How Accurate are Dog DNA Tests in 2023?

Did you know that dog DNA tests have become even more advanced and accurate in 2023?

As a dog owner, you must be curious to know more about your furry companion’s genetics.

In this blog post, we will discuss the latest developments in dog DNA testing, and address the question: how accurate are dog DNA tests? Additionally, we will provide guidance on how to choose the right test for your pet.

Key Takeaways

  • Dog DNA tests provide valuable insights into your pup’s genetic code and uncover potential health issues.
  • Factors like database size, sample collection & handling, cost of the test, company reputation & expertise affect accuracy.
  • Always consult a veterinarian for accurate results and guidance when selecting a dog DNA test.

Understanding Dog DNA Tests

A dog with a cotton swab in its mouth, collecting a sample for a dog DNA test

Dog DNA tests have come a long way over the years, providing valuable insights into your dog’s genetic code.

These tests offer a breakdown of your pup’s genetic makeup by comparing it to a large and exclusive database of purebred dogs.

The DNA testing company takes a sample from your pup, loads it onto a chip, and checks for specific gene points called markers.

A computer algorithm is employed to read markers from a set of data. After analyzing millions of possible combinations, the most accurate result is calculated.

The accuracy of a dog DNA test largely depends on the company’s breed database size, the number of DNA markers analyzed, and the quality of the sample collected.

For example, Embark, a popular genetic test for dogs, tests for over 360 breeds, covering around 90% of the 208 breeds in the American Kennel Club database.

Testing for more genetic markers allows for improved accuracy. The accuracy of the results increases with the number of searched markers.

The Science Behind DNA Testing

To understand the science behind dog DNA tests, let’s take a closer look at the process of analyzing your dog’s DNA.

The dog’s DNA is separated from the rest of the cells and then studied using a research-grade microarray to compare the genetic code to the genetic markers of purebred dogs.

The results are typically delivered through email or mail within two to four weeks. The reliability of these tests depends on the size of the company’s breed database and the number of DNA markers your dog’s sample is compared against.

Researchers believe that large-scale canine genetic testing, like the ones conducted by Embark, could potentially reveal the genetic basis of aging, behavior, and even cancer. In fact, organizations like the International Partnership for Dogs focus on standardizing dog genetic testing services to ensure the highest quality results.

Purpose of Dog DNA Tests

Dog DNA tests serve multiple purposes, such as identifying your dog’s breed, providing insights into their breed composition and inherited traits, helping you find potential relatives and ancestors, and even informing you about potential genetic health conditions.

However, the accuracy of these tests can be impacted by various factors like the user-friendliness of the website, collection method, turnaround time, level of detail in the results, size of the databases, number of genetic markers used, and the company’s investment in genetic research.

It is important to note that dog DNA tests come with certain uncertainties, and consulting a vet for accurate results is crucial.

When selecting a dog DNA test, consider factors like the collection method, turnaround time, results accuracy, database size, number of genetic markers, cost, and research investments.

You may also want to look into at-home tests that use a swab or wand with soft bristles to collect samples from the inside of your pup’s mouth.

Factors Affecting Test Accuracy

A laboratory technician examining a dog's DNA sample under a microscope

A few factors can influence the accuracy of dog DNA tests, including the quality of the sample, the type of test used, and the breed of the dog. Additionally, the complexity of the dog’s mix and the reference dataset used can also affect the test’s accuracy.

The quality of the sample is critical because it impacts the accuracy of the results; a low-quality sample could result in inaccurate results. The type of test used can also make a difference, as some tests are more accurate than others.

The breed of the dog is important because different breeds have their own distinct genetic markers, which can affect the accuracy of the results.

Database Size and Quality

The larger and higher quality the breed database, the more accurate the dog DNA test results will be.

The number of genetic markers used by the test also plays a significant role in the test’s accuracy.

For instance, Wisdom Panel uses 100,000 genetic markers, while Embark uses 200,000 markers. This difference in the number of genetic markers analyzed can significantly impact the test’s accuracy and reliability.

Sample Collection and Handling

Proper sample collection and handling are essential for accurate dog DNA test results.

