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Choosing a Dog DNA Test Last Updated:

Dog DNA Test Comparison


A comparison table showing checkmarks on one side and X marks on the other side.

When you compare dog DNA tests, the options can be overwhelming. What’s the difference between the different types of kits? How do you know if the results are accurate? Are you getting the best value for your money? 

Let’s compare dog DNA test kit options and break down how to choose the one that’s right for you. 

Dog DNA test comparison at a glance

While other dog DNA testing companies might offer only bare-bones information about your dog, Embark is endorsed by experts and pet owners alike.

What makes Embark the best dog DNA test? We think it’s a combination of the most scientifically advanced dog DNA test, expert geneticists and veterinarians, our outstanding customer service team, and happy customers.

But don’t just take our word for it—see for yourself how Embark compares to other dog DNA tests.

Embark Veterinary Other Dog DNA Tests
Sample collection 1 cotton swab Multiple swabs, blood draw, or bristle swabs
Genetic health risks 210+ 210 or fewer
Breeds 350+ Varies
Includes dingoes, coyotes, wolves, and village dogs
Traits 35+ 35 or fewer
Genetic markers 230,000+ ~100,000
Shows a dog’s maternal/paternal ancestry
Most scientifically advanced dog DNA test
First-ever canine health discovery using commercial testing genetic data
Most trusted test by dog owners*
Includes Relative Finder Varies
Offers DNA test designed for purebred dogs Varies
Puppy testing services Varies
Unique breeder tools, including Matchmaker for Breeders and Pair Predictor Varies
Genetic diversity score and COI
Official dog DNA test of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
Official dog DNA test of the National Dog Show
Offers canine DNA test specifically for veterinary professionals
Veterinary report with actionable recommendations Varies
Dedicated support for veterinarians from expert veterinary geneticists Varies
Testing designed to fit into standard veterinary workflows Varies
Some of the top genetic health risks or clinical tools we test for
ALT (liver enzyme) genetic activity (GPT gene)
Dilated Cardiomyopathy DCM1 and DCM2 (PDK4 and TTN genes), Doberman Pinschers
Multiple Drug Sensitivity, MDR1 (ABCB1 gene), many breeds Varies
Degenerative Myelopathy (SOD1A gene), many breeds Varies
Exercise-Induced Collapse (DNM1 gene), Labrador Retrievers
Hereditary Cataracts (HSF4 gene), Australian Shepherds
Ichthyosis (PNPLA1 gene), Golden Retrievers
Intervertebral Disc Disease Type I (FGF4 retrogene), many breeds Varies
Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis 4A (ARSG gene), American Staffordshire Terriers
Progressive Retinal Atrophy crd4/cord1 (RPGRIP1 gene), many breeds
Progressive Retinal Atrophy prcd (PRCD gene), many breeds

*Found to be the most trusted dog DNA test based on a blind study of 2,000 dog owners

Does not give purebred registry information

Top health risks and comparisons are based on frequently asked questions from veterinarians and allele frequencies within Embark-tested populations

What to know when comparing dog DNA tests

There are a few factors to consider when comparing dog DNA tests and deciding which one to choose.

Comparing dog DNA test costs

The first thing that comes to mind when comparing dog DNA test kits is often the cost of the test itself. It can be hard to tell what the differences are between the cheapest option and the more expensive ones.

When it comes to comparing dog DNA test costs, it’s easy to think that the initial price is the only investment you’ll make in your dog’s genetic health. But the cost of a dog DNA test can reflect the quality and accuracy of the results. Buying a high-quality Embark dog DNA test means that your dog’s DNA can contribute to research that benefits canine health, and you can trust the accuracy of the results.

Find out how much a dog DNA test actually costs and how to get the most value from it.

Comparing dog DNA test accuracy

Many dog DNA tests claim to be very accurate. But those claims sometimes use narrow definitions of accuracy that don’t apply to all dogs, both mixed breed and purebred.

One clue about what makes a dog DNA test the most accurate is how many genetic markers it has. More genetic markers means that the test captures more data, so that it can report your results with higher accuracy and precision. 

Learn more about how accurate dog DNA tests are for breed identification and for identifying genetic health risks.

Comparing the value of dog DNA tests

Because the same genetic variant can affect different breeds in different ways, it’s important to know the health risks related to your dog’s specific breed or breed mix. 

When comparing dog DNA tests, look for one that gives you multiple health results from a single test, and one that takes into account breed-relevant health results. It’s important to know which genetic health risks you and your veterinarian can be proactive about based on your dog’s unique health profile. That type of actionable health information can have a significant impact on a dog’s quality of life.

Compare types of dog DNA tests

Whether you’re a pet parent, a breeder, or a veterinarian, Embark offers a DNA test for you and your dog.

For pet owners

Embark has three DNA test options for dog owners.

  1. The Embark Breed + Heath Kit is our bestselling dog DNA test, and for good reason. It’s the most accurate and highest rated kit on the market. The Breed + Health Kit is the best kit for mixed-breed or designer-breed dog owners who want to get their dog’s breed breakdown and genetic health profile. It tests for 350+ breeds, 35+ traits, and 210+ genetic health risks. 
  2. If you have a purebred dog, try the Embark DNA Test for Purebred Pets. The Purebred Kit provides dog owners with actionable health insights so they can give their dogs the best possible care. It tests for the same information as the Breed + Health Kit, measures genetic diversity, and traces your dog’s ancestry as far back as their great-grandparents. 
  3. If you’re only interested in finding out your dog’s breed mix, the Breed Identification Kit is right for you. It tests for the same 350+ breeds as the other kits at a more affordable price. If you change your mind, you can upgrade your kit to include health testing anytime.

All three kits include access to the Embark Relative Finder, so you can connect with your dog’s relatives.

For breeders

The Embark for Breeders DNA Kit is ideal for first-time breeders and those with small to midsize breeding programs. Screen adult dogs and puppies for breed-relevant genetic health risks, traits, and diversity with this one-swab kit. Standard tiered pricing is available for individual kits, so you can choose what’s right for your breeding program and litter size.

For veterinarians

Embark now offers canine DNA testing designed for veterinarians, with testing that fits into everyday veterinary workflows. With an Embark for Veterinarians dog DNA test, you’ll receive a report containing your patients’ genetic results and clinically relevant information about each health condition, and you can easily share these results with pet owners or breeder clients. Our veterinary experts will work with you to understand the genetic risks that could affect your patients’ long-term health and enable the practice of more personalized medicine.

How to choose a dog DNA test

Not sure which Embark dog DNA test is right for your dog? Take this helpful quiz and we’ll recommend the dog DNA test that fits your needs.

Mimi Padmabandu Contributor

Mimi Padmabandu is a scientific writer and Senior Content Strategist at Embark Veterinary. Her career includes a decade of experience writing about science and genomics for leading biotechnology companies, including Illumina, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and more. She holds a bachelor's degree in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from UCLA and a master’s degree from King’s College London.

Read more about Mimi Padmabandu

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