Dog DNA Tests: Are They Worth It?

If you have ever adopted a dog from a shelter, you may have wondered what breed your dog was. While knowing your dog’s specific breed mix isn’t necessary, it can be fun. A dog DNA test can get you answers, but is it worth it? Continue reading our Webster, TX, animal hospital‘s article to find out.

What is a Dog DNA Test?

dog dna test webster, tx

Most dog DNA tests use saliva to test what breeds make up your dog’s ancestry. The test looks at thousands of DNA markers to determine not only what breed your dog’s parents were but also what breeds their ancestors were going back generations.

Some dog DNA tests use blood or stool samples instead. These types of tests are rarer and often more expensive.


Unfortunately, the accuracy of dog DNA kits is hard to determine. Most claim 90-99% accuracy. Many vets and professionals remain skeptical of these claims. However, DNA testing is accurate enough to be useful.

What Can a Dog DNA Test Determine About a Dog?

Dog DNA tests are useful for a number of reasons. They can provide you with answers as to what breeds are mixed up in your dog. More importantly, dog DNA tests can provide answers about what potential health problems your dog may face in the future.

Some dog breeds are more prone to certain problems from arthritis to liver failure. Knowing what breeds your dog has in its DNA can help you provide preventive care. Whether that is a specialized diet or something else.

Why Get a Dog DNA Test?

You can choose to get a dog DNA test out of simple curiosity. There is nothing wrong with wanting to know your dog’s genetic make-up. This reason is similar to the reason why many people get DNA tests.

Another reason to get a dog DNA test is to determine genetic and health risks. Dog DNA tests don’t just tell you about the breed and its traits. They can also tell you about genetic and health issues that ancestors of your dog had, just like human DNA tests.

Knowing your dog’s breed traits, health risks, genetic predisposition, and weight and nutritional needs are all important things you can learn from a dog DNA test. With this knowledge you can make better decisions about your dog’s diet, exercise, and health.

Types of Tests Based on Goals

There are four main types of Dog DNA tests. They are each based on your goals.

Autosomal-Recessive Conditions

Most DNA tests test for these conditions. An autosomal-recessive condition is when a dog inherits the genes for a condition from both parents. In order for the dog to be affected they need both genes. If they only get it from one the condition does not manifest.

Autosomal-Dominant Conditions

Most DNA tests also test for these conditions. An autosomal-dominant condition only requires a dog to inherit the genetic anomaly from one parent in order to be affected.

Linkage Tests

Linkage tests are used to find genes in dogs that are not a direct cause of a condition but that can be linked to a higher chance of having the condition. Linkage tests are not as accurate but they can be useful in determining potential health problems.

Risk-Based DNA tests

Risk-based DNA tests look for genes that indicate a genetic predisposition towards health problems. These conditions may be affected by environmental factors before they affect the dog. Therefore risk-based tests look for whether a dog is at a larger or smaller than normal risk for certain conditions.

Risk-based tests, like linkage tests, are not as accurate as standard DNA tests. However, they are helpful in determining if your dog is at risk for any serious health conditions.

How Much Do Dog DNA Tests Cost?

The price of dog DNA tests is only slightly cheaper than human DNA tests – the cheapest being around $50-60. The more expensive tests can be as high as $200. Typically, more expensive tests are more accurate or they do a more in-depth search of your dog’s DNA.

Is It Worth It?

Now it is time to decide if it is worth it to get a dog DNA test. This will depend a lot on what your goals are. If you are just curious about your dog’s DNA then a cheaper test is the better route. However, if you are generally interested in using the dog DNA test to determine health risks, then you should splurge and pay for one of the higher-end tests.

How To Avoid Scams

Most dog DNA tests are reliable and fairly accurate. However, it is important to make sure to purchase one that is real. If you are purchasing your kit online, make sure to read reviews.

Ask your vet what tests they recommend or have access to. It may cost more money to have your vet run the test but it is also guaranteed to be a real test and not an internet scam.

Best Dog DNA Tests

Here are the top-rated dog DNA tests available:

Embark Breed + Health Dog DNA Test Kit

The Embark Breed + Health dog DNA test kit looks at over 350 different dog breeds. It screens for over 200 different potential health conditions. Similar to human DNA tests, there is a database and you can look up relatives of your dog.

Wisdom Panel Premium Dog DNA Kit

The Wisdom Panel premium dog DNA kit tests for over 200 different potential health conditions. It also tests for over 35 physical traits. They screen for over 350 dog breeds. In addition, you can also use this test to track down relatives of your dog.

Royal Canin Genetic Health Analysis Kit

The Royal Canin genetic health analysis kit tests for over 250 different breeds and more than 130 genetic health conditions. This test also offers guidelines concerning your dog’s healthy weight, diet, and more.

Ask Our Webster, TX, Veterinarian if You Have More Dog DNA Test Questions

If you have the money to spare, a dog DNA test might just be worth it. It is up to you to decide. One final thought: if you would pay to get yourself a DNA test, why not do so for your pets?

If you have any more questions about dog DNA tests, be sure to ask our Webster, TX, veterinarian during your pet’s next vet visit. 

Veterinary Websites by InTouch Practice Communications

Send Accessibility Issues