I bought all 5 of the top DNA Tests for DOG and compared them head to head. Everything that you need to know and can not find out by looking at each companies websites or browsing Amazon’s reviews.
I have a lovable All-American mutt, Jackson (from #no_action_jackson fame). A mix of ‘who knows what, or as a friend said when asked “I think Jackson is a mixture of a labrador and an angel sent from heaven”. Despite the sweet sentiment, I WAS curious.
I was also curious about which DNA test I should spend my hard-earned money on. I wanted accuracy, but not to get the most expensive presuming it was the best.
This is what I found out about each DNA testing experience and which one you are going to want to use.
The best dog DNA test kit for your money is the Wisdom Panel Essentials kit. There are advantages to other kits that might make it a better test for you, read below to see if the differences make a difference for you.
|Wisdom Panel-Essential||Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA||Orivet Breed Test & Life Plan||embark Dog DNA-Breed||DNA My Dog|
|Cost||$ 99.99||$ 79.99||$ 85.55||$ 129.00||$ 68.48|
|Sample Method||Brush cheek swab||Brush cheek swab||Brush cheek swab||Large saliva swab / solution||Cotton Type Swab|
|Breed Types Compared||350+||350+||350+||350+||Not disclosed|
|Ease of Sampling1-10 (10 very easy)||5||5||4 (had 3 samples to take)||6( short sample handle)||6 ( long sampletime)|
|Ease of Returning sample||8||8||8||9 Send in mailer immediately||8|
|Functionality of Website||6||6||4||5||4|
|Received sample email||3/11||3/11||3/12||–|
|Processing email||3/19||3/19||3/24||3/17, 3/23, 3/27||–|
|Results in email||3/24||3/24||4/7||3/27||–|
|Speed of Results||3/8/21 – 3/19||3/8/21 – 3/24||3/8/ – 4/7||3/8/21- 3/27/21||3/8/21Marked received 3/23/214/7 (no email)|
|Depth of Results||7 breeds, genetic screens included||3 Breeds,MDR1 Screen||3 breeds, no genetic screens||4 breeds, no genetic screens||2 BreedsNo genetic screen|
|Readability of Results||9||8||8||6||4|
The testing ‘swab’ was not the same for each kit. Three of the testers were hard-bristled brushes, like what you would want to clean things with, which I found was hard on Jackson’s cheek. These were the Orivet, and both versions of the Wisdom Panel tests. One was a more traditional appearing cotton swab with a long handle (DNA My Dog). One was a very fat swab, the size of the end of my thumb, on a short handle (enmark test).
How does a DNA sample get taken for testing your dog?
Dog DNA tests that you take at home come in 3 basic types:
- Bristle cheek swab
- Cotton swab cheek swab
- Saliva sample
What to look for when choosing a test.
- Breed only or breed and genetic testing?
- Top 5 Breeds in your dog, or deeper specificity?
- Do you want to connect with possible canine family members?
- How fast do you want the results?
- How cooperative is your dog for sampling?
Where can I buy a Dog DNA test?
- From your vet
- Online directly from the company making your chosen test
- From an online seller such as Amazon
What if you want more than just breed information for your dog? Can a DNA test, test for genetic conditions as well? The answer to that question is yes!
To read more on genetic testing and how it affects your dog, read more here.
Guesses Made for Jackson’s Breed Profile
All 5 tests arrived quickly and in good cognition with clear instructions.
All 5 tests had easy-to-use prepaid mailers to deliver in for testing.
The DNA My Dog and Embark were clear winners for sample taking as far as gentleness goes. However,
The bristle tests were quicker to take.
If you have a :
- drooler type dog, the embark is a clear easy favorite as it collects a saliva (drool) sample.
- need to move quickly, brush swab type test (Wisdom & Orivet)
- need a long sample handle, then DNA My Dog is your best choice
After sending in the tests, this is where the real difference started to show!
Click on any of the above images to see the best price on Amazon.
Wisdom Panel Essentials & Wisdom Panel 3.0
Wisdom Panel, both Essentials and 3.0, had a very user-friendly, regular person-targeted website. They sent relevant and timely updates, and the results were fast, in-depth, and clear. Both tests shared the same testing facilities, as shown by the address the sample was mailed to, and the same website.
The difference was in the depth of the results provided, with the more expensive test providing more in-depth, further back in the genetic tree, breed determinations. The results were accessed by clicking a link from the email sent when the results were ready. From there you entered the password you assigned, and you were set to.
Nice and easy-to-read infographic and chart. If you sent a picture, which I did not, it would have been incorporated into the information pages, a nice touch!
Wisdom Panel 3.0 had a lot of information included in the results, above are the highlights.
Embark took a bit longer for the results to arrive, but the website was also easy to navigate and user-friendly. Not as well graphically designed as Wisdom Panels, but nice. Embark sent a lot of update emails that were unnecessary, for example, an email to announce on the 17th that processing was about to begin, and then on the 23rd that their scientists were hard at work and results should be ready in a week or two.
I received 9 separate emails from embark prior to the results and have received another 6 in the 9 days since the results arrived. They are big on communication….which filled up my in-box. They do send a follow-up email with a referral code for a friend, a coupon for them, and a gift card for you. The first offer is better for you, the second offer a few days later is a better coupon for your friend, but a smaller gift card for you.
The results were clear and displayed well.
You can upgrade for an additional $99 to get genetic health screens without an additional swab.
The big difference with embark, is the connections that might be available to your dog’s siblings or other family members. Embark has a feature that compares your dog’s DNA to other dogs’ DNA in embark’s system and sends you matches of an extended family if there are any. A very interesting social aspect that I never thought of. maybe I will reach out, there is a chat feature, and organize a family reunion party for my dog’s extended family!
Orivet did deliver trusted results that were in line with the other kits, but the website had a distinctly different feel. You could immediately tell you were on a healthcare-type website. Adequate, but not designed with a modern, graphic eye. There was the opportunity to enter all your dog’s health information for an online record, contact information for your vet, groomer, and breeder, any health record you wished to update, vaccinations, and procedures. It had the feel of your health-care website. Very functional, clinical, but could use an upgrade.
DNA My Dog
DNA My Dog was the least expensive, and it showed. There was no functionality to let you know if the sample had been received, or even when the results were ready. After checking the website directly, and signing in several times, were there any updates even listed. Even after the results were in, and I did check off, yes, to please receive the resulting certificate via email, it has yet to arrive the next day (mid-week).
The results were disappointing, to say the least, and since they were not in-depth, I was suspicious at this test being the only one of the 5 that showed Great Dane as 1 of the only 2 breeds identified.
Click on the above images to see the best prices on Amazon!
How to get the best Dog DNA sample.
To get the best sample:
- wait 3 hours after any food or treats have been given
- Wait an hour after drinking
- Prevent sample contamination by taking in a separate area than shared dog spaces
- Follow direction of your sample kit
- Isolate your dog from other dogs during sample collection
How much does a Dog DNA test cost?
Dog DNA test Kits cost between $68 and $130 for breed determination. Some include some genetic health screening.