Remember when you were a little kid, dreaming about a utopian future full of flying cars, world peace, and medical advancement? (Just us? Ahem.) Well, we haven’t exactly figured out how to save the planet, or cure cancer, or stomp out white supremacy and militant, far-right extremism—but you know what we can do? Tell you whether your wittle-pwecious-baby-puppy-good-boi is a Husky or an Alaskan Malamute. (Cat owners, you win this round.) How can we do that, you ask? Why, dog DNA tests, of course.
Similar to the ever-popular 23andMe Ancestry tests, these tests analyze your pup’s DNA and can help determine breeding origins, give you proactive health insights, and lend a paw in learning about your dog’s individual characteristics, including things like how big or small they’ll be upon reaching adulthood, how much they’ll shed, and why they look the way they do (aka perfect). But you may be wondering, as we ponder with all things we plan to buy off the internet, how well do dog DNA tests work?
There are plenty of tests out there, but to help save you from clicking through to the ninth page of Google search results, we put together this short list of the best dog DNA tests on the market, according to enthusiastic user reviews from dog owners who are satisfied confident in the results (even if they can be confounding at times—this was supposed to be a purebred mini goldendoodle?!). In 2021, the two gold standard tests are Embark and Wisdom Panel, and we'll dig into what's so great about them. Read on, and find out soon enough what the deal is with that crazy mutt living in your house.
Embark Dog DNA Test
Embark partnered with Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine to create its line of well-reviewed dog DNA tests that are fairly affordable. Embark tests give you insight to your dog’s breed, physical traits, and potential health concerns, as well as a “percentage of shared DNA between your dog and others that have been tested with Embark,” to help you find your pup’s relatives.
The flagship test, which helps you identify your dog’s breed, has a 4.5-star average from over 8,000 ratings on Amazon and “precisely detects breed contributions down to 5% of the total breed make,” according to the product description.
"After researching, I went with this doggie DNA test and I truly think it's the most accurate out there," writes one Amazon reviewer. "I learned my 'Labrador retriever mix' is actually a pit bull, German shepherd, boxer, dachshund, chow chow, and Australian cattle dog mix." Another writes: "Worth every penny! Everyone thought my rescue puppy was a Rottweiler or a Doberman mix, or even a hound, but they were all wrong!" The satisfaction of proving annoying friends and family wrong is worth $99 alone.
The Embark Breed + Health Dog DNA Test, which has a 4.5-star average from almost 10,000 ratings on Amazon, also helps identify your dog’s breed, but has the added benefit of testing for more than 200 genetic diseases—including MDR1 drug sensitivity, glaucoma, degenerative myelopathy, and dilated cardiomyopathy—in your pup, helping you get one step ahead of pup-tential health issues.
Wisdom Panel Canine DNA Test
Wisdom Panel is another leading dog DNA testing company, which claims to be “powered by the world’s largest breed database.” According to Wisdom Panel, the brand has “tested the DNA of more than 1.5 million dogs and developed the largest and most comprehensive breed database in the world, with a sophisticated algorithm and a very strategically placed set of markers.” This is serious stuff.
The Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test has a 4.5-star average from a whopping 18,000 Amazon reviews, with many users praising its accuracy and level of detail. It scans for more than 350 breeds, types, and varieties of pup, the results of which the brand suggests you use to work with your vet to determine possible health risks for your individual good boi.
The Wisdom Panel Essential and Premium Dog DNA Tests are also great options for your doge, and one dollar per kit sold goes to helping adoptable dogs find loving families. (Aw.) The Essential test features over 98% accurate breed detection, screens for more than 350 breeds, runs more than 25 tests for medical complications, and scans for more than 35 traits. The Premium Test does all that, but includes a genetic diversity score and a free veterinarian consultation for notable health findings.
"For 11 years I've wondered what my beautiful black rescue dog might be, and now, thanks to Wisdom Panel 3.0, I finally know!" writes one happy reviewer. "There are several breeds I've suspected in his lineage, but before getting the test results, I forced myself to pick the four I thought were most likely. When the test results arrived, I knew they were right on, because Wisdom Panel found the same four breeds I'd predicted: Chow, Malamute, German Shepherd, and Gray Wolf."
Life is full of surprises, and finding out what kind of dog you've got qualifies as one of the more fun ones. Who’s an informed human? You are—yes, you are!
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.