Updated: July 2018
Imagine you could save your dog’s life…
With DNA testing you’ll know if your dog carries a gene that puts them at risk of a terrible disease.
Maybe, you just want to know which breeds made your gorgeous “limited edition” pup.
Yes, whether you have a purebred pooch or a ‘limited edition’ mixed breed, a DNA test can help you be proactive with your dog’s health. And reveal secrets about your dog you never knew.
If you’re in a rush, check out my top choice for the Best Dog DNA Test Kits…
Embark Dog DNA Test.
Or use the links below and be magically transported to any section you’re interested in.
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So, you’re here to check out my best dog DNA test kit reviews.
Best Dog DNA Test Kit Reviews – Comparison Chart
Embark Dog DNA Test
Mars Wisdom Panel 3.0
DNA MY Dog Test
IdentiBreed Dog DNA Test
|Genetic Disease Testing||160 Diseases||No||No||160 Diseases|
|Family Tree||3rd Generation||3rd Generation||3rd Generation||Unknown|
|Research Facility||Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine||Washington State University||Unknown||Unknown|
|Accepted by OFA||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|MDR1 Drug Sensitivity Test||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Breed Database Size||160 Breeds||250+ Breeds||85||300|
|Read My Full Review||Read My Full Review||Read My Full Review||Read My Full Review||Read My Full Review|
|View on Amazon||See the Embark DNA Test on Amazon||See the Mars Wisdom Panel on Amazon||See the DNA My Dog Test on Amazon||See the Identibreed Dog DNA Test on Amazon|
Best Dog DNA Test Kit Reviews
You want the best and most accurate one. Right?
So I’ve pulled together all the information on the best kits.
Now you don’t have to spend days figuring out which one is right for you.
I’ve also put together a handy comparison chart so you can see these kits side by side.
And check out the buyers guide to learn about the in’s and out’s of what the best DNA tests should offer you.
Embark Dog DNA Test
The Dog DNA test from Embark is one of the most popular tests on the market. It’s also considered one of the most accurate tests by pooch parents.
A Genetic Marker is a specific gene that produces a recognizable trait in your dog. And it’s unique, just like your dog’s paw print is.
So the more genetic markers tested the more accurate the information about your dog’s genetic make up will be.
Over 200,000 markers are tested with Embark’s DNA test. This number is the highest of all three the DNA test kits reviewed here.
This is an important feature of this test. Because, more detail means more information about health risks, breed specific needs and ancestry.
Genetic Disease Testing
One of the most important features of a DNA test is to help you understand any health risks your dog has.
Imagine you could save the eyesight of your dog…
Now imagine your dog carries the gene for Progressive Retinal Atrophy. It’s a gene that causes blindness in dogs.
It’s not curable.
There is treatment that slows down the blindness. And dogs that got early treatment kept their eye sight until the end of their lives.
See how important Genetic Disease Testing is?
With this kind of information you will be one step ahead. And you can act proactively to give your dog the best medical care they need.
Embark runs tests for over 160 genetic diseases. This is by far the most comprehensive disease testing. And a feature that makes it one of the best DNA tests on the market.
And whether you have a pure bred or mixed breed dog, you need to know what possible diseases your dog is prone to.
Want to know why your dog has a bobtail?
Want to know where your dog got those cute whiskers from?
And why does your dog has that beautiful coat?
And why does your dog shed so much?
With the information Embark gives you, you’ll understand why your dog looks and acts the way they do.
I think this is a great benefit, especially when it comes to training your mixed breed dog.
One dog owner changed her training style after learning about her dog’s traits. And has had awesome results with her “limited edition” pup.
You’ll also learn about the secrets of your dog’s coat, body build and size.
It happens more than your think. And it causes an increase of genetically inherited conditions.
From the genetic diversity test you’ll also find out if your dog is inbred. And what possible health issues that could cause.
This is important information for both pure bred and mixed breed dogs.
