Breed Tests

“a majority of dogs in the U.S. are of mixed-breed ancestry that cannot be reliably identified even by professionals”
— The Relevance of Breed in Selecting a Companion Dog By Janis Bradley

“a recent genetic study comparing dogs form eighty breeds, feral dogs, and wolves has shown that a large number of morphological traits in dogs, from length of limbs to skull shape to weight to ear set and coat type, are determined by a very small number of “large effect” genes.(5)   This means that even a small proportion of a particular breed in a dog’s ancestry may result in a strong resemblance to that breed. So we cannot attribute “predominant breed” identification to any dog based on appearance, no matter how striking the resemblance.” The Relevance of Breed in Selecting a Companion Dog By Janis Bradley

In 2016 I ran two breed tests on my dog Abby. The Wisdom Panel 2.0 and the Embark DNA & Health Test. for Your Dog?

Embark Dog DNA Test · Breed Identification · Health Results · including wolf, coyote, & village dog ancestry

How does the testing process work? A cheek swab and instructions will be mailed to you. By swabbing your dog’s cheek, you can easily take a sample in under a minute at home, no blood required. Then mail the sample in a provided pre-paid return envelope and your results will be available in a few weeks.

We test for over 175 breeds - and even wolf, coyote, and village dog ancestry - together these breeds cover over 98% of dogs in America. This is the only test that can test for village dogs, and we can distinguish where village dogs come from! For more information see the full list of breeds that we test for. You can learn more about our breed and ancestry test on the Breed & Ancestry page.

Embark Consumer Kit
Embark Consumer Kit - $199.00

Embark’s dog DNA test is the most accurate available. Our top canine DNA scientists use over 200,000 genetic markers to discover your pup’s family tree and run over 175 genetic health and trait tests on your dog, alerting you to potential issues before they strike.

Embark Breed Identification Kit - (lower price without the genetic health & trait reports) Health and trait reports can be purchased later for $99.

Regular price $129

Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 3.0 Breed Identification DNA Test Kit

  • Features the largest breed database of any DNA test in the world with more than 250 breeds, types and varieties covered.

  • Pre-paid shipping to the lab and results are ready in only 2-3 weeks after the sample arrives.

  • With a simple cheek swab, you can uncover DNA-based insights that may help you understand your dog's unique appearance, behaviors and wellness needs.

The original canine ancestor the wolf had the potential for enormous variety and the variations within the canine family came about through natural selection and mutations. These changes were not the result of an increase in genetic information, but rather by the isolation and concentration of genes since natural selection and mutations result in a decrease in information. Humans have used artificial selection to develop every domestic breed we recognize today.[1]  

Inbreeding was used to create breeds with desired characteristics and this reduces the genetic variation with the breed.  With the vast variety of sizes, types and breeds, all dogs are still dogs. But it would be a mistake to think that dogs are alike and that they just come in several varieties of sizes, shapes, and colors. A dog’s breed or breed type influences the dog’s appearance, but more importantly their temperament and behavior. The breed or genetic makeup of the dog contributes to the specific behaviors for the varying purposes the dog was developed. Some were developed to assist humans on a hunt, and others to hunt and kill small animals independently. Still others were developed to protect people and property, and some for nothing more than as a companion dog. The dog may be a high energy dog that was developed to herd, or a guarding breed to protect a herd. These instincts are inherited and have a strong genetic basis. Some breeds have a highly developed chasing instinct, while others are naturally guarding or possessive by nature. Unchangeable characteristics are size, energy level, arousal level, exercise requirements, and grooming needs.  All dogs are individuals and they can vary significantly in personality and behavior even in the same breed and litter. Some have strong willful, assertive, and confident personalities and others are can be referred to as laid-back or soft personalities.  Dogs like children are all different.

[1] Dogs The Ultimate Dictionary Of Over 1,000 Dog Breeds    Desmond Morris

What kind or dog is that? Accuracy of dog breed assessment by canine stakeholders

“These results indicate that, regardless of profession, visual identification of the breeds of dogs with unknown heritage is poor.”

(5) A Simple Genetic Architecture Underlies Morphological Variation in Dogs