Unraveling the Truth: Are Dog DNA Tests Really Accurate?

are dog DNA tests really accurate

As more and more pet owners show interest in dog DNA tests, there is a growing curiosity surrounding their reliability and precision.

In this blog post, we will explore the realm of dog DNA tests, uncovering their mechanics and discussing the advantages they provide.

Additionally, we will shed light on the variables that can impact the reliability of these tests and address their limitations.

How Dog DNA Tests Work?


Dog DNA testing involves analyzing a sample of the dog’s saliva or a cheek swab, looking for markers that provide information about the breed and genetic makeup of the animal.

Dog DNA tests utilize advanced techniques in genetic analysis to examine the unique DNA composition of your beloved pet.

These tests typically involve a straightforward collection of a cheek swab or saliva sample, which is then sent to a certified laboratory for meticulous analysis.

The sample is processed, and the DNA is carefully extracted and examined for specific genetic markers that can offer valuable insights into the dog’s breed composition, ancestral background, and potential health predispositions.

Once the DNA sample reaches the laboratory, a thorough examination of the genetic markers is conducted to unveil essential details about the dog’s breed composition, ancestral heritage, and potential health predispositions.

This meticulous analysis empowers pet owners to acquire profound insights into their furry companion’s genetic makeup and comprehensive health profile.

Moreover, it assists in identifying the closest related breeds to their dog and offers an opportunity to delve deeper into the distinctive characteristics associated with each identified breed.

Benefits of Taking a Dog DNA Test


DNA tests can provide invaluable information about your pup’s breed composition, ancestry, and any potential health issues.

Dog DNA tests offer a wide range of benefits to pet owners. These include:

Breed identification

The most obvious advantage of a dog DNA test is being able to accurately identify a dog’s breed or its mix of breeds.

This can be incredibly useful for pet owners who want to better understand their pup’s traits and behaviors, as well as make informed decisions about their care.

It can also help them learn more about potential health risks specific to certain breeds.

Health awareness

Dog DNA tests can also be beneficial in helping pet owners become more aware of any health issues their pup may be prone to.

Knowing the genetic predispositions of a breed can help owners look out for early signs and symptoms of various conditions, allowing for earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Additionally, some tests provide information about inherited traits which could be useful in designing a diet and exercise regimen tailored to the dog’s specific needs.

Ancestry tracking

Dog DNA tests can also provide insights into an animal’s ancestry, allowing pet owners to trace their pup’s lineage back several generations.

This can offer a unique window into their history and help them better understand the origins and traits of their pup’s breed.

Training and behavior insights

Although dog DNA tests offer insightful details about a dog’s breed makeup, ancestral background, and potential health concerns, it is important to note that they should not be employed as a means to anticipate behavior or training needs.

Every dog possesses individual characteristics, making it impossible to accurately predict their actions in specific circumstances.

Hence, it is advisable for owners to seek guidance from professional trainers and behaviorists who can tailor a suitable training program for their unique canine companion.

Factors That Can Affect the Accuracy of Dog DNA Tests

The accuracy of dog DNA tests can be affected by a number of factors. These include:

Sample quality

The precision of a dog DNA test heavily relies on the quality of the sample provided.

To ensure optimal results, it is crucial to gather a high-quality sample from your dog.

This can be achieved by carefully swabbing the inside of their mouth or collecting saliva directly while being mindful to prevent any external contamination.

By following these measures, the integrity of the sample is maintained, enhancing the accuracy of the test.

Test methodology and database size

The accuracy of the results can also be influenced by the test methodology used and the size of the breed database.

Tests that use advanced genetic analysis techniques tend to provide more accurate results, as well as those which are based on larger breed databases.


Limitations of Dog DNA Tests

Dog DNA tests have become increasingly popular in recent years, however, there are some limitations that should be taken into consideration when using dog DNA tests.

Genetic complexity

One of the most important limitations is the genetic complexity of dogs.

Due to this, there are some breeds and mixes that are difficult to identify accurately.

Also, due to the continual evolution of dog genetics, new breeds are constantly being introduced which can pose a further challenge for tests.

Limited breed representation

Another limitation is the limited representation of breeds in the test databases.

While some tests have access to large databases, others may only cover a limited number of breeds. This can make it difficult to accurately identify certain types of dog mixes.

Lack of diagnostic certainty

Finally, dog DNA tests cannot provide 100% certainty when it comes to identifying a pup’s breed or its related health risks.

While the results can provide useful insight, they should never be used as a definitive diagnosis for any condition.

