At home dog DNA tests are a quick and easy way to find out which breeds are in your pet's ancestry.
DNA testing for dogs isn't a new process, but simple at-home test kits have only become available to pet owners in the last few years.
Before these tests, it was impossible to know which breeds were in a mixed-breed puppy's family tree, unless you knew for a fact who his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were.
Now, there's nothing wrong with the element of 'surprise!', and you can have a lot of fun guessing where Fido's coat color, curly tail, short legs or long muzzle come from, but there are some serious reasons for learning what your pup's genetic make up is....
But, did you know that you don't have to own a mixed breed dog to benefit from dog dna testing?
Well, it's true. There are several other types of test available, each with a slightly different goal, but with the same process in mind - mapping your dog's genetic code.
You can jump straight to any of these here:
The at-home tests featured on this page contain everything you need (including easy-to-follow instructions) to get a sample of your pet's dna and then mail it to the lab in the pre-paid envelope.
Once your dog's dna (easy cheek-swab) sample reaches the laboratory it's compared to the appropriate database of breeds to determine which ones appear in parents, grand-parents and great-grandparents.
The larger the database the more accurate the results.
About 3 weeks later you'll get email notification that your results are ready and available to be downloaded from the company's website. It's just so quick and easy!
These results include an individual Ancestry Report which shows the most significant breeds in your his ancestry and give you breed-specific information on each one.
You also get a lovely family tree certificate that you can display in a frame, or just keep for future reference.
The test for mixed breeds is available from some retail stores and dog training establishments as well as online, but the purebred, designer products are only available online.
Widsom Panel dog dna testing kits are considered to be the 'gold standard' when it comes to this type of product, and that's why I've chosen to feature them here. (Wisdom Panel isowned by Mars Veterinary, a division of Mars Inc, the candy company).
They have the largest database of breeds and this means a higher level of accuracy when testing, but it's not necessarily perfect.
Research has shown that this type of testing has been 99% accurate in trials, but there is no guaranteed percentage given by the companies involved.
This is partly due to the fact that the dna material supplied by owners isn't always of the best quality.
So, in order to get the best possible dna sample from your dog, it's important to follow the instructions very closely.
That way you'll be less likely to be sending an incomplete, or contaminated sample, which means a more 'spot on' result!
One other point about accuracy with the mixed-breed dog dna test, is that the number of breeds in your pup's genetic make-up plays a part.
If your dog is the product of more than a dozen different breeds, it can make it trickier for the test to identify them all!
But you'll still get specific information on the most dominant breeds in his family tree, and as that is most likely where his health/behavioral characteristics will come from, these are valuable insights.
And of course it's just nice to know what genes your puppy-of-mixed-parentage has hidden away under that adorable exterior :)
I'm starting with the mixed-breed test because finding out what genetic traits are blended into a puppy whose family history is 'patchy', is the most common reason for getting this testing done.
This kit tests your dog's dna against over 190 recognized breeds which makes it both sensitive and accurate.
The results will show the most significant breed in your pet's genetic background, plus intermediate and minor breed info. too.
Once you know which breeds are the most dominant you can tailor diet, exercise and veterinary care to your pet's specific needs - which will keep him happier and healthier long term.Learn more here.... Wisdom Panel Mixed Breed DNA Test Kit
This test kit is perfect for you if you bought a puppy that you believed to be purebred but never actually received proof (eg. registration papers) and are now wondering if the breeder was less than honest with you!
Genuine purebreds have only other purebred dogs in their ancestry, so this test can put your mind at rest - or otherwise - by showing you which breeds appear in the past 3 generations (ie up to great-grandparents).
This test is available for 150 different breeds, including all the most popular ones and a whole lot more.
* If you don't have real reason to believe your dog is purebred, then either the 'mixed breed' or the 'designer-dog' kit would be a better choice.
Useful for owners of first-generation designer dogs (aka hybrid dogs). Pups born from two purebred parents of DIFFERENT breeds are called 'F1' pups ie a first-generation cross.
Pups resulting from other combinations such as a F1 male bred back to a purebred female - and other variations - may be F2, F3, F1b or F2b.
Often the 2 breeds have been chosen for specific breed-traits. For example Poodles have a curly coat that is good for allergy sufferers and they show up regularly in hybrids - eg. Labradoodle, Cockerdoodle, Doxiedoodle etc.
If you have an F1 designer pup and you want to be sure that he IS an F1 (ie a 50:50 mix of two breeds) this test can tell you that.
This dna test is available for 150 different breeds.
Sometimes unscrupulous breeders can 'fudge' the truth a bit and designer dogs are generally fairly expensive. So, if you want to be sure you have a first-generation hybrid puppy and not a mixed breed with several different breeds in his background this is for you.