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Best dog DNA test 2024: Explore your dog’s heritage and health from £64

Discover more about your pooch – from revealing their heritage to pinpointing potential health problems – with the best dog DNA tests

Whether you have a mixed breed or purebred pooch, you’ve probably wondered what exactly went into their DNA to make them the curious creature you know and love. Today, with the help of DNA sequencing and sophisticated technology, dog DNA tests are shedding light on where our pets come from – and have become a super popular way to find out more about them.

By using these kinds of tests, you’ll be able to unearth a wealth of information about your dog from simple breed mixes – perhaps you have a rescue and you’re not sure which breeds exist in their family tree – to personality traits, potential health concerns and even allergies.

You can even find out their age in human years (and dog years) as well as how inbred they are – useful to know if you were considering using your dog for breeding.

There are plenty of brands on the market, so we created our own science experiment to find out which of the most popular dog DNA tests is the best. Here’s what we found.

Best dog DNA test: At a glance

Best budget dog DNA tesDNA My Dog (~£64)Check price at DNA My Dog
Best dog DNA test for health assessmentsEmbark (~£99)Check price at Embark
Best dog DNA test for mixed breed dogsWisdom Panel Essential (~£100)Check price at Wisdom Panel
Best dog DNA test for an all-round reportWisdom Panel Premium (~£140)Check price at Wisdom Panel

How to choose the best dog DNA test for your pooch

Does my dog need a DNA test & how does it work?

No dog needs a DNA test, but they can be a useful and fun way to learn more about your pet – especially if you’ve got a mixed breed canine with a mystery backstory. You’ll be able to learn their age, get an accurate picture of their breed mix and find out other intriguing facts about their genetic make-up and ancestry.

Dog DNA tests are harmless and don’t carry any risk for your pet. With most tests, you’ll receive a swab so you can take samples from your dog’s mouth, and a pre-addressed envelope to send it off to the lab.

Usually, postage on the envelope is included, but not all tests offer free postage. Once the swab is received, you’ll get updates about progress until the results are ready.

What sort of things can I learn in a DNA test?

Dog DNA tests can help owners of rescue dogs learn more about where their pet came from, how old it is and what sort of breeds make up its DNA. Most dog DNA tests include a breed breakdown for mixed-breed dogs, an ancestry tree and information on relatives within the DNA database.

Many DNA tests also include health checks, searching for over 260 conditions or markers that could indicate your pooch may have health problems. This is particularly helpful for purebred dogs which are often more at risk of genetic diseases due to inbreeding.

If you’re interested mainly in your dog’s breed, choose a cheaper breed DNA test, but if you’d like a fuller picture of their make-up and health, choose an all-encompassing service that will give you both health and breed information.

The best dog DNA tests you can buy in 2024

1. Embark: Best dog DNA test for health assessments

Price when reviewed: From £109 | Check price at Embark

We tested Embark’s dog DNA test on a two-year-old purebred Manchester Terrier who is highly strung and doesn’t enjoy being manhandled too much. Thanks to the soft swab included with this kit, it was relatively easy to collect a sample from his cheek and it went off to the lab fairly quickly.

Unfortunately, as Embark is geared towards North American customers, postage isn’t included for those of us living in the UK. Results were around a week slower to come back compared with other brands, but once they did it was a fascinating insight into my dog’s health.

The report is incredibly thorough and confirmed that the dog was, as we suspected, 100% Manchester Terrier. It also had an extensive report on his health, which picked up a gene that could change how his liver function is presented when tested.

This wasn’t picked up in other DNA tests done on the same dog, so this health assessment may be more reliable and thorough than the Wisdom Panel check (below).

Another great thing about Embark is that you can send health reports directly to your veterinarian through the results portal, and download the full detailed report as a PDF.

Embark offers a number of different DNA tests for dogs, including breed and health tests, gut health tests, age tests and breed-only tests.

Key features – Breed test: Yes; Soft swab: Yes; Health check: Yes; Free shipping? No

Check price at Embark

2. Wisdom Panel Essential: Best dog DNA test for mixed breed dogs

Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at Wisdom Panel

The Wisdom Panel dog DNA tests offer an incredibly slick experience, from their slim packaging that will easily go through your letterbox to the swish website and results portal that offers detailed insight into your pet’s DNA.

Wisdom Panel claims to be 98% accurate and, having used three of their tests with great success, we were impressed by how specific their breed identification was – especially compared with the DNA My Dog test (number 5 below), which incorrectly identified the same dog (Baxter) as part-golden retriever.

