Reviewed for You: The 3 Best Dog DNA Test Kits

Written by Austin S.
Updated: October 26, 2023
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Key Points

  • The best overall dog DNA test kit is the Embark Breed & Health Condition Identification DNA Test for Dogs.
  • DNA testing can educate you on which breed(s) your dog has in his/her DNA. This is especially enlightening if you have a mixed-breed dog. Analyzing your dog’s DNA can also help you to plan for the future by knowing if he/she is at risk for developing any gene-specific diseases or disorders.
  • Before choosing a DNA test kit for your dog, consider what your and your dog’s needs are. Some tests provide insights into your dog’s breed composition. Others offer a more in-depth understanding of crucial health information and possible genetic issues.

As more pet owners adopt mixed breed dogs, many are asking: “What is the best dog DNA test kit?“. Is your companion part terrier, labrador retriever, or maybe both? Want to figure out how to know if your dog is related to a wolf? We know how you feel! So, after extensive research, we chose the top three that we think represent the most easy-to-use, comprehensive, safe, and accurate tests on the market.

What makes a dog DNA test important is that it allows an understanding of crucial health information regarding your canine friend based on his/her breed composition. For example, the test can reveal if your dog is at risk of developing gene-specific diseases or disorders. Not only can DNA testing calm your fears about possible health issues your dog might face, but it can help you plan for your pet’s future if any disorder is detected by the screening. In some cases, it can help veterinarians better care for your dog by knowing that specific medications may have adverse reactions on your furry friend. With the right test, you can have a better understanding of how to care for your dog and also how to keep them happy and healthy. 

Of course, not all of these tests consist of the same detecting capability. And they’re certainly not cheap. So, if you’re planning on using one, make sure that you get a canine DNA test that suits your particular needs and budget. Many testing kits are available for at-home use through a swab of your dog’s mouth. Other testing may be provided by your veterinarian through a blood sample. The debate has been heavy over whether blood testing is more accurate than a slobber swab. However, it seems that at-home test kits, like Embark, have proven to be as effective, if not more so, than blood tests, such as Royal Canin’s DNA testing kit. In-clinic testing can also be more costly as an appointment is usually required, not including the price of $130 or more of the testing kit itself.

Below, we have compiled a list of dog DNA tests that our team found to be the best on the market according to experts and reviews. 

  1. Embark Breed & Health Condition Identification DNA Test for Dogs
    • Most accurate and highest-rated dog DNA kit on the market
    • Use simple and painless cheek swab
    • The world's only canine relative finder
    • Can analyze over 200,000 genetic markers
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  2. Wisdom Panel Premium Breed & Health Condition Identification DNA Test For Dogs

    •Screens 211 genetic mutations

    •Tests 25 medical implications

    •Genetic diversity & family tree

    •Easy use

    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Wisdom Panel Essential Breed Identification DNA Test for Dogs

    •Database includes some breeds outside US

    •Identifies 35+ traits

    •Family tree finder

    • 25+ medical implications

    Check Chewy Check Amazon

Top Picks: The Best Dog DNA Testing Kits Today

#1 Best Overall Dog DNA Kit: Embark Breed & Health Condition Identification DNA Test for Dogs

The Embark dog DNA test kit is our pick for the best overall dog DNA test on the market today. The Embark DNA test kit won our confidence because it analyzes 200,000 genetic markers. It also compares your sample to over 350 dog breeds. This also includes coyotes, wolves, dingoes, and street dogs in its database. One of the AZ Animals staff was surprised to learn that his small lap dog actually has a mix of chow chow and German shepherd! Physical appearance can truly be deceiving. According to Embark, the accuracy of their test is “above 99.99% accuracy for health tests” and 95% to 99% accuracy for breed results.

Using the same comprehensive database, Embark also provides you with your dog’s family tree of possible relatives based on genetic composition. You and, more importantly, your dog will get a chance to connect with other pups who share his/her DNA. You can chat about the special quirks your dogs have in common and even set up a playdate (if they’re willing). 

That’s not all. The kit also tests for over 200 genetic diseases. The report provides you with an explanation of what the results might mean for your dog and what actions you can take. The report also includes an inbreeding score and a list of your dog’s physical traits. By the way, all of the results can be downloaded into a report that you can share with your vet. 

Aside from the depth of information presented, we appreciated how easy the kit is to use. The instructions come complete with pictures. The platform is also easy to navigate, allowing you to quickly read through the various sections of the report while actually understanding what it’s telling you.   

While it is the most expensive test on the market, breeders are offered a discount and an interest-free payment plan. Plus, we enjoyed taking the research surveys which are used by Embark to collect additional data to fuel future scientific discoveries.

Obviously, our review team was pretty happy with this test. However, we did hear from some customers that the results sometimes took longer than the promised two to four weeks. One reported not getting any results for several months. In addition, Embark sends you a number of updates via email, including promotional ones. While this is not necessarily a dealbreaker, it is annoying and something you need to keep in mind before you make your purchase.

