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Dog DNA Tests: Overview, Explanation, and Kit Reviews

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dog dna test reviews

Dog DNA Tests: An Introduction

Dog DNA tests allow you to get a better understanding of your dog’s genetics and breed background. Everything from your dog’s ear to the shape of their tail provides unique information about your pup’s past history. Dog DNA tests allow owners to discover their doggie family tree!

Many owners think that they know what breed their dog is by looking at their physical appearance, but the truth is that most breed qualities won’t be obvious or physically apparent. Many owners are shocked with the results of their dog breed DNA test, finding that their dog has several breeds in them that they never expected!

Why Do Owners Get Dog DNA Tests?

Owners decide to purchase dog DNA test kits for a number of reasons, including:

  • Understanding Your Dog’s Behaviors. Owners are sometimes curious about their dog’s strange behaviors and want to find out if breed plays a role. If your dog loves to dig, is big on barking, or you catch him herding ducks at the park, his breed may have something to do with it!
  • Learning More About Your Mixed Breed Mutt. Mutts are the most popular breed in the US, and is it any wonder considering how loveable they are? While owners love their mutts just as they are, owners are often curious about their dog’s ancestry.
  • Potential Illnesses Common in Certain Breeds. Dog DNA tests can clue owners in to potential health risks that are associated with certain breeds, allowing you to foresee and possibly help prevent future illness.
  • Family Trees Are Fun. Just as humans enjoy learning about their own ancestry, owners also enjoy learning about their dog’s parents and great grandparents. The honest truth is that your dog could care less, but owners find exploring their dog’s family tree tons of fun!
  • Weight Range Prediction. Dog DNA tests can help puppy owners estimate how big their dog will eventually become at full adult size. This information can also help you determine what a healthy weight number is for your mixed breed dog.
  • Prevent Purebred Inbreeding. For purebred dogs, dog DNA tests can help provide breed certification (although not all organizations will accept all DNA test brands as verifiable breed proof). You’ll also be able to determine the level of genetic diversity inbreeding, which is very important for breeding purebred dogs.

How Do Dog DNA Tests Work?

It’s actually a very simple process.

  • Step 1. You’ll take a DNA sample from your dog (don’t worry, it’s nothing painful or scary – just a simple cheek swab).
  • Step 2. Seal up the DNA sample with the materials provided and send the sample back to the lab you ordered the kit from.
  • Step 3. In 2-3 weeks, you’ll receive your dog ancestry report, detailing your dog’s genealogy!

Dog DNA Test Accuracy

There are always many questions about the reliability and accuracy of dog DNA tests.

There are various dog DNA tests available on the market, with some brands being more reliable than others. However, if you’re purchasing a trusted dog DNA test, there’s no reason to doubt the results.

dog dna test kit

Still, some owners find their results quite dubious. There are a few reasons why people may question the results of their dog DNA test.

1. Your Dog May Not Look Like The Breeds Reported

Owners may laugh when they get back a report saying their dog has Chihuahua, despite not physically resembling the breed. Looks don’t always have much say when it comes to your dog’s genetics. In fact, studies have shown that visual identification of breeds in dogs is only accurate about 25% of the time! 

A human child can look more like their grandparents than their parents, and the same can apply towards dogs. Dogs may have visual attributes of breeds from more distant relatives.

dog dna test kit reviews

Some breeds have physical characteristics that exist as recessive traits, while other breeds have traits that are more dominant. Even though your dog may have mostly Yorkshire Terrier in their DNA, your dog could physically look like a totally different breed, even if that breed makes up a small percent of your dog’s DNA compared to the Yorkshire.

A dog’s physical appearance is not always a proper representation of the breeds that are in your dog’s genes.

2. Your Vet Said Your Dog Was A Different Breed

Vets are susceptible to mistakes as well, and they’ll often make assumptions about a dog’s breed based on the dog’s physical appearances.

3. Some Owners Believe Their Dog Is Purebred

Those who are infuriated with results of dog DNA tests are often owners who are confident that they own purebred dogs (and perhaps shelled out big money for a purebred).

Sadly, not all breeders tell the truth about their dog’s genetic backgrounds.

