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How Much Does a Dog DNA Kit Cost?

Updated on September 10, 2021
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Alam
Written by
Joel
9 sources cited
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A dog DNA test kit is a tool you can use to assess your dog's genetic makeup. 

In the last few years, as at-home DNA testing has increased in popularity for humans who want to trace their ancestral roots and identify potential health problems, DNA testing of dogs has also become common. It is used for many of the same purposes. People assess their dog's DNA to determine the various breeds that make up the dog's bloodline and to consider whether there might be any breed-specific health issues of concern.

But how much does a dog DNA kit cost?

At-home kits range in price from $40 to $130, with some kits costing a few hundred dollars. DNA tests performed by a veterinarian costs between $40 and $100 and tend to be fairly accurate.

Three of the most popular dog DNA kits can be purchased online or at retail stores and include: 

Embark DNA Test

Embark dog DNA test has two test kits. The first is the Breed Identification Test Kit which tests for more than 200,000 genetic markers and over 350 dog breeds. The second is the Breed + Health Test Kit that includes everything the Breed Identification Kit offers, plus a health kit that tests for more than 200 health conditions and 20+ physical traits.

KNOW YOUR DNA REVIEWS

Best Dog DNA Test

We reviewed the top dog DNA test for finding out exactly which breed you have (and any relevant health and trait info you might need).

Wisdom Panel Tests

Wisdom Panel has two options available: Essential and Premium. Both tests for the “potential” health risks your dog is facing. However, the Premium test conducts over 180 health tests for your dog’s genetic predisposition to diseases.

DNA My Dog

Using a simple cheek swab, DNA My Dog lets you learn about the breeds present in your dog. The results will give you insights into your dog’s unique genetic background. This includes exercise levels, personality traits, breed history, and more.

Why Test Your Dog’s DNA?

People DNA test their dogs because they are interested in knowing more about the dog's various breeds. Sometimes it's easy to look at a dog and determine the breed or breeds that likely mated to produce the offspring that became your family pet. But if you want to know more about your dog's grandparents or further back in their bloodline, that's not as easy with only a visual assessment.

Additionally, some dogs tend to favor one breed over another with their looks and temperament. Perhaps your dog's mother was a Labrador retriever and its father a German Shepherd Dog, but all you see when you look at your pup is a Lab. A DNA test will determine for certain what breeds make up your dog, and it might surprise you.

Dog DNA test kits let you know whether your dog is purebred or a mixed breed dog. These tests are suitable for people who are, or planning on, breeding dogs. 

Another reason dog owners DNA test is to identify potential health problems of their dog. Responsible dog owners are concerned about the health risks their dogs are facing. A dog DNA test can help as it provides information on a dog’s breed and genetics. 

A dog’s DNA results can tell you of your dog’s genetic predisposition to certain illnesses and whether they may pass on the said genes to their offspring. 

For example, Dobermans are prone to bleeding disorders such as hemophilia, and Boxers are mostly associated with cancer. Once you have their results, you can discuss the probable health issues with your pet’s veterinarian.

Pet owners can then make decisions based on that information. There might be genetic reasons to alter your dog's diet or lifestyle, the same as you might make changes once you've evaluated your DNA.

These tests are good for general knowledge and to help your dog live their best life. They are also helpful if you intend to breed your dog and you want to confirm what your dog will pass on to its pups.

Dog DNA Testing Risks

Of course, like with most things, there's a downside to dog DNA testing.

One of the biggest risks is that you might learn things you didn't want to know. The same is true for human DNA testing. Many people are better off not learning they have a higher risk for certain genetic diseases. They might feel the same about their beloved pet. 

Using a DNA sample from your dog's mouth, Dog DNA tests tend to provide a lot of information, and not all of it is valuable. This is especially true when your dog's lineage is a mixed bag, and there are a lot of different breeds in their bloodline. Just because your dog's great-grandmother's breed had a risk for a certain disease doesn't mean it will pass to your dog.

Like you, your dog is an individual, and many factors play a role in how their life will play out. It's important not to panic, even if a DNA test identifies a potential health risk for your dog. Your best bet is to take the information you have gathered from DNA testing, discuss it with your vet, and use it to explain the choices that you make for your dog's diet, lifestyle, and other things.

Dog DNA tests are evolving. As with anything, there are limitations associated with these tests. Dog owners are advised to manage their expectations and always consult with veterinarians when it comes to the health of their dogs.

