Mutt DNA tests have become an increasingly popular trend. And it differs quite a bit from DNA testing purebred dogs. So if you are interested in doing a DNA test there are several options on the market for finding out your mutt’s background.
You may not think that a mutt’s genetic makeup really matters, but having some information on the breeds that your dog may be made up of can be useful as you can relay the information to your veterinarian so they can evaluate any common health issues with certain breeds.
Additionally, some tests provide specific testing of common genetic disease markers in dogs so you can find out specifically if your dog has a specific disease variant that may cause issues later in life.
So instead of just copying information we could find online, we actually ordered 6 different tests we could try ourselves, and we found that 3 of those tests stood out from the rest.
Quick Summary on Best Dog DNA Test for Mutts
|Product||Verdict||Check Best Price|
|Embark||🏆 Best Overall||Check Price|
|Wisdom Panel||Best Value||Check Price|
|DNA My Dog||Best Budget-Friendly||Check Price|
These tests are available online and are priced from $60 upwards, with some tests more budget-friendly than others. You can also find them in some pet supply stores. The majority of these tests require a cheek swab to be taken from your dog, although the more expensive and detailed tests may need a blood sample to be taken by your vet.
You might want to consider the quality of the test used, as they are not all made equally. Some tests have a larger database for referencing of the breed type. Whilst most databases and tests can identify purebred breeds with high accuracy, it can be tricky when it comes to mutts with a more diverse genetic background.
We set to find out what was the best Dog DNA test for mutts overall, so we took our mutt, Buddy, and put him through some rigorous tests to see which DNA test gave the best results. So here are just a few of the tests that we have tried and our overall ratings for the best dog DNA tests on the market. We have split this into the best overall, best priced and best budget.
Best Dog DNA Test for Mutts – Our Top 3 Picks
🏆 Best Overall: Embark
Our best overall winner is the embark dog DNA test. This is an extensive test that has partnerships with the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, so it has a good research background to back up the results. The test itself is easy to do, using only a cheek swab from your dog.
The test is able to screen your dog for their hereditary disease risk of over 170 different conditions and it is able to test your mutt’s genetic makeup from a database of over 250 breeds. Interestingly, if you did not know the ancestry profile of your dog, you can find a family tree of relatives who you can connect with on the website.
This is a really fantastic choice as it gives lots of useful information about your specific dog’s health as well and predictions about its genetic makeup in terms of breeds. The cost of this test is $199, so definitely not the cheapest on the market. For the wealth of information, it provides, however, it can be a really solid choice!
It is easy to do this test, all you need to do is activate your box online and connect it to a registered account, swab your dog and send it off to the company. Some of the features it has that we found were much better than some of its competitors were the vast amount of genetic markers it tested, at 200,000+ rather than an average of 20,000 for other tests. It also tested 170 health conditions rather than just a handful that other tests provided.
It also tested for dog traits which were a fun and interesting feature to see where some of the physical and personality traits of our dog came from. There was also the option to talk with a vet geneticist, which made interpreting the results a whole lot clearer!
We were able to find that Buddy was cleared of the 170 tested health conditions and had specific information about the breeds he was made up of, including percentages and his family tree.
All the DNA that is tested in the embark system is also sent back to the Cornell lab for use in research, so knowing that you are contributing to preventable disease research in dogs can be really rewarding. Every dog test only adds to the increasingly diverse database. We loved this aspect of the test, as it is nice to know that the money spent on this test not only helps our dog but also helps out other dogs too!
Embark claims to offer one of the most accurate tests and the highest rated test on the market and our experience was that it was exactly that. This is why we have chosen Embark as our overall winner for the best dog DNA test.
The best part is, there is the option for the breed identification kit alone for a discounted rate of $129, so if you do not need the health testing, then you can still have an accurate identification of your dog’s breed.
- 250 breeds in the database
- Tender swabs
- Committed social network
- Robust online portal
- This product is a bit expensive, but for the features, it’s well worth the price.
- 6-week turnaround
Best Value: Wisdom Panel
The test on our list for the best price is the Wisdom Panel test. This provides an extensive canine DNA test at a slightly cheaper price: $149.99 for the comprehensive canine breed and disease detection pack and $84.00 for the canine breed detection alone.
This test is in its fourth iteration and the accuracy of the test is only improving over time. Much like other tests, we found it very simple to do, simply registering online and taking a cheek swab to be taken back to their lab.
The report given was extremely useful and easy to understanding, giving the genetic analysis of the dog’s breeds, weight, physical traits and tested over 150+ health conditions. We tested our mutt, Buddy, and got a useful pie chart showing that he was 25% Cocker Spaniel, 12.5% American Staffordshire Terrier, 12.5% Border Collie, 12.5% Labrador Retriever and 37.5% Asian and Sporting breed groups. This was all worked out via a complex computer algorithm that performed over 17 million calculations to determine the breed DNA of our mutt.