As far as I can tell Embark’s test doesn’t give any information about weight prediction. Which would be helpful for mixed breed pups.
Or if you’re looking to find out more about the nutritional needs of your dog.
But considering all the other info you’re getting you can easily figure this out.
You’ll be happy to know that Embark will update your dog’s profile as they discover new information. And they are the only company that does this.
So, if there’s new connected to your dog, you’ll know about it.
You can access this information by login into your account on your phone or your browser.
You’ll benefit from cutting edge science. And you’ll be contributing to the research they do.
But don’t worry, none of your personal information will be shared.
Check out this video for a quick explanation of how Embark’s test works…
Embark partners with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
And according to them they have the best geneticists who specialize in canine DNA research.
Embark is also accepted by the Orthopedic Foundation of America.
MDR1 Drug Sensitivity Test
Embark also tests for the MDR1 gene. It’s a multi-drug sensitivity gene. And it’s actually very important to know if your dog has this gene.
If they do, it means they’re sensitive drugs used for anesthesia as an example. But there is a list of other drugs too.
One customer of Embark commented about how she could decide not to put her dog in danger because he carries the MDR1 gene.
Embark claims it is the only DNA test that tests for this gene. But from my research I’ve found that the Mars Wisdom Panel tests for this too.
I contacted Embark to find out more about their MDR1 test and got this reply…
While we can’t speak to whatever arrangements Mars may have with other entities, the MDR1 gene mutation we test for is highly accurate and looks at the same genetic defect as the one Mars claims to test for.
The breed database that Embark has 160 different breeds. It covers 98% of the breeds in the United States.
They also test if your dog has wolf, coyote and village dog ancestry.
And as standard with all the tests they go back to the third generation. So you’ll know the breeds all the way back to your dog’s great grandparents.
Check out this full preview of what you’ll see from your dog’s DNA test results…
Embark’s DNA test takes the longest to reveal the results. You’ll get your results in 6 to 8 weeks.
It’s a long time to wait. But if you consider everything they test for. And the detailed results, the time line makes sense.
I had a question for the folks at Embark so I sent them an email. I got a reply on the same day. Now that’s good customer service!
Other dog owners have commented positively on Embark’s customer service too.
They’re good at keeping you up to date on the progress of the test. And they’re available to chat to you about the results.
Once customer shared that a team member at Embark spent an hour with her on a call. They were happy to spend time answering her questions and discussing her dog’s results.
That’s a nice touch in my opinion.
I’d be lying to you if I said the DNA test from Embark is perfect. So I’ll share with you some thing that are worth nothing.
Some customer waited much longer than the 6 to 8 weeks for their results. But this is the exception, not the rule as most pooch parents got their results on time.
And besides, these glitches happen with any service. So it’s not a deal breaker for me.
I also came across dog owners who were unhappy with the results.
The truth is, a dog might look like a mix of certain breeds but actually have little or none of those genetic markers.
And if a dog’s grandparents and great grandparents were also mixed breeds it becomes more difficult to pin point those markers.
But it’s not a fault with Embark’s test. It’s the same with ALL DNA tests.
That being said, Embark was active in making contact with the owners to discuss the results.
And one customer even spoke with the director of Embark who offered to redo the test.
Should You Buy Embark’s Dog DNA Test?
Yes, I think it’s totally worth it.
Embark’s test is the most in-depth one on the market.
You learn about your dog’s health risks which is the most important feature. It gives you an opportunity to give your dog the best preventative medical care.
You’ll understand your dog’s behavior traits and personality better. Making it easier to train and work with them.
Your’ll be kept in the loop on any new discoveries about your dog’s profile. And this is all free of charge. And you’ll get a report specifically put together for your vet. This means you and your vet can both plan and execute the best heath care for your pooch.
Sure, it’s a little more pricey than the other tests I’ve reviewed here. But if you consider how deep the test dives into your dog’s DNA, it’s a small price to pay.
Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 3.0 DNA Test Kit
Like I mentioned before, genetic markers recognize a specific gene in your dog’s unique DNA ‘paw print’. Then it’s compared to other genetic markers to pin point traits in your dog.
The more markers, the more accurate the test will be.
The Mars Wisdom panel has over 1800 genetic markers in their database. It’s way less than the 200k of Embark’s database.
Which means there are less traits to compare your dog’s DNA to. In my opinion, this will make the test results less accurate.
Genetic Disease Testing
Genetic disease testing is super important. And this is where the Mars Wisdom Panel falls short in a major way.
The more you know about the secrets of your dog’s genetics, the better you can plan to care for them.
This is true for pure bred and mixed breed dogs.
From my research it seems Mars doesn’t test for any genetic diseases. I have found no information that they do anywhere. Not even on their website.
Like I said, this is a big flaw. I mean, what’s the point of a DNA test if it doesn’t reveal any genetic diseases your dog could develop?
Like Embark’s test, the Wisdom Panel will give you a bunch of information about the lineage of your pooch.
And it goes all the way back to your dog’s great grandparents.
In most cases you’ll learn about why your dog acts and looks the way they do.
If you want to give your dog the best life, these secrets are a great benefit to know. Especially when it comes to training your dog.
Knowing the needs of your dog will help you create the best plan to stimulate them mentally and physically.
If you like to geek out on canine conditioning and nutrition you’ll be happy to know Mars gives you weight predictions.
This is especially useful for mixed breed pups and rescue pooches. And if you want to create a nutritionally balanced diet for your dog this is going to be super helpful.
Check out this simple explanation of how the Wisdom Panel 3.0 tests your dog’s DNA…
The Mars Wisdom Panel doesn’t update your dog’s profile as they learn new things through their research.
I think this is a huge drawback. Simply because one test can’t reveal everything about your dog’s DNA.
So having updates is essential so you can learn more and more about your dog’s specific needs. Of course, this will help you give your dog the best life. Just like you plan to.
Mars has been conducting genetic research since 1999. So they’re not a Micky Mouse company.
They partner directly with Washington State University. And are also partners with NEOGEN and are accepted by the Orthopedic Association of America.
MDR1 Drug Sensitivity Test
The Mars Wisdom Panel also tests for the MDR1 gene. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s a gene mutation that makes your dog sensitive to certain drugs.
These drugs can ultimately cause death in your dog, so it’s essential that you know if your dog has this gene.
As an example, if your dog carries the MDR1 gene mutation anesthetic drugs could take their life. So knowing if your dog carries this gene is essential.
Mars works from a database of over 250 different breeds. This is by far the largest database of all the DNA tests I’ve reviewed here.
Their database recognizes up to 99% of all the AKC registered breeds.
They also test for wild canids like wolves and coyotes. You’ll get a detailed profile of every breed detected in your dog’s DNA.
I think this is hugely helpful in understanding the needs of your dog.
And they test all the way back to the third generation. So you’ll know what your best friend’s great grand parents were.
The Mars Wisdom Panel can even test to find out if your dog is a Designer Pooch! Check out this quick video…
As a customer you get access to their team to discuss results which is standard with other DNA testing companies.
But one customer complained that trying to discuss results via phone was a terrible experience. She said they couldn’t give her any more insights and just read the results to her that she already had.
Another customer said all he received in response to an email he sent was a generic copy and paste answer.
But it’s likely only an isolated incident. Because there are customers that rate their customer service highly.
Mars is also active in replying to customer questions and complaints on Amazon. I am impressed with this and they score some points here from me.
Another plus point for Mars is their test results take only 2 to 3 weeks to be completed.
This less than half the time Embark takes. But with Embark you get a ton more information. So it makes sense that Mars will be much quicker to return results.
This is how easy it is to swab your dog. It only takes 30 seconds…
The main complaint from customers was the results they received.