The easiest and least invasive way to collect cells with genetic material from a dog is by using cheek swabs. Rubbing the swab against the inside of your pup’s cheek ensures that you collect a sufficient amount of genetic material for the test.

If not done properly, the sample could become contaminated, which could impact the test’s accuracy. Therefore, following the manufacturer’s instructions and best practices for sample collection is crucial for obtaining accurate results.

Company Reputation and Expertise

A company’s reputation and expertise can significantly affect the accuracy of dog DNA tests, as these factors can impact the number of breeds screened for, the size of the company’s database of samples, and the number of genetic markers analyzed.

Companies like Embark and Wisdom Panel are known for their expertise and large databases, which contribute to their tests’ accuracy.

It’s essential to choose a reputable dog DNA test provider to ensure that you receive accurate and reliable results for your pet.

Comparing Popular Dog DNA Tests

A comparison chart of the features of Embark, Wisdom Panel, and other notable dog DNA tests

Various dog DNA tests are available on the market, with some of the most popular ones being Embark, Wisdom Panel, and DNA My Dog NEXTGEN.

Each of these tests has its own set of features and accuracy claims, making it essential to compare them to choose the best test for your pet.

For example, the Wisdom Panel Essential Dog DNA Collection Kit is considered the go-to dog DNA test according to the source.

These tests differ in the number of genetic markers they use, with Embark scanning for over 200,000 markers and Wisdom Panel claiming to have the most comprehensive reference database.


Embark sets itself apart from other dog DNA tests by offering a comprehensive breed database, testing for more genetic diseases than its competitors, and providing dependable customer service.

Their breed results are highly accurate, with results between 95% and 99% accuracy. Breeds with less than 5% presence in a dog’s DNA are categorized as “supermutt” by Embark, providing a unique insight into your dog’s genetic makeup.

Wisdom Panel

The Wisdom Panel dog DNA test offers several features, including an extended network to find your pup’s distant relatives, information on over 350 breeds, 25+ genetic health conditions, and 35+ physical traits. Wisdom Panel claims an accuracy rate of over 98% for their dog DNA test.

They test for over 350 different breeds and have a strict privacy policy, following HIPAA regulations to protect your dog’s genetic information. When comparing the number of genetic markers used by Wisdom Panel and Embark, Wisdom Panel utilizes 100,000 markers, while Embark uses 200,000.

Other Notable Tests

DNA My Dog NEXTGEN is another noteworthy dog DNA test, providing breed identification and a genetic age test. This test offers comprehensive breed analysis and a predictive health plan. It is worth mentioning that it is not a disease screening. DNA My Dog NEXTGEN claims an accuracy rate between 97% and 99% and tests for 96 different dog breeds.

When choosing a dog DNA test, it is essential to consider the test’s features, accuracy, and the company’s reputation and expertise to ensure that you receive the most accurate and reliable results for your pet.

Real-World Test Results

Real-world test results, case studies, and expert opinions all point to the conclusion that dog DNA tests are accurate and reliable.

For example, DNA My Dog found Belgian malinois in Loki’s DNA and bulldog, flat-coated retriever, and German shepherd in Molly’s DNA. Wisdom Panel pinpointed pit bull as the main breed in Molly’s DNA and detected 19 breeds in her DNA.

Embark classifies a village dog as a breed that’s been around before recognized breeds, and its ancestors are from a specific area. These real-life examples and expert opinions showcase the accuracy of dog DNA tests in various situations.

Case Studies

In a case study involving DNA My Dog, the test successfully identified Belgian malinois in Loki’s DNA and a mix of bulldog, flat-coated retriever, and German shepherd in Molly’s DNA.

This highlights the capability of dog DNA tests in providing accurate breed identification and genetic health results.

Genetic health results can provide peace of mind for pet owners and help them plan ahead if the results are not so great.

Expert Opinions

Experts like Greg Burns and Weger, the owner of Quinn, have shared their thoughts on the accuracy of dog DNA tests. Burns states that the tests are “very accurate,” although the tests for disorders tend to be more reliable than those for breed identification, based on his experience.

