How does DNA testing for dogs work?

How does DNA testing for dogs work?
A complete guide for DNA testing for dogs.

Are you planning to buy a new dog but don’t know which one is your right match. Well, modern science has made it quite a lot easier for you to figure out the dog breed with the help of a dog ancestry test to help you with your right dog purchase.

Here is a complete guide to dog DNA testing that will provide you with the basic information of this test, its reasons, and precautions. Also, in the end, we have got the best answers to the most frequently asked dog DNA testing questions from around the world. Let's start.

What is a dog DNA test?

A dog DNA test is a test carried out by the owner himself or a vet to know more about the genetics of the dog and his breed. This helps in better understanding your dog’s behavior, likes, dislikes, environmental preferences, and a lot more.

What does a dog DNA test tell you?

Dog DNA tests can provide us with great information about the specific dog breed we are testing. This helps you with:

  • Knowing your dog breed.
    With the help of dog DNA testing, you can easily figure out which breed your dog belongs to. This will help you gather more genetic information relevant to your dog and understand its physical as well as behavioral characteristics.
  • Verify your dog’s health.
    Carrying out a DNA test of your dog will also help you analyze if your dog is healthy or not. Simply you have to find out the recommended or normal health conditions of your dog breed and see if your dog meets that criteria or not.
  • Predicting any health risks.
    Knowing about your dog's breed will also keep you informed of the possible health complications or risks that your dog may encounter in his life. This way, you can keep yourself prepared for treating health risks associated with your dog timely.
  • Nutritional needs of your dog.
    If you already know your dog breed, you can definitely ask an animal nutritionist for a healthy diet meal plan for your dog and follow it strictly. This way you will only be feeding your dog exactly as per its requirements and avoid under-nutrition or over-nutrition problems.
  • Finding the right company.
    Knowing more about your dog’s genetics will help you find a good friend, family, or partner for him. Keeping a dog in his preferable company is a good thing for the health and pronged life of your dog.

How much does it cost to DNA test your dog?

The average cost of a dog’s DNA test lies between $40 to $300.

Some major factors to consider for the variation in the cost of dog’s DNA tests are:

  • The type of test being carried out.
    The type of test you choose to DNA test your dog pretty much affects the cost of the test.
    This is because of the variation in the following areas:
    • The time is taken for completing a particular test.
    • The method used for the test.
    • The instrumentation used for the test.
  • The place where the test is being carried out.
    The place where you plan to DNA test your dog also plays an important role in deciding the overall cost of the test.
    • Test at the vet center costs you more as it involves the fee of the vet and the charges of the vet center.
    • Test at home is quite economical as it just includes the price of the dog breed test kit being used for the test.

What do you need for a dog DNA test?

There is nothing much required for carrying out a dog DNA test. This is what you need basically:

  • For oral sampling:
    A dog DNA test kit that comes with a cotton swab for taking the sample (in normal situations).
  • For blood sampling:
    A dog DNA kit that comes with special blood sampling tools for taking the sample (in rare conditions).

What are some precautions to consider for dog DNA testing?

Some of the main precautions to consider for dog DNA testing are:

  • Compatibility of your dog.
    Make sure your dog is fully prepared for undergoing a DNA test. This should include the physical, mental, and emotional stability of your dog.
  • No treats.
    Do not give treats to your dogs before taking the sample. It disturbs the results by making saliva more dilute. You can keep it with you to greed your dog and ask him to stay obedient during the sampling. Reward your dog with that treat later once the test is completed successfully.
  • Wearing proper gloves.
    You must also ensure to wear proper gloves for the sampling to make sure that you don’t source any bacteria or harmful agents to enter your dog’s mouth. Or this can put your dog at health risk.
  • Sampling time.
    Take care of the time you take for taking the sample from your dog. Do not rub his cheeks with the swab for more than a minute. Or your dog might get irritated and end up hurting himself.

How to get a dog DNA test?

To get a dog DNA test, follow this process:

  1. Let your dog sit relaxed and calmly.
  2. Gently open his mouth and insert the cotton swab in his mouth.
  3. Rub the swab with the inner check for about one minute.
  4. Mail the sample to the lab using the mailing instructions received with the kit.
  5. Patiently wait for the test results to arrive.

How long does it take to DNA test your dog?

Sampling for a dog DNA test is a procedure of no more than a minute. The rest of the time is used by the laboratory for analyzing the results.

