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Every proud dog parent wants to know everything about his/her canine baby. This may sound weird to non-dog parents. But for a dog parent, it is only natural to be curious about your dog’s breed makeup.
To be honest, this is easy when it comes to purebred dogs. However, when it comes to mutts and their genetic background many questions remain unanswered. In fact, they used to remain unanswered. Fortunately, today there are commercially available dog DNA tests.
Dog DNA tests may sound luxurious and sophisticated, but in fact, they can be quite helpful. Well… frankly, there are two main reasons why dog owners decide performing these tests. The first is learning about the dog’s genetic heritage in order to know what to expect regarding genetic diseases that may strike at a certain point of the dog’s life. The second reason is having fun. In the past people used to guess the dog’s DNA heritage based solely on its appearance and personality.
Today, more and more companies specialize in dog DNA testing. They entice and encourage dog parents to learn more about their dog’s ancestry. Therefore, the best dog DNA tests are now commercially available and can easily be performed at home.
Top 5 Best Dog DNA Tests
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Benefits of a Dog DNA Test
- Dog DNA tests can be fun – you can gather your friends and organize a quiz. In a nutshell have all your friends make a guess about your dog’s ancestry and then compare the answers the test’s results.
- Dog DNA tests help predict potential health issues – simply put, testing gives you a heads up on possible health issues. Genetic conditions may or may not appear, but being prepared is better than being surprised. Additionally, if you know your dog’s predispositions, you can take actions for prevention or at least minimizing the consequences.
- Useful for rental applications – some places will require you to do a DNA test to figure out which breed your dog is and if it is allowed on the premises. This is what you’ll need in order to get your dog accepted onto your lease.
- Dog DNA tests help you understand your dog’s behavior and personality – it is always useful to know what to expect from your canine companion in terms of life expectancy, behavior, trainability, grooming requirements, training requirements and sociability.
- Dog DNA tests can help you prevent certain dangerous conditions – some breeds are predisposed to allergic and adverse reactions to substances, particularly drugs. Knowing your dog has genes coming from allergic breeds will prevent you from using those drugs on the dog.
- Dog DNA tests give you a better idea of your ideal dog – since each breed is different, the ideal family for the breed depends on its needs and requirements. Having your dog tested for its DNA will help you determine whether the dog is a match for you and your lifestyle.
There are six main reasons why dog DNA tests are a must for dog parents:
What To Look For in Canine DNA Test and How To Choose the Right One
In spite of being designed for the same purpose, not all dog DNA tests are created equal. The more breeds the company has in its database, the greater the chances for accurate results. This is because the tested dog’s genes can be more accurately and precisely pinpointed to the genes in the database.
The choice on which dog DNA test to choose should be based on the following factors:
- Accuracy – this depends on the number of DNAs registered in the manufacturer’s database.
- Validity – ensured by the manufacturer’s reputation and positive feedback for satisfied customers.
- Price – usually dog DNA test do not come cheap. However, with more and more manufacturers offering tests, their prices are becoming more affordable.
- Speed of results delivery – most manufacturers promise results in 2-3 weeks. However the exact time depends on the extent and depth of the testing process. Generally, the larger the database, the more accurate results but the longer it would take to complete the analysis.
How To Perform a Dog DNA Test At Home
Regardless of the test’s fancy name, the actual test performance is incredibly simple. Dog DNA tests are available online and in pet stores. It is recommended to make a little research before making the actual purchase to inform yourself about each test’s pros and cons. Once you have made the decision and purchased the at-home dog DNA test, your only responsibility is taking a simple cheek swab from your dog. Then, the swabs are placed in a special container provided with the kit and mailed back to the manufacturer.
You can expect a full report on your dog’s DNA results in just a few weeks. Depending on the manufacturer it may be possible to register online and receive the report on your online profile. Some manufacturer include additional report information like percentage breakdown of your dog’s breeds and risks for hereditary diseases.
Information Dog DNA Tests Provide
The information dog DNA tests offer can be divided in three categories:
- Primary: if the majority of the dog’s DNA comes from a certain breed (50% or more)
- Secondary: breeds with significant levels of DNA in the dog
- In the mix: breeds with small amounts of DNA in the dog.
