Curious about your pooch’s ancestry? Where breed is she? Are you suspecting an “almost Corgi”? Or does he have the spirit of a Chihuahua or a Husky?
I come across people asking questions about my Jasper’s breed when we’re on a walk all the time. I’m sure you’ll be familiar with those. It’s not always easy to answer for a mixed breed dog, particularly so if your furry friend is from a pound.
So how do I answer them finally?
The solution seems to be a dog DNA test which can show the breed mix in the make up of your dog’s ancestry.
Okay, which dog DNA test kit should you pick?
Worry not, we prepared this guide to help you save time and effort by reviewing the best kits in the UK.
If you’re in a hurry, you can check the top 3 here:
Our top picks
Best Dog DNA Tests
Before we dive into how to choose a dog DNA test kit and what to watch out for, we present you the cream of the crop, our top picks reviewed:
The Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test is said to have an accuracy of over 95%. That is a whopping figure motivating the pet owners to go for it.
Wisdom Panel has an enormous database of dog breeds that helps derive an exact result associated with breed information.
It has been used on more than 1.5 million dogs to get an insight into their DNA. They also have an extensive breed database of over 350 breed types.
You can choose either a test for breed information or one that also gives out health information along with breed info.
There are two swabs available in the pack for easy collection of the DNA samples. While you pay for the kit, the shipping charges are already included.
It’s easy and simple to use. Well, as easy as your pooch would make it really.
Though it has several positive attributes, it also has a minor drawback. The swabs used for the sample collecting process might irritate your dog’s gums. It is a minor issue and can be rectified by giving something to eat right after the test sample is collected.
- Easy testing with three simple steps
- Quick turnaround time for results, usually two weeks
- Has a large databese of dog breeds for more accurate results
- Detailed information about the breed
- Detection of more than over 350 breeds
- Reporting of breed percentages with a three-generation family tree
- Screening for Multidrug Resistance (MDR1)
- Outcomes of the result can be vague at times with many breed combinations
- Doesn’t always present accurate information for mixed breeds
- Discrepancies between ideal weight range and the reported results
Wisdom Panel 2.0 Dog DNA Test is the previous version of the product mentioned above. After the success of 2.0, the brand tried and improved the contents to make it more efficient and released version 3.0.
This product, however, is unique in its attributes as the users claim it’s one of the best products to date to get an insight about their dog’s DNA.
It helps derive the true form or breed of a dog, whether it is a hybrid or a pure-bred using Dog Breed Test methods in labs.
If your dog is mixed breed, you can get an idea about following a specific diet to help her in the best possible way.
It comes with swabs that are used for sample collection from inside your pooch’s cheeks.
Your dog can drink water till then without any issues as recommended by the brand. Wisdom gives a pre-paid shipping label with all its products.
The whole process takes only about 15 minutes, after which your dog can go for having their food right away.
- Simple 3 step sample collection
- Suitable for dogs for all ages and breeds
- Developed by using genetic markers from the American Kennel Club (AKC) breeds and certain non-AKC breeds in the US alongside pure-bred dogs in Western Europe, the United Kingdom, and Australia
- Single solution to testing for mixed breed, pure-bred and designer dog breeds
- Ancestry tracking back to great-grandparents
- Adult weight range prediction which helps in making better choices for nutrition and diet
- Accuracy of the results is questionable in some cases
The DNA My Dog is another popular name in the list of efficient testing kits.
A positive with this kit is that it has soft cotton swabs for giving comfort to the gums of the dogs.
It reduces the irritation and makes it more convenient for the owners to collect test samples.
A drawback is that there are no postage or pre-paid shipping labels available with this product. Also, there is a smaller database of only 100 breeds available with DNA My Dog.
On the positive side this brand gives options to the customers to choose health screening reports along with breed identification.
- Simple to use
- The results are suitable for use at animal shelters, veterinary offices as well as for domestic use
- Custom certificate and report showing the percentage of different breeds
- Quick turnaround time of two weeks
- Generic profile showing common health concerns and personality traits by breed
- Limited number of breeds in the database
- Inaccurate results at times
- High prices for the features
What Is It Good For?
