We, humans, love dogs so much that we’ve been domesticating them for more than a millennia now. They make great pets, loyal companions, and are generally very helpful animals. The human infatuation with the canine race has led to a lot of selective breeding. Humans have selectively bred pretty much every dog breed. This was done to preserve and enhance selective physical traits and instincts. Nowadays, dogs are either purebred or mixed breeds, and today we’re going to focus on the latter. We’ll talk about the best dog DNA test for mixed breed dogs and recommend some great test kits to you in the end.
The term “mix breed” is quite self-explanatory. These dogs have multiple breeds in their family tree. Mixed breeds are quite common for various reasons. They often have a unique look to them since their looks consist of traits from multiple breeds. A mixed-breed dog is also less expensive as compared to purebred pedigree dogs. However, mutts are more susceptible to inherited diseases and various side effects of selective breeding. These diseases and side effects can be hard to spot and usually manifest in a dog’s later years. They can significantly affect the quality of life for your pet. This is why being able to identify them beforehand and taking preventive steps is recommended.
DNA test kits for dogs have become popular because they allow dog owners to learn a lot about their pet. This includes any diseases or abnormalities that they might have inherited. This sort of information can be invaluable for any concerned dog owner. DNA tests also reveal much about a dog’s ancestry. You can find out about their breed composition; the number of different breeds present in their ancestry. This information can be used for breed identification to find out specific physical and temperamental traits.
The problem with DNA tests and mutts is that the two don’t mix well. Mutts have complicated genetics that are harder to analyze. This makes them a challenge for DNA test kits. Many DNA tests that work just fine with purebred dogs become inaccurate when it comes to mutts. To understand why this happens, let’s take a look at how canine DNA tests actually work.
The Process of Dog DNA Testing
The testing process begins when you buy a test kit and bring it home. This test kit contains everything that you need to collect a DNA sample of your dog. Most DNA test kits require saliva samples, which are really simple to collect. Simply take the given cotton swabs and roll them around your dog’s cheeks to soak up their saliva. Once this is done, you place the cheek swab in a container and ship it to the DNA testing company.
Once your sample is received, it undergoes a series of tests to extract data. The testing process involves identifying genetic markers present in the sample. These markers are used to determine a dog’s ancestry, health conditions, and other elements. The accuracy of a DNA test depends on how well testers can identify these genetic markers. Their ability to do so depends on their breed database. This is a collection of genetic information that DNA testers have on hand. Think of it as reference material with which they compare sample information. The size and diversity of a company’s database have a huge impact on their genetic testing ability. Companies with larger databases are capable of testing a larger number of breed types. Diversity determines whether the breeds that they have data on are from one part of the world or various regions.
A large and diverse database is what you are looking for when testing a mix breed’s DNA. A larger database means that the company has genetic information on more breeds. The more information they have on hand, the better their analysis becomes since they have more reference material. Companies with larger databases often have information on less common breeds as well. This makes their DNA test more qualitative and allows them to extract more accurate data from a test sample.
When you’re looking for a test kit for a mutt, you want to pick one that has a larger database. This will ensure that you’re picking a test kit that is capable of handling more complex DNA samples. Other things that matter include the kind of technology that a company has on hand. The quality of a provided DNA sample matters too.
We’ve picked a couple of dog DNA tests that are known for tackling mix breed DNA samples quite well.
The first kit that we’ve picked is the Embark Dog DNA Test Kit. It has a sample size of more than 250 dog breeds and is pretty much the top tier DNA test kit in the market. This test kit offers incredibly detailed and accurate results. The only problem with it is its price. You can read our full review here.
The Wisdom Panel Health Canine Breed + Disease Detection kit is our second pick. While Wisdom Panel's database is slightly smaller than Embark’s (around 200 breeds), it still has a relatively huge database. Also, Wisdom Panel's selling point is its precision with health condition related results. You can check out our full Wisdom Panel review here.
The market for dog DNA tests has been undergoing rapid development for the past few years. There is a steady rise in the number of people who want to get their dog’s DNA tested. Dog DNA kits offer an easy and safe way of getting your dog tested. We’re bound to see improvement in their performance in the years to come.
For the moment, if you want to get a mutt tested and expect accurate results, you don’t have a lot of options. However, the options that are available are quite reliable. Their prices seem steep, but the quality of information that they provide is worth it.