The 5 Best Dog DNA Tests of 2021

Analyze your pup’s genetics with these simple kits

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The Rundown
"Considered by many to be the gold standard of dog DNA tests, this kit has a database of more than 350 breeds."
"This less expensive version skips the health screening and trait reports but has the same database and genetic marker analysis."
Best for Health Screening:
Wisdom Panel Premium Dog DNA Test at Amazon
"The premium test screens for over 200 genetic conditions, including about 25 that could cause problems during routine procedures."
"This is a great option if you’re primarily interested in your dog’s breed makeup."
"Along with your dog's breed, Orivet gives you a personalized wellness plan for your pet."

Of course, you love your dog no matter his or her background. But if you’re curious where your pup got those silly ears or bonkers personality, you might be tempted to try a dog DNA test. These easy-to-use kits can unlock all kinds of secrets about your pup’s genetic background—making them great gifts for the dog adopter on your list—and some can even reveal possible health concerns. The more detailed tests compare your dog to hundreds of breeds ranging from popular Labrador retrievers and bulldogs to rare Carolina dogs and wolves.

Tests take just a few minutes to complete. You take a sample of cheek slobber from your doggy using the enclosed swabs, mail them away, and you’ll get your results within a few weeks. 

Here’s a look at some of the best dog DNA tests on the market.

Best Overall: Embark Breed & Health Kit

Embark Breed and Health Kit

Considered by many to be the gold standard of dog DNA tests, the Embark Breed & Health kit was developed by veterinarians in partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. It runs your pet’s DNA against a database of more than 350 breeds using 200,000 genetic markers and screens for more than 190 genetic health conditions and traits.

This test also has a “DNA relative finder,” which lets you connect with other dogs that have also been tested with Embark that share DNA with your pup. (Long-lost puppy reunion, anyone?)

Embark says results provide “greater than 99.99 percent accuracy for most tests.” Results typically take three to five weeks. You’ll be able to see your dog’s details on a dashboard online or you can download a report. You can take that to your vet or email or call Embark’s customer service if you need help understanding your results. This is typically the priciest test, but it's the one that is often recommended by veterinarians, breeders, and rescue groups.

Best Value: Embark DNA Test Breed Identification Kit

Embark Dog DNA Test Breed Identification Kit

Like the other Embark test, this one analyzes 200,000 genetic markers and has a database of more than 350,000 breeds. It will give you clues to your dog’s family tree, letting you find other dogs that share your pup’s DNA. It gives details on ancestry connections as far back as great-grandparents.

The test is a simple cheek swab, and the results take three to five weeks. Embark offers online or phone support to explain results, and you can look at details on a dashboard or print them out. The main difference is that this less expensive version does not include any screening on genetic health risks or physical trait reports. Embark also offers funding and genetic tests to shelters and rescue groups in the U.S. and Nepal.

Best for Health Screening: Wisdom Panel Premium Dog DNA Test

Wisdom Panel Dog DNA Test

Like Embark, Wisdom Panel also has two versions. In addition to offering a genetic DNA profile, the premium test screens for more than 200 genetic conditions including about 25 that could cause problems during routine medical procedures such as spaying and neutering.

Most results are delivered about two to three weeks after the lab receives your sample. You’ll receive information about your pet’s health, ancestry, and traits, with each section offering details about how your dog’s unique genetics might impact its daily life. Plus, Wisdom Panel will help you fully understand your dog's results with the option for an online or phone consultation.

Wisdom Panel claims to have the largest breed database with more than 350 profiles including wolf and coyote. But the newest Embark tests have similar breed databases. You’ll get information on traits like coat color, type, and body features, as well as an ideal weight range, so you can plan dinner time accordingly.

Wisdom Panel uses 1,800 genetic markers. It collaborates with research labs and academic labs, such as Washington State University, and offers expert consultations if you need help understanding your results.

Best for Mixed Breeds: Wisdom Panel Essential Dog DNA Test

Wisdom Panel Essential

This is a great option if you’re primarily interested in your dog’s breed makeup. Wisdom Panel’s essential test has a massive database of more than 350 breeds. If your pet has as little as 1 percent of pug, border collie, or poodle, this test will ID it. 

Although this DNA product doesn’t have the in-depth health screenings of some other tests, it checks for more than 25 potential medical complications. You’ll get results that trace your pet’s ancestry back to their great-grandparents and can get free support if you need help understanding your dog’s results.

These are the only two current Wisdom Panel tests, but you can find older, less expensive versions that offer a smaller breed database or fewer health checks available on sites like Amazon or Chewy.

Best Follow-up Plan: Orivet Mixed-Breed Identification & Life Plan Dog DNA Test Kit

Mixed Breed

Once you know your dog’s DNA makeup, that's interesting trivia to tell your friends (and your dog). But having information about your dog’s genetic makeup and any potential medical risks can help you keep your pet healthy. 

The Orivet Mixed-Breed Identification & Life Plan comes with a personalized wellness plan for your pet based on their breeds, as well as age, weight, gender, location, and lifestyle. It includes detailed information on potential health risks and suggested routine care that you can share with your vet.

Orivet’s database includes 250 dog breeds and will give you results going back three generations. Results typically take 10 to 14 days after your sample is received. Orivet offers customer support via email if you have questions understanding your results.

Final Verdict

The best overall kit to determine your dog’s DNA is the Embark Breed & Heath Kit (view on Chewy). For a slightly less expensive version, consider the Embark’s DNA Test Breed Identification Kit (view at Chewy). 

Why Trust Treehugger?

The proud mom of a somewhat border collie rescue dog, Mary Jo DiLonardo has fostered 30 dogs and puppies. Almost every adoption, the forever family is curious about the breed and asks for advice about DNA tests. For more than 25 years, Mary Jo has covered a wide range of topics focused on nature, pets, health, science, and anything that helps make the world a better place. She has spent six years with Treehugger, formerly under the Mother Nature Network brand.