DNA testing kits for humans and pets alike have seen a huge surge in popularity over recent years…and for good reason! We’re all curious to learn more about ourselves, and DNA kits can help provide the answers we’re looking for — revealing everything from our ancestry and heritage to potential health risks before they have a chance to develop. And it only makes sense that curious pet parents would want to learn as much as possible about their furry loved ones, as well.
In fact, according to a study in the National Library of Medicine, the tools available to analyze the canine genome are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Thanks to those advances, we can now discover health insights about both purebred and mixed breed domestic dogs that may help us protect them against certain health risks as they age.
Whether you’re hoping to understand your dog’s unique genetic makeup so you can get ahead of any potential health issues or you just want to know the different breeds in your pet’s family tree, there are lots of dog DNA kits on the market that can help you get to know your dog on a whole new level.
What Breed is My Dog?
Every pet parent wants to understand what their dog needs to live a healthy, well-balanced life. And knowing your dog’s breed and family background can give you an advantage when it comes to providing care that’s customized to your dog’s unique needs.
But now you don’t have to rely on apps, online quizzes, or pricey lab work ordered by your veterinarian to try and solve the mystery of your dog’s genetic makeup. At-home dog DNA testing kits are affordable and easy to use, which may make it easier to find out more about your pet’s breed-specific needs.
However, most experts will tell you that it’s a good idea to take at-home dog DNA testing with a grain of salt before you make any major decisions based on the results. According to Dr. Jerry Klein, chief veterinary officer for the American Kennel Club (AKC), “At-home DNA tests should be considered first as a fun and interesting way to discover your dog’s breed descendants or ‘family history.’”
Actual test results can vary from one company’s test kit to the next. So if you’re looking for guidance on how to take care of your dog based on their genetic makeup, it’s still a good idea to check with your veterinarian to ensure the most effective approach.
“Not every DNA test is created equal, and some are more reliable than others,” explains veterinary surgeon Dr. Linda Simon. “Some can be done at home and only require saliva, while others use your dog’s blood, which is taken at the vet clinic.” Simon recommends discussing DNA testing with your veterinarian before purchasing a kit, so you understand all the options.
Dog DNA Test Benefits
“Given just how popular cross-breed and hybrid dogs have become in the last few decades, we are getting more and more requests from owners to run DNA tests, “ says Simon. “It’s natural to want to discover what breeds make up your dog…not only to satisfy your curiosity but also to find out if there are any genetic diseases to be on the lookout for.”
According to Simon, many owners are keen to learn what breed-specific personality traits to watch for or whether they might benefit from more exercise. DNA testing has also become popular for those who purchased a certain pedigree through a breeder and aren’t convinced they got what they paid for.
For instance, if you purchased a purebred German Shepherd, but his ears don’t stand erect and he has a patch of white in his coat, a DNA kit might be able to tell you if your dog has any other breeds in his background.
Some tests identify breeds only, while others will list diseases that your dog may be prone to develop, based on their genetic profile. Knowing such details about potential health risks is especially important when it comes to conditions that can be prevented or where early treatment affects prognosis.
That said, pet parents need to understand that, for many medical conditions, simply carrying the gene does not mean a dog will develop the disease. It’s a good idea to shop for a DNA test that comes with clear guidance about how to interpret the results.
Best Dog DNA Test Kits
Shopping for the best DNA test kit for your furry friend can be a challenge if you don’t know what to look for. Below, we’ve rounded up our top picks for dog DNA kits — and why we like them.
We’re laying out each kit’s unique features, how they work, what kind of test it is, how long it takes to get test results, and pricing information, so you can make the right decision for you and your dog.
All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Best Dog DNA Test: Overall Winner
Our pick: Embark Breed + Health Kit
The Embark Breed + Health Dog DNA Test Kit earns our top-ranked spot for good reason…actually, several of them: It’s highly accurate, easy to use, and offers rapid results that can easily be interpreted thanks to the comprehensive Embark smartphone app. The all-in-one test uses your dog’s saliva (that you collect using a simple cheek swab) to unlock key details about your dog, including breed identification, predisposition to disease and allergies, and even potential relatives. Embark has launched the world’s only Canine Relative Finder, so you may even be able to connect with your dog’s extended family members, if they’ve used an Embark test, too.
Embark is widely trusted and recommended by veterinarians. The company has partnered with some of the top research organizations in the country, including Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, and the Morris Animal Foundation.
- Very easy to use and submit.
- Results are fast (2-4 weeks) and accurate.
- Test checks for over 350 breeds and more than 210 genetic health risks.
- The smartphone app makes it easy to understand the results.
Things to Consider
- Some reviewers complained that this test doesn’t pick up niche breeds as easily.
Sample buyer review: “Very cool. My dog is a rescue and I was told he was a Border Collie mix. His personality led me to do a test because he just didn’t have the personality of a Border Collie. Come to find out he’s a Shih Tzu Pitbull mix which makes way more sense.”