Weger’s service dog, Quinn, helps her with her narcolepsy by sensing when a collapse is coming and alerting her to sit down to avoid hitting her head. These expert opinions emphasize the importance of considering expert advice when choosing a dog DNA test for your pet.

Limitations of Dog DNA Tests

A veterinarian talking to a pet owner about the potential health risks associated with a dog's breed composition

Despite their accuracy and reliability, dog DNA tests have their limitations.

These tests aren’t regulated by the FDA, which means there’s no way to guarantee the accuracy or reliability of their results. Additionally, there isn’t much research on the processes used in these tests, and visual identification can be unreliable due to the complexities of genetic inheritance.

It is crucial to be aware of these limitations and consult a veterinarian for accurate results and guidance.

Inherent Uncertainties

A DNA test can only give us an indication of the potential risk of certain diseases and not a guarantee that a dog will develop a disease. This inherent uncertainty highlights the importance of understanding the limitations of dog DNA tests.

Additionally, the industry hasn’t done enough long-term scientific studies to show how genetic variants relate to the risk of diseases, making it crucial not to make medical decisions based solely on a pup’s DNA test results.

Importance of Veterinary Consultation

Consulting with a vet when using dog DNA tests is essential, as they can help spot potential health risks that the tests alone may not show. Additionally, veterinarians can help you understand the results and suggest what to do next based on their expertise.

It is crucial to involve a veterinarian in the process of interpreting and taking action based on the results of a dog DNA test, ensuring the best possible care and guidance for your pet.

How to Choose the Right Dog DNA Test

There are several factors to consider when choosing the right dog DNA test based on your budget, accuracy, and other factors. It is essential to compare breed database size and quality, sample collection and handling methods, and the company’s reputation and expertise when selecting a test.

Additionally, consider the cost of the test and the amount of information it provides, such as breed identification, genetic health conditions, and physical traits. By keeping these factors in mind, you can choose the best dog DNA test for your needs.

Whether you opt for Embark, Wisdom Panel, or another notable test, always remember to consult with a veterinarian to ensure the most accurate results and guidance for your pet’s health and well-being.


In conclusion, dog DNA tests in 2023 have become more advanced and accurate, providing valuable insights into your pet’s genetic makeup.

While these tests have their limitations and uncertainties, consulting with a veterinarian ensures that you receive the best possible guidance for your pet’s health.

By comparing popular dog DNA tests and considering factors like breed database size, sample collection methods, and company reputation, you can choose the most suitable test for your pet. With the right test and expert advice, you can unlock the secrets of your dog’s genetics and provide the best possible care for your furry companion.

Frequently Asked Questions

How accurate is a DNA test for a dog?

Overall, DNA tests for dogs can be accurate, but it largely depends on the test kit you choose and the testing company’s claim of accuracy. If you have any doubts about the accuracy of your chosen test kit, consult your vet or do further research before making a purchase.

Overall, the accuracy of dog DNA tests can vary significantly depending on the test kit used and the testing company’s accuracy claims. While some companies boast high levels of accuracy, it is important to consult your vet or do more research before buying a test kit to ensure you get an accurate result. Feb 17, 2021.

What is the #1 dog DNA test?

The #1 dog DNA test is Embark. Embark is a canine genomics and biotechnology company based in Boston, Massachusetts. The company offers dog DNA testing services to consumers, breeders, and veterinarians.

Do dog have DNA tests work?

Yes, dog DNA tests work as they are designed to match an individual dog’s unique genetic information. As long as the sample is from a living dog, and submitted to the right lab, the results should be accurate.

What dog DNA test do vets use?

Many vets are recommending the Wisdom Panel Premium test to get an in-depth analysis of a dog’s breed and potential health risks. This test helps pet owners understand their furry friends better and take proactive steps towards ensuring their well-being.

How much to dna test a dog?

Testing your dog’s DNA can cost anywhere from $60 to over $200, depending on the type of test and the features included. It’s a great way to gain insight into your pup’s breed make-up and potential health issues, so it’s worth doing some research to find the best option for you.

Doing a DNA test can be a great way to learn more about your pup and make sure they stay healthy. Consider the cost, the features included, and the type of test to find the best option for you.