But, if a dog’s grand parents and great grand parents were also mixed breeds the results become more diluted.
Pictures of their dogs and the results were like chalk and cheese. In all honesty I’m not sure some of those results were accurate.
Also, their email responses to some pooch parents were copy and paste responses. Which makes them lose points in my book.
Should You Buy the Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 3.0?
Overall it’s not a bad DNA test to choose. It comes with a very reasonable price tag.
If you only want to know the basics like your dog’s breed and ancestry. And also if they carry the MDR1 gene mutation, then the Mars Wisdom Panel is the best test at the best price.
But if you’re looking for in-depth information like genetic diseases then this is not the best choice for you. And you’re better off going with Embark’s DNA test.
DNA MY Dog Canine Breed Identification Test Kit
The more genetic markers a DNA test runs means more accuracy.
I couldn’t find any information on the number of genetic markers DNA My Dog uses.
All I could find was this statement on their FAQ page…
Since it is important to know how much information each marker will give you and the precision of the analysis being performed, basing a comparison on the number of markers used in the test is not necessarily valid.
I can’t see how two of the best DNA tests on the market would attach value to genetic markers while DNA My Dog seems to dismiss their importance.
Right here, the DNA My Dog test looses credibility.
Genetic Disease Testing
DNA My Dog is a canine breed testing lab. So that’s what they test for…
Breeds, and only breeds.
They only give you insight into possible diseases based on the dominant breeds found in your dog’s DNA.
This test won’t give you any information about genetic diseases or drug sensitivity genes like the MDR1 gene.
This test will give you insights into the physical and personality traits of your dog.
Like I mentioned before this is golden information to have. It’ll help you be proactive when it comes to giving your dog the best life.
And it’s going to make a huge difference to how you train and stimulate your dog mentally and physically. Which is a great benefit for your dog.
Although, one customer reported that the test results came back with the wrong gender for her dog.
I’m not joking!
It makes me wonder how accurate the rest of their results are if they can’t even get the gender of a dog right!
Like I mentioned before, I think regular updates are essential to get to know your dog better.
Science is making breakthroughs every day and learning more and more about our best friends.
Unfortunately this test won’t give you any updates on new findings.
From my research I haven’t found any information about where the swabs are tested. No research facilities or partnerships with organizations specializing in genetics are mentioned.
I find this very disappointing! And again, The DNA My Dog test loses more credibility with me.
MDR1 Drug Sensitivity Test
This test won’t give you any information on the MDR1 gene. Which is another let down.
Knowing whether your dog is sensitive to certain drugs can save their life. And in my opinion if you’re paying for a DNA test, this is the least they could do in terms of health tests.
DNA My Dog has a small breed database of only 85 breeds. They claim their test has a 99.7% accuracy. I don’t doubt this.
But with such a small database there’s a big chance one or more of your dog’s ancestors won’t show up.
The test goes back to the great grandparents which is standard with all dog DNA tests.
They do offer a wolf test. But this is at an extra cost. This seems a little cheeky when you consider Mars is only a few bucks more expensive and includes this test for free.
The first thing that struck me when I was researching their customer service is the radio silence when there were complaints.
Sure there were one or two replies to customer complaints but for the most part staff from DNA My Dog didn’t respond.
Although, for the complaints they did reply to they were more than willing to assist and even offered to re-test dogs for free.
Several customers also complained that their calls and emails were ignored.
The lack of communication is important so I’d like to see more communication and support for customers.
One thing I LOVE about this company is that they are helping shelters get dogs adopted. They are DNA testing shelter dogs to give potential pooch parents more information about the dogs. That way people can adopt a dog that’s right for them.
Of course this doesn’t have a direct affect on your dog’s DNA test or results. But it is a nice touch and something I admire.
I’ve already shared the gripes I have with this test so I’m not going to rehash them here…
Should You Buy The DNA My Dog Test?