Best Budget-Friendly Dog DNA Test
Dog DNA kits can be expensive. But if you’re simply curious to find out more about your pet, and you don’t want to spend a bundle, the DNA My Dog kit is a great choice. The budget-friendly testing kit costs less than most other kits, but it still provides you with a full report on your mixed breed or purebred dog with up to 99.997 percent accuracy. After submitting your dog’s swab, you can expect to receive your results in as little as two weeks, including a detailed breed analysis, a list of potential health concerns, and a custom certificate with a snapshot of breed breakdown.
- Results arrive in two weeks or less.
- Affordable price point for the quality.
- Very easy to use.
Things to Consider
- Some reviewers found the results to be confusing.
Sample buyer review: “This was very easy to use. We were told by the rescue shelter that Sonny was a Chihuahua and Dachshund mix. We didn’t feel that was right at all. We thought possibly Minpin and Chihuahua. But when we received our results we were very surprised to find out he was actually a Whippet/Chihuahua. Now we know why he is so incredibly smart and fast!”
Best Easy-to-Use Dog DNA Test
Our pick: Wisdom Panel Essential
If you’re looking for a dog DNA test that is easy to use and understand from start to finish, the Wisdom Panel Essential kit is for you. It includes a durable swab that makes it easier to collect a good sample in just 15 seconds. Two weeks after the sample is received, you’ll get a detailed analysis on the included smartphone app that comes with easy-to-understand explanations of your results so you can fully comprehend what has been uncovered.
- The Wisdom app is very comprehensive and easy to use.
- Results will typically arrive in less than two weeks.
- The extra-tough mouth swab is easy to get in and out.
Things to Consider
- Some reviewers complained that Wisdom doesn’t differentiate between “bully breeds.” like the American Staffordshire Terrier or Bullmastiff.
Sample buyer review: “We ordered this to find out what breed our dog was. We got such a detailed DNA make-up. I will always do this with my dogs from now on! Extremely fun and interesting.”
Best Dog DNA Test for Mixed Breeds
Our pick: Wisdom Panel Premium
For pet parents of mixed breed and rescue dogs, it can be a bit challenging to crack the code of their pets’ breed history. That’s why it’s important to look for a test that analyzes as many dog breeds, traits, and varieties as possible. The Wisdom Panel Premium kit tests against over 350 different breeds and 35+ traits to ensure you get the most accurate results possible—even if your dog doesn’t look like any breed you’ve ever come across. Wisdom results can take up to three weeks and can be accessed through the super simple and easy-to-understand smartphone app.
- Analyzes over 350 breeds, types, and varieties to ensure accuracy.
- Excellent smartphone app makes it easy to understand results.
- Looks at over 200 health tests and drug sensitivities.
Things to Consider
- This DNA kit is quite a bit more expensive than comparable alternatives.
Sample buyer review: “I’ve used this product for both of my rescue dogs. It’s surprisingly easy to swab them for their saliva/DNA and I got the results in a couple of short weeks. The results are very comprehensive in giving a percentile breakdown by breed and other interesting facts about the breeds.”
Best Dog DNA Test for Purebred Dogs
Our pick: Embark Purebred Kit
Pet parents of purebred dogs might not think it necessary to do a DNA test on their pup. After all, they’re pedigreed! But the Embark Purebred kit can unlock benefits beyond the standard purebred family tree. This kit screens for 210+ genetic health risks and 220,000+ genetic markers, providing valuable information about hereditary disease risks and inherited variants you can share with your veterinarian. Plus, results include your pet’s genetic coefficient of inbreeding (COI) — a much more accurate calculation than pedigree-based COIs — along with a comparison chart showing how your dog compares to the breed expectation.
- Smartphone app is super easy to use.
- The swabbing process is quick and efficient.
- Includes both health and breed-specific quirks and personality traits.
Things to Consider
- Some reviewers mentioned that, depending on the time of year, it can take a while to get results, but the company sent regular updates about the status of the results.
Sample buyer review: “I’ve used Embark before for my mixed breed dog and was very pleased with the results so we used this to test my family members’ purebred Yorkshire Terrier. It seems to be mainly the same as the ancestry + health test I did before except with the focus on purebreds. It has everything you need and I found collecting the samples relatively easy.”
Best Dog DNA Test for Health Risks
Our pick: Orivet Dog DNA Test & Life Plan
Getting to know your dog’s breed is interesting and fun—especially if they are a mixed breed or rescue pup—but the most important and significant part of being able to look at your pet’s genome structure lies in how it will improve their overall health and lifespan. The Orivet Dog DNA Test is a great budget-friendly option that not only provides insights on everything from breed breakdown and personality traits to health risks, it also supplies a basic health schedule and personalized Lifeplan based on your dog’s test results, age, weight, and lifestyle. The Lifeplan includes a timeline with recommendations and alerts to keep your pet on track for a healthier future. This is a great kit for parents looking for an actionable takeaway that goes beyond just breed information.
- Great price for the quality of the kit.
- Includes health-related information and a detailed life plan.
- Results will typically arrive in two to three weeks.
Things to Consider
- Some reviewers mentioned that there can be delays in the results.
Sample buyer review: “I was very pleased with the breed and genetic results for my new rescue pup. I don’t have needless worry now over pre-existing genetic disorders or diseases. The breed typing also helped me to understand her intelligence and wonderful disposition.”