(Pocket-lint) - If you'd like to know more about your dog's breed, including their parentage and perhaps any inherited diseases, there's no need to bring your pup to the vet and order up expensive bloodwork. Just like you can quickly order a DNA kit online to find out your own ancestry and genetics, man's best friend has the same opportunity. There are dozens of dog DNA tests available.
You must first consider your wants when choosing a product. Are you solely interested in finding out whether your best friend has any German Shepherd, or do you want to scan for potential issues like gene mutations?
To help you decide which DNA kit is best for collecting your pooch's drool, we've rounded up the top ones to buy now.
Our pick of the best dog DNA testing kits
All the kits below use a simple cheek swab to collect dog DNA. When you order a test, you will receive the swab, instructions, and a return label. Once you take a sample of your dog's saliva, mail it to the company, and they will process and analyse it. Most companies take a few weeks to do this process. Results are then delivered to you via email or an online dashboard.
Embark Breed and Health Dog DNA test
This is one of the most well-rated dog DNA kits available. It is highly recommended by reviewers across the internet.
Embark's test enables you to learn about a dog's breed, ancestry, relatives, and health. Embark claims to offer a "research-grade DNA genotyping platform" - having looked at over 350 breeds recognised by the American Kennel Club and more than 175 health conditions, and it analyses 110-times more genetic markers than others. It claims to be nearly 99 per cent accurate.
Embark Dog DNA test
If you like prefer Embark's test but only want to know about your dog's breed, then look no further. This test screens for over 350 dog breeds, types, and varieties. In mixed breed dogs, Embark said the test can precisely detect breed contributions down to 5 per cent of the total breed make, whereas most tests on the market can only detect breed contributions of 12% or more.
Embark even offers its Doggy Relative Finder tool with purchase.
Wisdom Panel Premium
If you have a mixed dog likely made up of some breed rare to the US or the American Kennel Club, perhaps go with this test, as Wisdom Panel claims to test a wide variety of breeds, including even coyote, the Mexican street dog, and the wolf. It identifies breed, traces the lineage back three generations, and it tests for 152 different genetic diseases and provides a weight prediction.
You'll also learn common behavioral traits your pup is likely to exhibit. It's supposed to have a 93 per cent accuracy rate.
An older version of this test, Wisdom Panel Health Canine Breed and Disease, is also available. It's one of the most popular choices on Amazon.
Wisdom Panel Essential
Just like Embark has a DNA test without any in-depth health analysis, so does Wisdom Panel - only you do get some genetic screening. It's the lite version of the Premium test. It can identify 350-plus breeds, types, and varieties, identifying breed mix down to 1 per cent and tracing your dog's ancestry back to their great grandparents. Plus it looks at your dog's traits like ideal weight.
The best part is it does still look at 25-plus genetic conditions and medical complications, such as MDR1 - which is important info to know before your pup takes medication or undergoes a medical procedure like spaying or neutering. If you'd like to ditch the MDR1 testing and save a bit, try the cheaper Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA test. It's a very similar dog DNA test otherwise.
DNA My Dog Breed Identification test
Want to DNA test your dog without spending tonnes? Consider DNA My Dog's Breed Identification test - one of the cheapest available.
As with the other DNA testing kits, you swab your dog, mail the sample, and then you'll get information about your dog’s breed composition, including dominant breeds, personality traits, and any health issues including predisposition to diseases. The best part is results are available super quick - about one week - whereas many other kits often take four to six weeks.