If you only want to know what breeds your dog’s ancestors were then maybe.
But you can get that information with the Mars Panel test at a fraction of the price more.
Think about it…
Poor customer service, a tiny breed database and no connections with a well-known research facility.
Not to mention the fact that they give no information about the volume of their genetic markers.
Although this test is cheap, it’s quality doesn’t justify the price.
The DNA MY Dog test is not one of my favorites is my last choice when it comes to DNA testing your dog.
IdentiBreed Dog DNA Test
The IdentiBreed dog DNA test is reasonably new to the market. But despite being new, this test is pretty comprehensive.
Genetic markers are essential to any DNA test. And the more markers the lab has to work with, the better the results.
IdentiBreed doesn’t reveal how many markers they use. But if you consider that they test for over 160 health conditions, 125 allergies and can ID over 300 breeds, I’d say their markers are up there with the best.
Although, it would be a nice touch if the company would reveal how many markers they work with.
Genetic Health Testing
This is where this test starts to score some serious brownie points from me.
Because in the genetic department this test looks for 160 genetic conditions.
Obviously it tests for the MDR1 gene which could mean the difference between life and death for your pooch.
But they don’t stop there, here’s a list of all the areas IdentiBreed looks for genetic anomalies…
- Kidney and Bladder
- Brain and Spinal Cord
They also perform a canine stress test. Why is this important?
Research has shown that 70% of diseases due to chronic stress. So it’s beneficial to know if your pooch suffers from chronic stress.
They test this by using a hair sample, which according to them is much more reliable in measuring stress over time.
If your pooch is highly strung and you know about it, you can make sure to keep things low key to protect them from overloads of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Identibreed goes one step further through…
The also screen for food and environmental sensitivities – over 600 markers in total here. And also for vitamin, mineral and hormone levels.
Taking all of these factors into consideration will give you the best chance at keeping your pooch healthy for their whole life.
Of course, you’ll learn everything you need to know about your dog’s physical and personality traits.
Knowing the breed of your doggo’s ancestors will give you a glimpse into where they come from.
Knowing this will help you to train them, exercise them and also groom them according to their specific needs.
This is a huge benefit when it comes to being the pooch parent of a mixed breed doggo.
Overall feedback from customers on their dog’s genetic makeup is good.
At this point in time, Identibreed doesn’t offer free updates as they discover new information about specific breeds.
But, as I mentioned earlier, this is a newer test on the market, so this might change in the future.
From my research, I have not been able to find out which (if any) research facility IdentiBreed partners with.
MDR1 Drug Sensitivity Test
IdentiBreed does test specifically for the MDR1 gene. This is super important for you to know no matter what mix your dog is.
If they have this gene they are sensitive to a bunch of drugs that could cause serious complications and even death.
In my opinion, no matter what doggo you have, pure or mixed, you need to know their status when it comes to the MDR1 gene.
IdentiBreed works with 300 breed types. Which covers most of the registered breeds in the United States.
As far as I can tell their test does not include screening for wolf or coyote.
Test results take on average 2 to 3 weeks to get back. But they are open about the fact that sometimes it can take up to 4 weeks if they get a large number of samples at the same time.
I like the fact that they are open about these time frames, so they get a thumbs up from me here.
Several customers have reported that they are happy with the feedback and customer support they received.
Although, I’d like to see the company more active on Amazon when it comes to answering questions about their tests.
Just like with the other tests I’ve reviewed here, there are some points worth mentioning.
Although, overall folks were happy with the results they received, some weren’t.
The problem comes in when a doggo is a mix of a mix back to the 4th generation.
This is when the waters become murky and it’s difficult to call out specific breeds or the dog looks nothing like the breeds in the results.
But this is a drawback with any DNA test, not only with IdentiBreed.
The only thing I have an issue with is that providing a photo of your dog is a requirement. I want to see a test that is done without a photo.
But personally, I think the value in a DNA test is the health screening more than anything else.