Wisdom Panel found five breeds within the three-year-old cockapoo’s DNA, including two types of poodle and three types of spaniel. It also found an extended family from Baxter’s line of dogs, including a two-year-old cavapoo called Lily.

The Essential test also looks for 29 conditions that could affect the dog’s health. This found no issues in his DNA, and it recommends an ideal weight for his type of breed.

The major drawback of this DNA test is the swab, which has a metal end with bristles a little bit like a pipe cleaner, which was uncomfortable for the dog to have against his gums when collecting the sample. Ultimately this is a largely reliable and information-packed DNA test if you want to learn a little more about them – only if your dog is tolerant, though.

Key features – Breed test: Yes; Soft swab: No; Health check: Yes; Free shipping? Yes

Check price at Wisdom Panel

3. Wisdom Panel Premium: Best dog DNA test for an all-round report

Price when reviewed: £140 | Check price at Wisdom Panel

Just like Wisdom Panel’s Essential test, the Premium version of the company’s dog DNA test comes in slim packaging and includes return postage for UK customers. It still has the bristle swab, which isn’t ideal. But as long as your dog tolerates it, it’s simple enough to get a sample from their gums as required.

This test not only covers breed (which was identified accurately in all three of the dogs we tested), but the health test is far more thorough with over 260 conditions tested for, including encephalopathy, certain types of cancer and various types of haemophilia.

Some of the health conditions tested for are specific to certain breeds, such as border collies, labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, springer spaniels and jack russell terriers.

While most breeds with known health issues are usually identified before birth, this test can be particularly helpful for anyone with a mixed-breed dog which may include DNA from an unknown breed with a predisposition to certain diseases.

Key features – Breed test: Yes; Soft swab: No; Health check: Yes; Free shipping? Yes

Check price at Wisdom Panel

4. Ancestry Pet DNA Test: Best for finding relations

Price when reviewed: From £79 | Check price at Ancestrybest dog DNA tests Ancestry

The clever clogs at – the UK’s most popular family-finding website which lets you trace your family history over generations – has now gone into the business of dog DNA testing. The pack is easy to open and it’s a simple soft swab that must be secured in a pot with liquid, and then re-packaged and posted.

It takes just a few days for the kit to arrive, and around six weeks for the swab to be tested and results to come in. You must wait 30 minutes after your dog has had food or water before you do the swab, and you need to swab their inner cheek for 30 seconds – a little tricky if you’ve got a wriggler.

We tested this DNA kit on a mixed breed dog and the results didn’t come back as anticipated. The dog is a mix between border collie and New Zealand huntaway, but the results suggested she is a mix of Patagonian sheepdog, Siberian husky, border collie and Alaskan malamute.

The results also suggested she would have upright ears, which she doesn’t, and short hair, which isn’t quite true – she has a medium coat length. All this being said, the experience of using the DNA test was excellent and the online platform where you view the results is a smooth, easy-to-read website.

It’s also really interesting to see which other dogs share DNA with this pet, and we found over 200 dogs which match some of her DNA. This could be a great DNA test for finding lost littermates or even parents.

Key features – Breed test: Yes; Soft swab: Yes; Health check: No; Free shipping? Yes

Check price at

5. DNA My Dog: Best budget dog DNA test

Price when reviewed: £64 | Check price at DNA My Dog

DNA My Dog is one of the original dog DNA tests. Based in Canada, DNA My Dog actually performs the testing in-house, rather than send the test off elsewhere to be analysed as some other brands do. This makes it far cheaper than most other tests, however, it’s a somewhat rudimentary experience.

The test itself has a soft swab, which is good news – it won’t hurt the dog when you’re gathering the sample. But their website and results were less than satisfactory. The website is clunky and unsophisticated – like something from the early 2000s – while the results, which came back in a record two weeks, were sadly, inaccurate.

We tested this kit on a three-year-old cockapoo whose mother was a spaniel and father was a poodle, and nowhere in his results did it mention the spaniel breed. Instead, it included estimates for poodle, which were as expected, but also golden retriever (less than 9%) and miniature schnauzer (less than 9%). We tested this same dog with an alternative brand (the Wisdom Panel Basic test) and the results came out differently, this time including spaniel.

Results come in the form of a PDF via email, rather than a web portal, and any genetic health concerns are flagged in your results as well as personality traits and bonding ideas. You also get a printable certificate with a photo of your dog and their dominant breeds for quick and easy reference. A more expensive premium breed ID test (which includes their genetic age and the extent of your dog’s wolf and coyote DNA) and a canine allergy test (which includes food intolerances and household allergens) are also available.

Key features – Breed test: Yes; Soft swab: Yes; Health check: Yes; Free shipping? Yes

Check price at DNA My Dog

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