Pros and Cons of the Embark Breed & Health Condition Identification DNA Test for Dogs

ProsCons
Embark’s DNA test analyzes 200,000 genetic markers and screens for over 200 genetic diseases.Embark’s health and DNA test kit is one of the most expensive tests on the market.
It compares your dog’s DNA with over 350 dog breeds in Embark’s database. This includes coyotes, wolves, dingoes, and village dogs.Some customers have reported that it took much longer than the promised two to four weeks to receive their results.
Embark asserts that their test has a 95% to 99% accuracy for your dog’s breed results. They also assert that their test has above 99.99% accuracy for DNA health test results.The company can overwhelm your inbox with updates and promotional emails.
You can connect to other customers whose dogs share DNA matches with your dog.Sometimes the instructions can be a bit confusing.
The test kit is easy to use, and the platform is easy to navigate.
Overall Best
Embark Breed & Health Condition Identification DNA Test for Dogs
  • Most accurate and highest-rated dog DNA kit on the market
  • Use simple and painless cheek swab
  • The world's only canine relative finder
  • Can analyze over 200,000 genetic markers
Check Chewy Check Amazon

#2 Best Dog DNA Test for Health Screening: Wisdom Panel Premium Breed & Health Condition Identification DNA Test For Dogs

The Wisdom Panel Premium is a recently released breed DNA test that is comparable to Embark’s Breed and Health Kit but comes in as one of our top picks for screening for genetic markers of health concerns in certain breeds. At a glance, the two tests seem quite similar with the exception of the price. Wisdom Panel prices their kit at $159 which is considerably more affordable than Embark’s retail price of $199. 

Like Embark, Wisdom Panel has accumulated data on more than 350 breeds including coyotes and wolves. However, it only analyzes 100,000 markers which affects its accuracy. While not as precise as Embark, we did see some similarities in the results. Our staff’s test kit picked up the German shepherd in their mixed breed pup, but not the chow.

Now, what makes this dog DNA test better for health screening is that it screens for 211 genetic health conditions including muscular atrophy and sensitivity to medications (MDR1) — the highest number compared to all other tests in the market. The report informs you whether or not your dog is at risk. It also lets you know if your dog is a carrier, which is important information if you’re planning to breed him/her. 

Moreover, the Wisdom Panel Premium also tests for medical complications (over 25 of them) which include bleeding disorders. These conditions can cause serious problems during simple, routine procedures like neutering if undetected. The heartbreak that this report can prevent makes the Wisdom Panel kit well worth the cost. 

Pros and Cons of the Wisdom Panel Premium Breed & Health Condition Identification DNA Test For Dogs

ProsCons
Wisdom Panel’s dog DNA test kit is a less expensive option.The test only analyzes 100,000 generic markers (whereas Embark’s test analyzes 200,000). This makes the results a bit less accurate than Embark’s test.
The test compares your dog’s DNA with over 350 dog breeds in Wisdom Panel’s database. This includes coyotes and wolves.The company provides an e-report that is delivered to your account. However, if you want to share it, you’ll have to print the summary as there is no downloadable report. This can make it a bit more difficult to share the results with others.
It screens for 211 genetic health conditions, including muscular atrophy and MDR1 (sensitivity to medications). This is the highest number of any dog DNA test on the market.
It also tells you if your dog is a carrier for a genetic health condition, an important factor when it comes to breeding.
The Wisdom Panel Premium also tests for over 25 medical complications, such as bleeding disorders.
The kit is easy to use with clear instructions.
Best Dog DNA Test for Health Screening
Wisdom Panel Premium Breed & Health Condition Identification DNA Test For Dogs

•Screens 211 genetic mutations

•Tests 25 medical implications

•Genetic diversity & family tree

•Easy use

Check Chewy Check Amazon

#3 Best Budget-Friendly Breed DNA Test: Wisdom Panel Essential Breed Identification DNA Test for Dogs

Not everyone has the cash to spare. If you have a limited budget and are only interested in the breed makeup of your pup, we recommend that you get the Wisdom Panel Essential

For just $100, you still get access to the company’s comprehensive database. In addition to the breed breakdown, you will also get family tree and trait results, which include coat and color as well as anatomical structure. You’ll even be provided with an ideal weight range for your dog based on his genetics. 

More importantly, this kit also includes testing for over 25 medical complications which include immune deficiencies, drug sensitivities, and bleeding disorders. That’s more than what other basic kits in the market are offering. So, if you want the most bang for your buck, we recommend sticking with this one. Just take note that it can be difficult to share the in-depth results with others, as the e-report is available in your account but there is not a downloadable report, which means that you can only print the summary.

