Features a database of 175 breeds including wolf, coyote, and village dog mix. Specific enough to identify paternal and maternal ancestry. Tests for more than 160 diseases. Partners with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine to create certified results.
It's pricier than many other choices.
Database of 250 breeds available. Offers MDR-1 drug sensitivity testing. Results are available in 2 or 3 weeks. Testing only takes a quick cheek swab. Prepaid shipping is included. Provides weight guidance to help with nutrition.
Some customers report generic results and high rates of "mixed breed" identification.
Tests for 250 breeds. Results are available in 2 to 4 weeks. Returns results for breeds as low as 5% of total composition. Can be upgraded at any time to include genetic health profile. Easy to use.
Somewhat pricey for a test that does not include health information.
Over 350 dog breeds in their database. Helpful for identifying mixed breeds. Scans for over 200 diseases and disorders. Simple swab kit. Includes life plan based on lifestyle, age, weight, etc.
Pricey, but it provides plenty of information for your buck.
It is important to know your dog's genetic makeup so you can be aware of any breed-specific health predispositions and any potential behavior concerns. Without a dog DNA test, the best you can do is hazard a guess based on your pet's physical features. You've likely never tested your dog's DNA before, so how do you know what you should be looking for in a quality test?
The best tests have an expansive database so the company can cross-reference over 350 breeds. They also provide screening for over 150 health conditions so you can be fully prepared to take the proper precautions needed to keep your dog happy and healthy. Accuracy is a must, but you also might appreciate a quick turnaround time.
If you're ready to find out what the makeup of your pooch is, consider a test listed as one of the best. If you'd like more information on how a dog DNA test works, keep reading.
When you purchase a dog DNA test, what exactly do you get for your money? Different options will vary, but you’ll generally receive two to four swabs for taking a DNA sample, an insert for drying the swabs, a sleeve or test tube to put the swabs inside for transport, a label for the sample, and full instructions for the procedure.
This might not sound like much, but you’re not really paying for what’s in the box, you’re paying for the DNA testing.
Number of breeds detected
All companies that offer dog DNA tests have their own databases featuring the genetic markers for certain dog breeds. The larger the database, the more likely you’ll get accurate results, especially if you have a suspicion that your four-legged friend has some rare breeds in the mix.
The companies with the largest databases can identify your canine companion from over 350 breeds, including more than 99% of breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, so you have virtually all your bases covered. Some manufacturers of cheaper tests have databases of fewer than 100 breeds, so it’s more of a gamble as to whether your pup’s ancestors will be represented.
Some dog DNA tests provide a range of health screenings in addition to the breed information. These tests don’t necessarily tell you that your dog has a health condition but that they're predisposed toward a certain condition. This lets you monitor your dog, with the assistance of a veterinarian, and may end up giving you some precious extra years together.
The most comprehensive dog DNA tests screen for over 150 different health conditions, genetic abnormalities, and more. Some more basic tests only screen for one or two conditions, such as the multi-drug resistance-1 (MDR-1) genetic marker, which identifies dogs who will suffer severe reactions to a number of common medications. You’ll also find tests that offer a rudimentary overview of your dog’s general health – by analyzing hormones, vitamin levels, and other vitals – as well as those that can tell you if your dog has any food or environmental allergies or sensitivities.
If you want your doggy DNA test results in a hurry, pay close attention to the turnaround time. Some companies aim to give you your test results within two weeks of receiving your dog's samples, whereas others take as long as six to eight weeks. Ultimately, unless you have a legitimate reason you need the test back sooner, consider the overall quality of the test before worrying about the turnaround time.
A range of factors influences the accuracy of the results. As we touched on before, the greater the number of dog breeds in a company’s database, the more likely you are to get an accurate picture of your dog’s genetic background.
However, accuracy can also be determined by how many genetic markers the test analyzes. The top tests match your pooch’s DNA with more than 200,000 genetic markers, whereas inexpensive tests are likely to have far fewer markers in their databases. When looking for genetic diseases, the method used to analyze the genes is also important. Some companies use two independent methods to test each mutation for the most accurate results.
The cheapest dog DNA tests on the market retail for around $60 to $75. These tests tend to analyze DNA using much smaller databases, and therefore the accuracy of the results is debatable. For around $80 to $120, you can find some excellent mid-range offerings that will give you accurate breed results but offer little in the way of health screening. High-end dog DNA tests that provide accurate ancestry results and health screening cost between $150 and $200.
Think about whether you’d like a test that tells you your dog’s age. This is a great idea if you adopted a dog whose age is unknown.
Decide how much you want to know about your pet’s health. Some people want a full health screening to cover all the bases, whereas others would rather not know their beloved dog has a predisposition to a condition that nothing can be done about. The choice is yours to make.
Check how comprehensive a report you’ll get. Some reports tell you the exact breeds of your dog’s parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, whereas others give you a percentage of each breed in your dog’s genetic makeup. Some offer health, diet, and exercise advice, whereas others just list the facts.
Q. Why would I want to test my dog’s DNA?
A. If you don’t know what breeds went into making your four-legged friend, a dog DNA test will tell you. You might simply be curious, or you might want to know what kind of breed-specific traits or ailments to be aware of. You can also test your dog’s DNA for potential health concerns, allowing you to get treatment early or watch out for signs and symptoms.
Q. How do I get a DNA sample from my dog?
A. Your test kit will come with two or more swabs that you rub inside your dog’s cheek to get a sample. The kit will give you exact instructions, which you should follow to the letter. Otherwise, you might not get a useable sample.
Q. How will I receive my dog’s DNA results?
A. You will usually get an email when your dog’s DNA results are ready. The results may be attached to the email, or you might have to log into the company’s website to see the results. If any health concerns have been identified, the company will often call you or send an additional email with further explanation.
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