Popular dog DNA test products

The following are some of the most popular dog DNA test products available on the market today, including:

Embark Dog DNA Test

Embark Breed Identification Kit | Most Accurate Dog DNA Test | Test 350+ Dog Breeds | Breed ID Kit with Ancestry & Family Tree
  • DISCOVER YOUR PUP'S RELATIVES: Find and connect with your pup's family through the world’s first canine relative finder; Nearly one million messages exchanged for countless happy reunions
  • SUPPORTS DOG HEALTH AND WELFARE: Embark is partnered with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and other researchers; Each test purchased contributes to finding and treating genetic disease in dogs; Purchases also support Embark's Old Dogs, New Homes initiative which helps find new families for older dogs in shelters
  • FAMILY TREE & SIMILAR DOGS: You can see your dog's family tree all the way back to great-grandparents; Unlike other tests, Embark can even identify breeds in mixed-breed great-grandparents, perfect for the muttiest mutts; Embark also shows other dogs of similar breed mix to your pup; You can explore their profiles and photos and even send messages to their humans over the Embark site to compare your dogs' quirks!
  • SUPPORTS DOG HEALTH AND WELFARE: Embark is partnered with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and other researchers; Each test purchased contributes to finding and treating genetic disease in dogs; Purchases also support Embark's Old Dogs, New Homes initiative which helps find new families for older dogs in shelters

The Embark Dog DNA Test is one of the most popular and comprehensive dog DNA tests on the market.

It uses a proprietary database containing over 250 breeds, as well as more than 200 health conditions and traits to provide accurate results.

The test also offers up-to-date insights into a pup’s breed composition, ancestry, and potential health issues.

Orivet Genopet Dog DNA Test

Orivet Genopet Dog DNA Test | Dog Breed Test Kit, Genetic Testing, Heritable Health Risks and Life Plan
  • Breed Identification DNA test for Dogs: Orivet’s industry-leading Breed Identification DNA test for dogs screens for over 350 breeds, types, and varieties of canines. Your report will include the percentage of each breed that makes up your dog.
  • Fast Turnaround: After we receive your dog’s sample, your results will be available in your online account in 2 - 3 weeks.
  • Easy to use: Orivet’s Collection swabs are designed to capture buccal (cheek) cells quickly and easily. This process takes less than a minute to complete. After activating and allowing time for the swabs to dry, your sample can be on its way to us in 15 minutes!
  • Trusted Results: For over a decade, Orivet has been trusted by veterinarians and breeders as a worldwide leader in canine genetic research. Now you can get the same innovative testing professionals use for your own dog!
  • LifePlan Included: Your Breed Identification dog DNA test includes Orivet’s LifePlan. This personalized wellness plan is based on the dog breeds discovered, your dog's age, weight, gender, geographic location, and lifestyle.

The Orivet Genopet Dog DNA Test is another popular option for pet owners. It offers a comprehensive view of your pup’s breed composition, ancestry, and potential health issues.

The test also provides access to the company’s proprietary, continually-updated database which contains over 180 dog breeds.

DNA My Dog Genetic Testing Kit

DNA My Dog Premium Test – Premium Breed ID Over 300 Breeds Plus Genetic Age Test, Wolf/Coyote DNA and Mixed Breed Identification, Non-Invasive Cheek Swab for Puppies to Adult Dogs
  • ALL IN ONE BREED IDENTIFICATION, GENETIC AGE TEST AND HYBRID (WOLF) TEST FOR YOUR DOG: Dig deeper into your dog’s DNA. Uncover your pet’s breed details and ancestry including wolf and coyote lineage, genetic age, breed-related health concerns, unique personality traits, how to unleash a deeper bond with your best bud and so much more.
  • CANINE GENETIC AGE TEST: The DNA My Dog Canine Genetic Age Test is designed to determine the biological age of your dog. Genetic or biological age is different than chronological or actual age in that genetic age gives insight into the predicted longevity of your dog from a cellular level. Telomere shortening is involved in all aspects of the aging process on a cellular level. Telomere length represents our genetic age as opposed to our chronological age.
  • EASY-TO-USE: The DNA My Dog Premium Dog Test includes a soft, sterile, cheek swab to take a quick sample without troubling your dog, to ensure the safeness of your pet while doing the procedure. You'll get the results approximately in 2 weeks from receipt of your dog’s DNA test sample. The report includes all of the breeds and genetic age of your dog plus tips and information on all of the breeds detected.
  • PREMIUM TESTING: Our state-of-the-art laboratory ensures the highest level of accuracy available to help you connect the dots for a deeper bond with our doggy.

The DNA My Dog Genetic Testing Kit is a convenient and affordable option for pet owners.

It provides information about your pup’s breed composition, as well as the potential health issues associated with its breeds.

The test also includes an ancestry report that traces your pup’s lineage back several generations.


Dog DNA tests provide captivating revelations about your lovable companion’s breed composition, ancestral background, and potential health tendencies.

While they offer valuable insights, it is crucial to acknowledge their limitations and recognize that no test is flawless.

By weighing the advantages, comprehending the factors that influence accuracy, and remaining cognizant of the constraints, you can make well-informed choices regarding the use of dog DNA tests as a tool to deepen your understanding and enhance the care provided to your cherished canine friend.

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