This isn’t to say that dog DNA tests are always 100% accurate. Human error can play a role as well. Other elements that affect the accuracy of a dog DNA test include:

  • The DNA Sample. Allowing owners to take DNA samples from their dogs via cheek swab makes the process very easy, but also leaves room for human error if the user does not read the instructions carefully or makes a mistake.
  • The DNA Breed Database. The more breeds that are in the DNA testing lab’s database, the more accurate the results will be.

Dog DNA Test Cost: What You’ll Spend

There are several different brands of dog DNA tests (which we will be reviewing in detail below), and the cost can vary a bit between brands.

Generally, dog dna tests cost between $60 – $80.

Dog DNA Test Reviews: Our Top Picks

We’re reviewing our top picks for the best dog dna tests.

Wisdom Panel 2.5 Review

wisdom panel 2.5

Overview: Wisdom Panel 2.5 is a dog DNA test from Wisdom Panel, a company with several years experience (and ever-improving kits) for dog DNA testing. Tests can be used to determine mixed breed ancestry, purebred ancestry, or confirm designer dog genetics.

Rating: 

Features:

  • Simple & Easy. The Wisdom Panel dog dna testing kit is simple and easy to use, with clear, step-by-step instructions.
  • Cheek Swab Kit. Get a sample of your dog’s DNA by rubbing a cheek swab on the inside of your dog’s mouth. Put it in the included container, ship it back, and you’ll have your report a couple weeks later.
  • Advanced Breed History Report. Wisdom Panel provides an advanced, detailed breed ancestry report which is designed to help provide insight into your dog’s behavior, weight expectations, and any potential health issues associated with specific breeds. The report can also be customized to provide specific information regarding mixed breed dogs, purebred dogs, or designer dogs.

dog dna test review

  • Sophisticated Tech. Wisdom Panel 2.5 can recognize over +200 different canine breed types and varieties. The Wisdom Panel database examines +321 markers to determine various breeds within your dog from a breed database of over +10,000 samples.
  • Fast Turn Around Time. Wisdom Panel 2.5 will send back your dog breed dna testing results within 2-3 weeks.
  • New MDR1 Genetic Mutation Test. Wisdom Panel 2.5 tests for the MDR1 genetic mutation involving multi-drug sensitivity, which can assist owners in preventing adverse drug reactions.
  • Highly Rated Customer Service. Owners who use Wisdom Panel rave about the brand’s stellar customer service and the speediness of the dog dna testing results.
  • Meet Your Dog’s Great Grandparents. Wisdom Panel dog DNA tests can show your dog’s breed ancestry as far back as your dog’s great-grandparents.
  • Available on Amazon. Wisdom Panel 2.5 is available to purchase on Amazon, and is also available for Amazon Prime shipping.

Canine DNA Breed Identification Test Review

dog dna test

Overview: The DNA My Dog Canine Breed Identification test is a dog DNA kit helping you discover your dog’s ancestry.

Rating: 

Features:

  • Simple, Easy Directions. Use the provided DNA cheek swab kit to get a DNA sample from your dog, which you then ship back to the lab for testing.
  • Paper and Electronic Report. DNA My Dog provides a paper and electronic version of your dog’s genealogy, with each breed listed by percentage.

dna my dog test

  • Report Provides Health and Behavior Insight. The DNA My Dog report provides general info regarding breed health concerns and personality attributes that may be found with your dog’s breed history.
  • DNA Certificate. Comes with a DNA Analysis Certificate that can be framed.
  • Fast Turn Around. Receive your dog’s ancestry report within 2 weeks.
  • Available From Amazon. The DNA My Dog report is available from Amazon, although it’s not eligible for Amazon Prime shipping, requiring an additional shipping fee.

Pros: Simple, easy to use, and fast.

Cons: As with many dog dna tests, customers tend to question the results. In our research, we also concluded that the DNA My Dog report was less thorough compared to the Wisdom Panel kit.
What’s been your experience with dog DNA tests? Share your experience in the comments below!

About the Author Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Senior Editor at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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Leave a Comment:

2 comments
Viki Duncan says July 10, 2016

Awww, you used my dog in one of your examples! She’s famous now! :o)

Reply
    Guest Writer says July 10, 2016

    Nice, which dog is yours? A true star!

    Reply
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