proprietary test also comes with a personalized wellness plan based on the dog’s breed, age, gender, location, and lifestyle. If you find that your test isn’t accurate, there is a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee. 

Best budget: Wisdom Panel Essential

Wisdom Health

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Why it made the cut: If you’re just looking for a breakdown of your dog’s breed and major genetic health risks, this kit is a good option. 

Specs

  • Tests: More than 350 breeds, 25 genetic health risks, 35 genetic traits
  • Time to results: 2 to 4 weeks
  • Price: $99.99

Pros

  • Analyzes your dog’s makeup by breed
  • Provides detailed description of pet’s characteristics
  • Identifies major genetic health risks 

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide ongoing plan or advice

You don’t have to be a big spender to get down to the smallest detail; this test lets you discover your pup’s breed mix to one percent by testing for over 350 dog breeds. With over 35 trait tests, you’ll be able to learn more about what makes your dog unique, from their muzzle shape to their fur color. Be in the know when you take your pup to the vet with the help of Wisdom by screening over 25 medical complications including drug sensitivities. 

What to consider when shopping around for the best dog DNA test

When shopping around for the best dog DNA test, think about what you want to know about your pooch. If you’re curious about the breed(s) of your pup and then figure you can research the rest from there, then you can get a test that focuses on breed. If you want a more detailed breakdown of your pup’s genetics, then pick a comprehensive genetic kit that can also clue you in to your dog’s behavioral proclivities and potential for disease. 

Another thing to consider when selecting your canine DNA test is the brand. Wisdom, for example, can detect your dog’s breed mix down to one percent, as they have tested two million dogs and have the largest canine DNA database. It may be a bit more expensive, but it will get you the most accurate results. 

FAQs

Q: How much does a dog DNA test cost?

Dog DNA kits range in price from just under $100 to about $160. They often go on sale as part of big shopping holidays such as Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day.

Q: Which dog DNA test is most accurate?

The most accurate dog DNA test kit is Embark, as the platform used has been researched and tested in partnership with the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Due to the fact that it screens for over 350 dog breeds, including most dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club, some street dogs, and the gray wolf, you’re going to get very accurate results. Since there are many various levels of the Embark dog DNA test, you can select which one you want based on what exactly you want to know, whether you are solely curious about your dog’s breed or need a more comprehensive breakdown. Embark will also immediately contact you if they find any alarming results. 

Q: Can dog DNA tell age?

While some human DNA tests can estimate age, dog DNA tests don’t yet offer this type of information. Some can offer an estimate of genetic age by using the reported calendar age and gender of the dog. From there, characteristics such as breed breakdown are factored in to reveal where a dog is in his or her life relative to a human being. So, while you may not get an exact result, you’ll have a better idea of what topper to buy for your furry friend’s doggy-cupcake.

Q: Do vets do dog DNA tests?

In short, vets do dog DNA tests, but will most likely not use the same home DNA tests that owners use. Some vets prefer to send in blood samples to the lab because they can be sure that large amounts of DNA will be included as opposed to the cheek swab included in-home DNA kits. Since dog DNA tests are so accessible nowadays, it might be easier (and cheaper) to just do it at home!

The final word on shopping for the best dog DNA test

The best dog DNA tests provide a window into your pet. They’ll not only tell you want your dog’s breed, but will reveal the genetics behind their behavioral and physical traits, such as personality and the color of fur. Some kits will also help you identify breed-specific health issues that can help you know what to look out for, understand medication options, and know what to bring up with your vet. From learning about your pup’s breed to understanding potential inherited health issues, canine DNA tests will help you learn more about your precious pup to give them the happy and healthy life they deserve.