Pros and Cons of the Wisdom Panel Essential Breed Identification DNA Test for Dogs

ProsCons
This is the least expensive option, which is great for those on a tight budget.Does not provide as many results and in-depth details as the previous options.
The results contain a breed breakdown, family tree, and 35+ traits for your dog from the company’s comprehensive database.The company provides an e-report that is delivered to your account. However, if you want to share it, you’ll have to print the summary as there is no downloadable report. This can make it a bit more difficult to share the results with others.
The kit tests for over 25 medical complications (such as immune deficiencies, sensitivity to medications, and bleeding disorders).The analyses only use 100,000 genetic markers.
Although it is a more basic option, this DNA test kit offers much more than other similar kits on the market.This test does not screen for genetic mutations and carrier status.
The database includes some breeds outside of the US.
Best Budget-Friendly Breed DNA Test
Wisdom Panel Essential Breed Identification DNA Test for Dogs

•Database includes some breeds outside US

•Identifies 35+ traits

•Family tree finder

• 25+ medical implications

Check Chewy Check Amazon

What to Look for in a Dog DNA Test Kit: Our Criteria and Experience

From the research our team conducted, we pulled some key factors that aid in the decision-making process when it comes time to pick which DNA testing kit may be best for your dog.

There are three main criteria we considered when choosing the best dog DNA testing kit:

  • Depth
  • Speed
  • Precision

Let’s look at these factors in more detail.

Depth

What’s your reason for testing your dog’s DNA? The answer to that question should help you determine whether to get a basic or premium test. If you’re just curious about what breeds make up your rescue pup, then a more basic test not including extensive health screening should do the trick. However, if it’s important that you determine potential health risks, genetic mutations, and carrier status, you’ll need to purchase a canine DNA test that includes those results for your dog in its analyses.

Speed

Most, if not all, dog DNA kits promise delivery of results within two to six weeks. However, some of them may test your patience. Don’t forget to factor this in when you’re considering your purchase, especially if you need to get the results as soon as possible.

Precision

The most important factor you need to consider when choosing a dog DNA test is accuracy. This is especially important if you want to get insight into the potential health problems that your dog may face in the future. Some companies state that their tests’ accuracy is nearly 100%. Others are considered to be only 90% accurate.

It really comes down to the specific dog and situation in which you are searching for a testing kit for your pet. One of our team members, for example, has a rough collie for whom she wanted to genetically test for the multi-drug resistance mutation (Mdr1). Throughout the process, our research helped guide her to which brand and test she needed based on an individualised set of requirements she was looking for. We hope these points of reference help you to decide whether or not to test your dog and which one may be the best option for them!

DNA Test Kit Summary

While learning more about your pet is an exciting endeavour, some results owners receive may implicate health complications in the future for their furry friends. It is important to understand the possibility of this news before embarking on the journey. Remember that if results of genetic diseases or disorders are presented, it is in the best interest of the dog to set up a plan with a veterinarian going forward to ensure the best care, medical treatment, and quality of life for the dog.

Up Next…

After taking a deep dive into your dog’s background, we thought you might want to check out some of these related articles!

About the Author

Growing up in rural New England on a small scale farm gave me a lifelong passion for animals. I love learning about new wild animal species, habitats, animal evolutions, dogs, cats, and more. I've always been surrounded by pets and believe the best dog and best cat products are important to keeping our animals happy and healthy. It's my mission to help you learn more about wild animals, and how to care for your pets better with carefully reviewed products.

Reviewed for You: The 3 Best Dog DNA Test Kits FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Which dog DNA test is the most accurate?

The Embark dog DNA test kit is considered the most accurate, with a 95% to 99% accuracy for breed composition results, and above 99.99% accuracy for DNA health test results.

Is Wisdom Panel DNA tests or Embark DNA tests better?

The answer depends on what you are looking for in your results. Since Embark uses twice the number of genetic markers in its analyses as Wisdom Panel, it can provide more accuracy in your dog’s DNA results. However, Wisdom Panel’s test can identify more rare breeds in your dog’s breed composition, and it can still inform you of potential genetic disorders and diseases.

Can a DNA test tell if your dog has any wolf in them?

The Embark dog DNA test will tell you if your dog’s breed composition has any of over 350 different canine breeds, including wolves, coyotes, dingoes, and village dogs.

The Wisdom Panel dog DNA test can also tell you if your dog has any wolf and coyote DNA, although it is not as precise and accurate as Embark’s test.

Can a dog DNA test kit tell you how old your dog is?

The DNA test kits discussed here cannot tell you the age of your dog. However, Embark recently released a new Dog Age Test that measures a dog’s calendar age using their DNA.

Which test will tell if your dog's health is at risk?

Both Embark and Wisdom Panel offer kits that are comprehensive and can asses genetic disorders and diseases in your dog. However, Wisdom Panel’s Premium kit screens for more medical concerns than Embark’s kit does.

How long does it take to get results?

Results from your Wisdom Panel usually arrive after two to three weeks.

Results from an Embark DNA test usually take around two to five weeks.

How does each kit get your dog's DNA?

All three tests use a saliva swab to get your dog’s DNA.

The Wisdom Panel kit comes with two saliva swabs that have bristle-like heads. You rub each swab on the inside of your dog’s cheek for 30 seconds a piece.

The Embark kit comes with one saliva swab that has a cotton head. You rub the swab on the inside of your dog’s cheek for 30 seconds.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.