The report was able to give us detailed information about the breeds that Buddy was made up of including their general temperament, average height, and weight, as well as some interesting information about where the breed first originated. For the 37.5% that was unable to identify a specific breed, it was useful to see what genetic group Buddy was a part of. Although this was not super specific to a breed, it did at least give some insight into the types of behaviors and potential health risks associated with these groups. Some of the dogs that Buddy could have come from in the Asian group included the Chow Chow, Chinese Shar-Pei, Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky.
We were also able to view a family tree up to three generations back to find out the breeds of his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, which was really useful to see. At the end of the report, we were given a statement of authentication which certified that Buddy was throughout tested against 1800 genetic markers to find out which purebred matches were in his ancestry. This is of course very useful if your mutt has come from purebreds within the last few generations, but we do have some concerns about dogs who have more mixed ancestry.
We were pleased to see on the health report that Buddy was clear of all 159 tested disease mutations. We were able to look at results individually to see what he was tested for including drug response, immune system issues, lung and metabolic issues.
Next, Buddy’s traits were displayed in a useful diagram, showing how different genes may contribute to his appearance of coloring. We were able to find out that Buddy has “base erect” ears by testing of the CT genotype. This type of ear is common in the American Staffordshire Terrier which was confirmed to be part of his ancestry earlier.
Finally, we were given an ideal weight for Buddy and some information about how to test that he is a good weight for his breed and genetics. This included a chart that detailed a 1-5 scale of weight and health conditions, from severely underweight to severely overweight.
Overall, this was a very comprehensive test with an easy to interpret report, which we really really liked!
- 350 breeds in the database
- Two swabs in the package
- Optional health screening
- Swabs might irritate gums
- 4-week turnaround
Best Budget-Friendly: DNA my Dog
DNA my Dog is our pick for the best budget test. If you are looking for a mutt genetic test to simply find out the likely breeds your dog comes from, then you may not need to pay for the extra bells and whistles of the aforementioned tests.
DNA my dog is much cheaper at $68.99 + free shipping and provides fast results in 2 weeks. Like the other tests above, the DNA is collected using a cheek swab and is completely painless.
DNA my dog provides you with a certificate detailing the DNA composition of dog breeds and was tested against the most common dog breeds, which we found was enough to get a good rough estimation of our dog’s genetic makeup. Although the test does not test our dog’s DNA specifically for genetic mutations and health markers, it does give useful information about common health concerns related to the dog breeds that they were made up of. Additionally, the report gives the personality traits that are related to the breeds in our dog’s genetic makeup.
The dog’s genetic makeup is given in “levels” rather than percentages, so it is not the most accurate. It gives more of a crude result that estimates which breeds your mutt is made up of, in order of their contribution to your dog’s DNA. For example, a dog that is mostly Lab will be a Level 1, a dog that is 40-75% Lab it will be a level 2 and a level 5, at the lower end, represents only 10% or so of the dog’s DNA.
This is a much simpler test than some of the others but often the results that it gives are enough to identify a mutt’s breeds and it can be enough to inform veterinarians for health factors to look out for.
Another useful piece of information is that the test gives an estimation of the “Genetic age” of your dog, which can be extremely useful for rescued mutt’s where the age of the dog is not always so obvious.
Unlike the two tests above, this testing company is entirely for consumers and it does not do any additional research in the back end. It does, however, provide a fantastic service as we have found out it does cheap tests for dog shelters, to help inform the shelters about mutt’s genetic makeup. This can help the mutts to be adopted as potential adopters are given more information about the breeds they are made up of and it can get the dogs adopted much faster!
- 2-week turnaround
- Health screening optional
- Only 100 breeds in the database
- Return postage not included
Doing a mutt DNA test is a bit different than doing it on a purebred dog, as the results will be quite diverse. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, on the contrary. You can get a lot of very interesting results when DNA testing a mutt.
Overall, when it comes to Dog DNA tests you will need to consider what is most important to you. If you are looking for information only about the breed’s your dog is made up of, then there is no need to use a fancy or expensive test, the DNA my dog test is sufficient.
If you are more worried about the health concerns of your dog then the Embark or Wisdom Panel test may be a better choice as it tests specific genetic markers for diseases. If you are not on a budget, then the Embark test provides the most comprehensive test for overall breed percentages, health, and behavior. All of these tests are fairly easy to do and use the same swab and send to the lab model, so there is not much difference in how the samples are collected.
If back end research is important to you and you want your dog’s DNA to be used for researching dog diseases then you might want to opt for Embark or Wisdom Panel which does additional research using your sample. Otherwise, if you would like to help shelter dogs get adopted then supporting DNA my dog can be a great choice too!
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