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DNA testing for dogs has gotten increasingly popular as more and more people adopt dogs who are of mixed breed. Aside from finding out your dog’s breed makeup, DNA tests can also help to determine what type of health issues your dog may experience throughout his or her lifetime according to the type of genes they’ve inherited. Knowing what type of genes are present in your dog’s DNA can help with training and healthcare.
There are a number of DNA testing companies out there and before you choose one, it helps to understand a bit of the science behind the test and what it can tell you about your dog. Also, although the results of a DNA test can help guide you in what type of health conditions your dog may experience in their life, it’s best to share the DNA test results with your vet to come up with a comprehensive wellness plan for your pup.
How Does A DNA Dog Test Work?
Companies create and maintain a database of breed-related genetic markers and from that, take your dog’s DNA sample and compare it to the database in order to find out what markers show up. By running your dog’s DNA sample alongside the database, these DNA testing companies can get an idea of what breeds make up your dog’s background going as far back as three generations.
However, the accuracy of the tests depends on the company conducting the test. DNA testing companies that have a larger database to pull from tend to be more accurate. The best DNA testing companies include a majority of the American Kennel Club’s 180 recognized breeds.
What Can A DNA Test Tell Me About My Dog?
A DNA test can help determine what breeds make up your dog’s genetic profile. Assuming that you didn’t get your dog from a breeder, you probably aren’t certain exactly what breed (or breeds) your dog is. Nowadays, a lot more people are adopting dogs that are made up of two, three or even more breeds and it can be nice to know what type of dog you rescued, if only for having an answer at the dog park to the question “what breed is your dog?”
But aside from being confident in answering the breed question, it’s also important to know so that you can find out how best to take care of your dog’s needs in the best breed-specific way possible. Some breeds pass down specific diseases or health issues that you might want to be able to anticipate and plan for.
Having said that, it's worth pointing out that less purebred your dog is, the more healthy they're likely to be from a genetic point of view.
The Most Popular At-Home DNA Test Kits
And now it comes down to choosing which kit to purchase. With prices ranging anywhere from $80 to $200, it’s important to do your homework before deciding.
Most of these kits require that you swab the inside of your dog’s cheek and pack the swabs into a container provided then mail it back to the company. The company will then send back your results either via email, postal mail, or by having you log into an online account.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the more popular ones on the market today. Read on for more information!
According to the Embark website, an Embark
dog DNA test will tell you about your dog’s breed, ancestry, health, and relatives. The test looks at over 250 breeds and more than 175 genetic health conditions and traits. The results are very detailed, similar to that of a human DNA test, and includes a list of all the breeds that matched up to your dog’s DNA and the percentages of each.
The report also details any health conditions to be aware of with a detailed report explaining what the condition is and how to interpret the results. You’ll get your results back in two to four weeks. Results will be shared with you on their website as well as in printable PDF format.
Wisdom Panel Health, $149 OR Wisdom Panel 4.0, $84.99
Wisdom Panel offers two types of DNA tests, Wisdom Panel Health
, $149 OR Wisdom Panel 4.0
, $84.99. Both include the basics of DNA dog testing by identifying breeds from, as they advertise, the world’s largest database of more than 350 breeds, types, and varieties. They also do a trait analysis. The more expensive “Health” option includes a screening for over 150 genetic health conditions while the “4.0” option does not.
The report is comprehensive and helps to walk you through the steps of understanding your dog’s information. It takes about two to three weeks to get your results back. An email will be sent informing you that your results are ready to access in your online account. A physical report will not be mailed to you.
Orivet DNA Test, $109
will compare your dog’s DNA with a database of genetic markers for more than 250 breeds. In addition to breed percentages, the report also includes routine health care advice, nutritional suggestions for your dog, and what they call a “Basic Health Schedule and LifePlan.”
For an additional cost, you can bundle the DNA kit with a health screen that also includes a personalized wellness plan according to the breeds. It screens over 180 heritable diseases and traits. They also encourage pet parents to answer a few questions about their pet to get more customized results. You’ll get your results via email within 10-14 days after receiving your dog’s sample.
Find My Pet DNA, $85-$175
With Find My Pet DNA
, the Dog Breed Identification DNA Test costs $84.95 and the Dog DNA Health Screen + DNA Tests costs $175. There are a few other options as well, Dog DNA Health Screen + Life Plan costs $129.95 & Dog Breed Identification DNA Test + Life Plan costs $129.95.
This is your basic DNA test with not a lot of bells and whistles by offering basic information about breed and health. Find My Pet DNA testing includes a health screening and pulls from a database of approximately 200 breeds. They’ll include a custom photo certificate of your pup’s DNA composition. You’ll get your results are back within two weeks after they receive your dog’s sample.