And IdentiBreed does the genetic health screening very well.
Should You Buy the IdentiBreed Dog DNA Test?
Although this is a newer test on the market, I think it’s totally worth buying it.
They test for 160 health conditions in 16 categories. They also test for chronic stress, which is something new.
And they open up information about your dog’s vitamin, mineral and hormone levels.
This information alone is worth a lot for us folks who want the best for our pooches.
And to top it off, the price tag is more than reasonable.
So all-in-all, I’d say a definite yes to the IdentiBreed Canine DNA Test.
Dog DNA Test Kit – Buyer’s Guide
Not all Dog DNA test kits are created equal.
So features I cover in this review are the most important ones you should be aware of when choosing a DNA test for your dog.
Here’s a quick breakdown of each of them. Knowing what they are and what them mean for your dog will help you make the best choice.
Your dog and my dog have unique genetic markers, just like they have unique nose and paw prints. A genetic marker is what identifies distinctive traits in your dog.
So it makes sense that the more genetic markers a test uses, the more accurate it will be. To get the most accurate results, you should go with a test that has plenty of these markers.
Genetic Disease Testing
If you have a pure bred dog, you already know what diseases your pooch COULD get.
I know my German Shepherds are prone to Hip Dysplasia.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean they WILL develop this disease.
If you have a mixed breed like my GSD Collie mix, Lexi, things become more blurry…
Collies are prone to Progressive Retinal Atrophy – a disease that causes blindness.
And like I mentioned German Shepherds are prone to Hip Dysplasia.
But whether you have a pure bred or mixed breed dog, testing for genetically inherited diseases will give you the insight you need. Armed with this kind of information you and your vet can create a care plan that will support your dog and even prevent or slow down a disease.
Like I mentioned before, not all DNA tests are created equal. So Genetic Disease Testing doesn’t come standard with all tests. But I do recommend choosing one that includes Genetic Disease Testing.
Why does your dog have a black muzzle?
Why does your dog have pointy ears or a curly tail?
Where does your dog get their white chest from and their sleek short haired coat?
Because all DNA tests look at ancestry, you’ll get this information no matter which test you pick. It’s the most common and most basic information.
And it’s based on the traits and features all the way back to their great grandparents.
The high end tests on the market are always affiliated with a well-known university and research facility. And almost always giving back to the research community through more research and development.
Any DNA testing company that is connected to universities and research facilities are worth their salt.
MDR1 Drug Sensitivity Test
In my opinion, this test is up there with genetic disease testing. It tests for a gene mutation that can cause your dog to be sensitive to certain drugs.
Drugs that your dog is sensitive to can cause horrible side effects like temporary blindness.
There are hundreds of dog breeds all over the world. So like with genetic markers, the bigger the breed database the more accurate your results will be.
A big database means the chances of one of your dog’s ancestor’s markers being picked up much more likely. So look for a test with a breed database that’s in the hundreds.
And if you want to know how much wolf is still in your dog, you’ll need to go for a more upmarket test.
My Favorite Test Picks
My first choice of the best dog DNA test kit, Embark Dog DNA Test wins hands down. They work with over 200,000 genetic markers and they test for the MDR1 gene too. They also test for wolf, coyote and village dog. So you’ll know how much ‘wild’ is still in your lovable pooch.
They also test for 160 different genetic diseases. This is what sells this product as the best for me. And I think this feature alone makes it stand head and shoulders above the rest.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option that tests for MDR1 and wolf genes then Mars is my second choice. I like that they also test for the MDR1 gene. And I like that they have such a large breed database which is standing at over 250.
Although, I would like to see them include the extensive genetic disease testing that Embark does.
So there you have my best dog DNA test kit reviews.
Now you’re armed with everything you need to know. Depending on how much information you want from your dog’s DNA test, you can shop with confidence and make the right choice for you and your dog.
DNA My Dog logo used with express permission from the manufacturer.