How Do You Conduct a DNA Test on Your Dog?

In theory, conducting a DNA test for your dog is simple. However, your dog's temperament can make it challenging to collect the sample.

To conduct the test:

  1. Once you have your test kit and you've read the directions, start collecting your dog's DNA. You do this by using a swab provided by the test kit, rubbing the inside of your dog's cheek. Some kits require the collection of a larger saliva sample.
  2. Package the results as directed and mail them to the testing company.
  3. Await your results. It usually takes about two to four weeks to hear back from the testing company.

Most dog DNA test kits are accurate, but there are a few things that alter the results. For example:

  • Quality of the sample
  • Number and types of dogs
  • Number of genetic markers
  • Quality of the testing process

The Wisdom Panel is one of the most accurate dog DNA testing kits available. This company uses 1800 genetic markers to evaluate samples and tests for more than 200 different dog breeds and variations. Tests are processed in a USDA accredited lab with quality controls, and testing has shown an average repeatability rate of over 99 percent. It is considered one of the best dog DNA tests on the market.

Dog DNA Testing Myths

As you might guess, there are many myths associated with testing your dog's DNA. The question a lot of people ask is: “Does dog DNA testing work?”. 

Some people assume testing is a gimmick, while others think it's better to rely on their vet's assessment of their dog's breed.

A few of the most common myths associated with DNA test kits for dogs include:

  • "Test results are inaccurate if my dog looks nothing like any of the breeds listed in the results." Your dog might not look like its primary breed.
  • "My vet has a better chance of identifying the breed of my dog accurately than a test." Vets make assumptions about a dog’s ancestry based on physical appearance, which tends to have an accuracy rate of only about 25 percent.
  • "Papers from a breeder override DNA testing." Not all breeders are reputable, and even when they are, mistakes are made. Genetic testing is more likely to confirm your dog's lineage than the word of someone who may or may not be wrong.
embark dog dna

Embark - The Leader of Dog DNA Testing

Embark gets our recommendation for dog DNA testing because they're an established company, they are the market leader, and provide terrific info for you and your dog.

KNOW YOUR DNA REVIEWS

Best Dog DNA Test

We reviewed the top dog DNA test for finding out exactly which breed you have (and any relevant health and trait info you might need).

Resources

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“Are Dog DNA Tests Worth the Cost?” Abc10.Com, www.abc10.com/article/life/animals/are-dog-dna-tests-worth-the-cost/103-59a5cac0-663e-4c64-93da-4e74456cb39f.

AKC Staff, et al. “What You Need to Know About Dog DNA Tests.” American Kennel Club, www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeding/dog-dna-tests-descriptions-and-uses/

“Genetic Diversity of Dogs | Ask A Biologist.” Asu.Edu, 19 Aug. 2011, askabiologist.asu.edu/plosable/dna-dogs

"DNA Testing." The Kennel Club, https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health-and-dog-care/health/getting-started-with-health-testing-and-screening/dna-testing/. Accessed 3 August 2021.

"Hemophilia A." Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, https://www.vet.cornell.edu/animal-health-diagnostic-center/laboratories/comparative-coagulation/clinical-topics/hemophilia-a. Accessed 3 August 2021.

Robins, Mary. “Dog DNA Testing: Why Genetic Screenings Can’t Necessarily Tell You if Your Dog Will Get Sick—Yet.” American Kennel Club, 26 Apr 2019. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-dna-testing-genetic-screenings/. Accessed 3 August 2021.

"Visual Breed Identification." National Canine Research Council, https://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/visual-breed-identification/. Accessed 3 August 2021.

“Parentage/Genetic Marker Report.” UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, https://vgl.ucdavis.edu/test/parentage-genetic-marker-report-dog. Accessed 3 August 2021.

“What is Temperament?” American Kennel Club, https://www.akc.org/akctemptest/what-is-temperament/. Accessed 3 August 2021.

Dr. Alam
Dr. Alam Roky
Medical Reviewer
Dr. Shamsul Alam Roky is a registered veterinarian who graduated from the Faculty of Veterinary, Animal, and Biomedical Sciences. Currently, he is working as a graduate research assistant at his university, in addition to running a private veterinary clinic named ‘Sylhet Veterinary Services” in his city.
Joel
Content Contributor
Joel is a writer with a passion for the science of DNA and the power of its manipulation.
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