There is surely fun in getting to know the breed mix of your pup and satisfy the curiosity of fellow dog owners as much as yourself.
Additionally, it can also prepare you for potential health issues by getting to know what your dog can be prone to if the results are accurate.
Benefits of Dog DNA Testing Kits
- A better understanding of the behaviour of the dog or puppy
- It helps identify potential health issues due to genetic disorders
- It gives details about the breed type of the dog, whether mixed or pure
How Does It Work?
It’ll help you collect DNA samples from the inside of the dog’s cheek that will then be sent to a lab for practical testing and report generating.
It can be used either for breed testing or health testing of your pet. Some of the products available are also efficient in testing genetic mutations.
How Does It Help With Health Issues?
Every dog has a different genetic makeup, for which they might need a separate set of health care or lifestyle.
Any genetic predisposition to medical conditions, when neglected, might cause health issues.
If your dog is of mix-breed, then the dna kit will help you get knowledge about the breeds to help mark down the possible health issues that might come up soon.
By seeking an early test, you can consult the vet to plan to deal with what might emerge in the future.
Can It Help With Training?
The breed of your dog can effect their personality and how they relate to his owner and other dogs. Just like physical characteristics, the personality can also be effected by their heritage.
For example the make up of your pooch can help understand why he has high energy levels or a drive for prey. Using this information, you can better train your pup.
How to Choose A Dog DNA Test
Credibility & Accuracy
The first thing that you must check is the credibility of the brand, the methodology they use, and the accuracy rate of the results.
However, since the science behind mapping any diseases based on genetic data is very difficult, even the best quality test kits might fail to provide accurate results about health risks.
What Determines Accuracy?
It does depend on the size of the reference pool the company has and the number of breed biomarkers they use.
Look for a test kit provider with the highest amount of reference pool and breed biomarkers used.
Suitable For Adult Dogs And Pups?
Make sure the DNA test you buy is suitable for your dog or puppy.
Some of the test kits are meant only for adult dogs, while some are compatible with both pups as well as adult dogs.
Therefore, make sure you take time and read all the descriptions of the kit properly before buying.
Understand The Limitations of DNA Testing
Results and appearance doesn’t match
You might be surprised with the test results you receive. Perhaps your pooch has some Chihuahua under that massive torso and you might be wondering “well that can’t be true!”
Just because your dog has the genetics of a certain breed doesn’t mean that those genes are expressed in your dog’s appearance.
Just like as humans we don’t always physically exhibit each of genetic traits we inherit, neither would your dog.
As the DNA test cannot go back an infinite number of generations, the results could be limited. Particularly if your pup’s parents or grandparents are also mutts.
No industry-wide standards
Commercial genetic tests for canines is relatively new and there aren’t industry-wide standards. Additionally the manufacturers aren’t obliged to publish their methodologies.
The lack of common standards in addition to different methodologies might raise questions about the actual accuracy of the results.
Yes and no. It depends on the reference pool, the number breed biomarkers the provider uses. Also, it’ll be more difficult to ascertain the genetic mark up of mixed breeds.
Currently commercial dog DNA tests cannot determine an estimated biological age for your dogs.
Considering the limitations of the DNA testing, accuracy rate and the size of the database, our top pick is Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test.
However, you could easily go for Wisdom Panel 2.0 Dog DNA test as a cheaper alternative for a similar quality from the same brand.
Haven’t decided yet? Here is the top 3 in a nutshell:
Our Top Picks
- DOG DNA BREED ANCESTRY TESTING KIT: With a simple cheek swab you can do at...
- THREE SIMPLE STEPS: Simply collect your dog's DNA with a cheek swab,...
- BENEFITS OF DNA ANALYSIS: Genetic testing can help you identify breeds &...
- Wisdom Panel features the largest dog breed database in the market with...
- With a simple cheek swab, you can uncover dna-based insights that may help...
- Breed insights will help you provide a better training program, understand...
- DNA MY Dog Canine Breed Identification Test
Which one did you choose?
Now that you’re equipped with enough knowledge, which one is your favourite?
If you already decided, let us know in the comment section below.
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