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Cheapest Dog DNA Tests of 2020

 

Although they did not even exist until a few years ago, DNA kits for dogs have exploded in popularity and are now a multi-million dollar industry.

It is easy to understand why. The popularity of human DNA kits such as 23 and Me have introduced consumers to at-home genetic testing and gave them information about their health, disease history and ancestry. Combine this with trends toward the humanization of pets (treating dogs and cats as beloved members of the family) and you have a group of consumers willing and eager to find out more about the ancestry of their pets.

For pet parents of a mixed-breed dog, dog DNA kits are especially useful. The tests shed light into your pup’s breed makeup as well providing crucial details about health, traits and nutrition and dietary needs.

The table below summarizes that popular dog DNA tests available on the US market in 2020. Underneath the table is a more in depth look at the individual testing kits.

  Description Pros Cons Price
Wisdom Panel Essential Breed info and ancestry Reasonable price 4 week turnaround 99.99
Wisdom Panel Premium Breed info, ancestry and medical testing 350+ breeds and health traits Expensive 159.99
Embark Breed  Dog breed details and ancestry Reasonable price 6 week turnaround 129.99
Embark Breed + Health Dog breed details, ancestry and complete health testing Tracks relations Expensive 149.99
DNA My Dog No frills option Cheapest price, 2 week turnaround Not as much info as competitors 69.99
Orivet  Breed info and disease screening 350+ breeds + life plan Expensive 169.95

 

How the DNA Kits Work

The kits all work in a similar manner. You are mailed a test with swabbing equipment and instructions on how to collect your pup’s DNA. After swabbing your dog’s check for about 30 seconds, you place the specimen in a test tube and mail the kit back to a lab. Depending on the company, you receive results in 2 – 6 weeks.

Wisdom Panel 

Wisdom Panel is the most popular maker of dog DNA kits. The company is owned by Mars Petcare, which also owns Banfield Pet Hospitals as well as dozens of brands of dog and cat food.  The company makes two versions of its testing kit:

  1. Wisdom Panel Essential – uncovers ancestry, traits, and key health insights. Tests for 350+ breeds, types and varieties. Traces a dog’s breed back to their great-grandparents.  Screens for 25 + medical complications and 35+ traits.
  2. Wisdom Panel Premium – performs all the tests included on the Essential version, plus screening for genetic conditions related to drug sensitivities, vision, weight and 200 extra health tests.

Accuracy of Wisdom Panel

According to the National Canine Research Council, the Wisdom Panel was found to be 84% accurate for dogs with two purebred parents. With the addition of additional genetic marker testing, the test is believed to be 90% accurate.

In addition to providing testing in the US, Wisdom Panel recently began offering DNA testing in the UK and Australia.

Embark DNA Kit

Embark is the second largest pet DNA testing company in the US. Embark was founded by brothers Ryan and Adam Boyko in 2015 and the the company’s genetic testing platform was developed at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Embark’s testing covers four primary areas: Breed, Health, Physical Traits and Relatives

Embark’s breed database covers most dogs that are recognized by the American Kennel Club as well as some others.  Over 350 breeds across 200,000 genetic markers are screened. The genetic-disease detection portion looks for over 190 health conditions, more than any other dog DNA test on the market.  Diseases such as glaucoma, degenerative myelopathy and cardiomyopathy are included in the screening.

As of July 2020, there are two primary versions of the Embark Dog DNA test for pet owners:

  1. Breed Identification Kit that tests for over 350 breeds, ancestry details and relatives.
  2. Breed + Health and it includes all the tests above, while also screening for genetic conditions and more than 190 underlying health issues.

Accuracy of Embark

The company states that its breed tests are between 95 and 99% accurate, which they claim is the highest on the market. This high degree of accuracy is attributed to research conducted the co-founder who developed a method allowing for the genotyping of over 200,000 genetic markers in dogs.

DNA My Dog

DNA my Dog is a Canadian genetic testing company located in Toronto. The test provides breed analysis and a predictive health plan. While the company offers over half a dozed different genetic tests, the following are the most popular:

  1. DNA My Dog Breed Identification Test
  2. DNA My Dog NEXTGEN Breed Identification and Genetic Age Test

The company’s results include a custom photo certificate of the breeds found in your dog’s genetic breed composition, a breakdown of the DNA levels, and a report on dominant breeds, personality traits and health concerns.

DNA My Dog doesn’t provide evidence of the accuracy of its tests, but notes on its website that 2.3% of all DNA canine testing yield results that are inaccurate or cannot be interpreted.

Orivet

Orivet is a testing company that specializes in DNA screening for breeders and veterinarians. However, it does offer a test specifically for pet owners.

The company sells one test for pet owners: the GENOPET 5.0, a kit that offers breed detection, disease screening and lifeplan (a personalized health overview that includes alerts and suggestions.)

In Summary

Dog DNA kits are useful for owners of a mixed breed dog who are curious about the ancestry of their pooch. The advanced tests are also useful for a deep look at the health traits and potential medical issues that may arise in your pet.

While there is currently no free dog DNA kits available for pet owners, both Wisdom Panel and Embark occasionally offer deals or coupons that allow for substantial savings. We will post links to these here as they become available.

Related articles: A detailed look at the accuracy of Wisdom Panel and Embark Dog DNA

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