Welcome back to part two of “What You Need To Know About DNA Tests For Dogs” series. In part one, we covered the benefits of DNA tests which included understanding the genetic makeup of your dog which also highlights their inherited features such as health issues, behavior, fitness and more. 

Consumers also want to know about the accuracy of DNA tests for their pups. Here is a starting point to that thought process.

Accuracy of DNA Tests

Since dog DNA testing processes are unregulated, it’s difficult to assess the reliability of dog DNA findings, particularly those intended to provide breed lineage. On their tests, some firms provide accuracy percentages; generally speaking, the more breeds they have in their databases, the more accurate their DNA test findings are.

DNA testing can be very accurate when an illness has a clear hereditary cause. For instance, Von Willebrand’s disease, a possibly fatal blood clotting ailment, is caused by a single genetic mutation in the Doberman Pinscher. 

It’s challenging to offer findings that are 100-percent correct when it comes to aesthetic features, since sometimes more than one gene can be responsible for a trait. And in many cases, the mutation or gene responsible for influencing a particular genetic characteristic hasn’t yet been discovered.

The Cost of DNA Testing

Dog DNA testing can be simple and affordable, or it can be pricey and in-depth. When considering a DNA test, you should pick the attributes that best satisfy your DNA testing objectives. Do you need comprehensive genetic testing data to determine whether to breed your dog or whether to be ready for the probable appearance of illnesses in the future? Or do you just want to know what breeds make up your lovely, adopted mixed breed?

DNA kit prices range widely. Veterinarian-ordered tests can be quite expensive, running into some hundreds of dollars, particularly if tissue or blood samples are required. Other tests, such as those that assist in identifying the mix of breeds your cute pup is composed of, can be obtained online, completed at home, and are reasonably priced.

How to Find a Reputable Company That Does DNA Testing

There are a number of at-home DNA testing kits for your dog that you can order online. Here are four of the best: 

  1. Wisdom Panel Premium, $159.00

The Wisdom Panel Premium dog DNA test is a top-notch product at a competitive price. Expert geneticists and veterinarians devised the methodology that underlies it. The most precise dog DNA test on the market was launched by Wisdom Panel in 2021 with the introduction of a new breed recognition system that routinely displays error rates 2-4 times lower than the industry norm. And it has the largest breed reference database of any on the market (with over 21,000 samples and growing). Thus, even the rarest breeds will be found. With over 98% accuracy, you can examine your dog’s breed genealogy, which lists each breed in their mix down to 1%.

Your dog’s great-grandparents can even be detected in their genealogy. The best feature, however, is that you’ll be more prepared when it comes to your pet’s health, with at least 210 genetic health tests, from medication sensitivity to visual abnormalities to mobility issues. And if you still have concerns, Wisdom Panel provides a cost-free consultation with a qualified veterinarian to clarify the test’s findings.

  1. Embark Health & Breed ID, $199.00

Dog owners can discover more about their dog’s breeding characteristics and health concerns by administering the Embark Dog DNA test. Since low-percentage findings aren’t indicative of real ancestry, Embark only includes breeds that have been identified with a high degree of certainty. If your dog and other dogs that have taken the test have a common ancestor, the test’s Relative Finder function will let you know. In order for you to see more adorable puppies like yours, Embark also posts pictures of dogs that have similar breed mixtures.

  1. DNA My Dog, $68.99

For those with budget-friendly options in mind, who are only interested in their dog’s breed mix, DNA My Dog is a decent choice. This basic pet DNA test is simple to use and doesn’t require any technical knowledge (it’s an iPhone app), but it doesn’t screen for many breeds or provide health-related information about your pet. You simply ship the DNA sample after you swab your dog, then wait for the findings to be sent to you as a PDF document 2-3 weeks later.

What DNA Tests Don’t Reveal

It’s important to bear in mind that DNA testing for both humans and animals can be inaccurate. When making judgments regarding veterinary treatments based on a DNA test, owners should use caution. A DNA test can only provide risk advice. For instance, although a dog may have a gene linked to an illness, this doesn’t mean that a dog will have this illness. The next step for an owner should be to visit a vet who can keep an eye on and test your pet going forward. The vet will have a better idea of what extra tests to run after examining DNA-test findings.

The decision to conduct further tests would then be up to the owner and communicate any of those concerns they have with their veterinarian. DNA tests may be an option for that starting point if a pet parent so chooses. 

In the end, your dog is still your pet and buddy. Certain dog owners are inquisitive and seek reasons to explain the characteristics or behavior of their canine companions. In some situations, this knowledge can be rewarding; we often desire to know what characteristics make our pets the animals that they are.

But keep in mind that, in many respects, we already have this knowledge; we’re aware of what characteristics define and typify our pets. More than their breed, DNA, or origin, our dogs are our buddies and companions; it’s possible that all we need to know about a dog’s DNA can be learned by just paying attention to them. 

That said, we are inquisitive humans who may have the desire to learn more about our dogs that may be achieved with a DNA Test.