The time is taken for puppy DNA test your dog varies with these things:

  • The testing kit you are using.
  • The methodology you are implementing.
  • The type of test being carried out.
  • The lab where you sent the samples.
  • The complexity of your dog’s genes.

Can a dog DNA test tell the age?

Yes, a dog DNA test can also tell your dog’s age. For this particularly the Canine Genetic Age Test is carried out. This canine DNA test helps you know the breed as well as the biological age of your dog. In this test, the length of the telomeres of the dog is measured. Telomeres are referred to as the protective ends present at the chromosome terminals.

The length of telomeres reduces with the age. The recorded length is run through the database then and matched with other similar dogs to find out the actual age of the dog. It is because both the biological age and actual age are very different from each other. Biological age helps know more about the health and longevity of your tested dog while actual age is his true age.

Do vets do a dog DNA test?

Yes, vets do a dog DNA test as they have proper knowledge and experience of successful dog DNA testing. It is recommended to visit a vet for DNA testing your dog to ensure that your dog remains safe during the process and the sample is collected using the right sampling techniques.

In case you cannot afford to take your dog to a vet for DNA testing, simply order a dog DNA testing kit at your home and do it yourself. This will save you from paying considerable vet charges but demands extreme care from you. Make sure to properly follow the instructions to get the most accurate and safe results.

What is the best dog DNA test?

Choosing the best dog DNA test is based on these considerations:

  • The extent of detail of the information.
  • What answers do you want to know from the results?
  • What amount you are willing to pay for the test?
  • Is veterinary guidance also required with the test?
  • How urgent to want to get the results?

Which DNA test is more accurate?

Deciding the most accurate DNA testing for your dog is quite a hard dog. Here are a few things to help you with this decision:

  • Ask your local breed club for the best suggestion.
  • Get help from your dog breeder.
  • Consult your vet to find out the best DNA test for your dog.
  • You can also take guidance from the internet for additional suggestions.

What are some major types of dog DNA testing services available?

There are multiple options to choose from when it comes to choosing the best DNA testing service for your dog. The two main things that must be considered while choosing the right DNA testing service for your dog include:

  • The extensiveness of their database to have a large number of breeds available for testing.
  • The precision of the test results ensures precise and closely accurate results.

Here we will go through the 2 major companies that aim to offer great services for DNA testing your dog. They not only tell you about the genetic breeds of your dog but also help in drawing a complete family tree till the grandparents of your dog. Let’s start.

Embark DNA test.

They feature a wide breeding range including village dogs, dingoes, and wolves. How exciting it would be to know that your dog is part wolf. They are partnered with the well recognized Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and are famous for their precise dog DNA test results.

They have two dog DNA testing kits available; one is the health version and the other is the premium version. The price of these kits is $129 and $199 respectively.

Wisdom panel.

It also has a database covering 350 breeds. The best thing about Wisdom Panel is that they have 93% accuracy with respect to their mixed-breed dog DNA test results. They also have a testing kit line featuring two products one is the basic one and the other is the premium one.

The price of these kits is either $99.99 or $159.9 which shows how affordable they are than Embark DNA test.


This was all about dog DNA testing, hopefully, you have got a clear idea of this test by now. For further information, we also have mentioned some FAQs in the end to clear any further queries left. Go through these questions and let us know if there is something else that you want to know. We would love to answer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you register a dog with a DNA test?

Yes, you can register your dog with a DNA test with American Kennel Club (AKC) or other associations once the successful results have arrived. The results must prove that your dog is purebred.

The registration process can be completed online without causing you the inconvenience of leaving your home and visiting the registration center. This would require you to answer some of the questions like your dog’s name, registration option, and payment details. Lastly, you just need to submit the required registration fee and take advantage of your dog registration.

Should I DNA test my dog?

Yes, you should DNA test your dog in case you want to know more about his behavior, traits, and breed. It also helps you answer several basic questions running in your mind like why does my dog look the way he looks? Why does my dog behave the way he behaves? What is the right food for my dog? What is the normal nutritional requirement of my dog? Who is the right match for my dog? And several other questions like these.

Are the dog DNA tests accurate?

This question has a mixed answer. The reason behind this mixed answer is that the results of a dog DNA test are not exact, they are lying on probabilities. The results of a dog DNA test can be true if your dog is pure-blooded. But the more mixed blooded your dog is the more are the chances of variations in the DNA test results.