The Embark Dog DNA Test provides a 3-pronged approach to proper dog care based on its genetic: an accurate breed identification, extensive genetic marker identification and exceptional genetic disease evaluation.
- Tests more than 200,000 canine genetic markers
- Identifies more than 160 health conditions
- Highly accurate results
- Results validated and confirmed by respectable organization
- Graphic representation of the dog’s karyogram or chromosome mapping
- Comes with a vet report that includes genetic summary of the breed
- Online delivered test results (PC, tablet, smartphone)
- Partnership with credible authorities in veterinary science
- It may take more than 2 months for the results
- Costs 2-3 times more than other tests.
Unfortunately, it does not test genetic markers for hereditary conditions. However, it does test for multi-drug resistance 1 (MDR1) genetic mutation. This is an important feature because the MDR1 mutation can lead to severe adverse reaction when using commonly prescribed drugs.
- Highly specific for mixed breed dogs
- Easy to perform (3 simple steps)
- Fast DNA results in only 2-3 weeks
- Tests for MDR1 genetic mutation
- Provides adult weight prediction
- Reasonable price.
- Does not test genetic markers for canine health conditions
- Offers very limited DNA testing
In addition of accurately identifying the percentage of different dog breeds present in the dog, the test also detects genetic heath issues, food and environmental sensitivities, stress levels and details about the dog’s overall health.
The test covers over 160 health conditions including glaucoma, dilated cardiomyopathy and degenerative myelopathy. It also covers over 125 intolerances and sensitivities to foods and environmental allergens. Additionally, the test measures the cortisol levels thus determining the dog’s stress exposure and sensitivity. What is more, the test measures and determines the dog’s hormonal status and the levels of vitamins and toxins. The results are then classified as low, normal or high.
- Easy to perform test with accurate results
- The most complete dog test available on the market
- Covers over 160 health conditions
- Tests for over 125 food and environmental allergens
- Determines the stress level
- Checks the dog’s hormone, vitamin and toxin levels.
- Relatively new test that lacks name recognition.
- Provides information about the dog’s ancestry, potential hereditary health conditions and susceptibility to adverse reactions to drugs
- Licensed for MDR1 drug sensitivity screening
- Tests for more than 1,800 genetic markers
- Relatively large database with over 250 dog breeds
- Provides adult weight range predictions
- Test results available in just 2-3 weeks
- Pre-paid shipping is included
- Affordable price
- More limited genetic markers if compared to Embark
- Some customers complain about generic results and high incidence of “mixed breed” identification.
The results of the test are available in a short period of time of 2-3 weeks. The results are usually presented in an interactive online account that can be regularly updated.
All in all, the Orivet Dog Breed Identification DNA Test is focused towards the dog’s wellbeing during its entire lifespan.
- Database with over 250 breeds
- Highlights the most important health risks
- Prediction about the dog’s adult weight range
- Insights about the dog’s personality and behavior
- Nutritional suggestions
- Comes with an included personalized Life Plan
- Test results in 2-3 weeks
- Test results presented online
- Relatively expensive
Mixes, mutts, mongrels… regardless of the terminology, they make remarkable companions. Additionally, they have a far lower risk of inherited diseases. This is because most purebred dogs have developed from a small genetic database, which produces consistent size, shape and personality, but it also concentrates dangerous genes that increase medical risks. However, owning a mutt does not exclude the possibility of diseases common in ancestor breeds. Therefore, it is advisable to have your dog’s DNA determined. That way you will know what to expect. What is more, it is fun to acknowledge whether your guesses based on your dog’s external look are true.
Using a home dog DNA test is the easiest and not very expensive way of learning about your dog’s genetic makeup. Unfortunately, there is no ideal dog DNA test. Some tests have more dogs in their database while others are cheaper and easier to complete. Simply put, each test has its advantages and disadvantages. The goal is to find a test which advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
Based on our extended and detailed research and reviews, it can be concluded that the Embark Dog DNA Test Kit is the choice number 1 for curious dog parents. With the biggest database and multiple specific results you’ll be sure to know what breed your pooch is.