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How Much Is a Dog DNA Test? (2024 Price Guide)

Written by: Genevieve Dugal

Last Updated on April 26, 2024 by Dogster Team

dog getting swabbed for DNA testing

How Much Is a Dog DNA Test? (2024 Price Guide)

Do you suspect your pooch is half-Husky? Do you want to know how to identify potential health issues based on your pet’s genetic lineage? Or are you just curious to learn more about your animal’s nebulous origins? That’s where dog DNA test kits come in. This handy little tool is easy to use to assess a dog’s genetic makeup.

But how much does a dog DNA kit cost, and is it worth buying one? Although there are kits that can cost a few hundred dollars, most kits sold online or in stores cost between $60 and $200.

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What Is a Dog DNA Test?

A DNA test1 consists of taking a sample of cells to analyze the genetic code specific to each individual. To perform a DNA test on a dog, you need to collect cells through a simple cheek swab. The sample must then be sent by mail to the testing company, which will analyze it in a specialized laboratory. Afterward, you just have to wait for the results, which take an average of 2 weeks.

Embark Breed dog dna testing

Why DNA Test Your Dog?

Dog parents can have their dog’s DNA analyzed to determine the different breeds that make up their lineage and to determine if there might be any breed-specific health issues.

In short, DNA testing allows you to know all the breeds from which your dog comes and thus better understand his genetic background, including the history of his breed, personality traits, and certain genetic diseases.

Are Dog DNA Test Results Accurate?

Companies that sell the DNA tests claim that the results are between 95% and 99% accurate2. The more genetic markers the company has in its database, the more accurate the results will be.

But in order for the results to be reliable, it is necessary to carefully follow the procedure when collecting the saliva sample that will be sent for the test. For example, you should not feed your dog for 1 hour before the sample is taken. He should also not have contact with another animal during this time for best results. Additionally, you may need to take two samples by scraping the inside of the dog’s cheek.

What Will a Dog DNA Test Tell You?

A dog DNA test reveals the likely makeup of your dog’s breed. There are five levels:

  • Level 1 indicates if the dog is 75% of a particular breed. A so-called “mixed” animal generally does not have level 1 in its results.
  • Level 2 indicates the breed that composes it from 37% to 74%.
  • At level 3, from 20% to 36%.
  • At level 4, from 10% to 20%.
  • At level 5, the breed found is at 9% or less.

DNA testing also helps to discern lineages and provide a genetic tree of both parents. And for an additional fee, you can learn about any hereditary conditions that might be worth reporting to your veterinarian so you can be better prepared for potential ailments as your pet ages.

However, do not rely on these home tests to make life-changing decisions for your pet, as they simply provide potential statistical probability, not an actual diagnosis.

Either way, be sure to discuss the DNA test results and your concerns with your veterinarian.

Are Dog DNA Tests Worth It?

While it certainly makes for fun conversation at the dog park, some experts warn that these tests should be taken with a grain of salt. They say it is hard to know how accurate they are because testing companies use different methodologies.

And with no peer-reviewed publications describing the methods and evaluating their accuracy, it is basically a matter of trusting the claims of the companies that sell these tests.

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If you’re curious about your dog’s genetic tree but aren’t too invested in the results, it may be worth buying a dog DNA test. However, don’t feel like you need to splurge, and aim for the most affordable options, because they all work basically the same way.

Featured Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

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