Dog DNA Test: Be The Best Pup Parent You Can Be!

Dog DNA Test: Be The Best Pup Parent You Can Be!

Written By Meredith Kavanagh

Jan 26, 2017

“I’m not really sure. We think he might be a Dachshund Cocker mix. That’s what most people guess, anyway. The vet thinks he might be part Rat Terrier — so really, we have no idea!" 

How many times have you had to explain your pup's mystery breed? Out of the estimated 70-80 million canine pets in the US, more than half of them are mixed breeds! If you have a mixed breed pup, chances are you’ve spent an alarming amount of time staring at your pup and wondering aloud, “What are you?!”

Thanks to modern dog DNA tests, you don’t have to guess and Google anymore. With a simple swab of your pup’s cheek, you can find out which breeds are most prevalent in their unique genetic makeup. 

Related: Brittany Spaniel Breed Page

We have several rescue pups of unknown heritage in our office, so we decided to make them earn their treats today. The Wisdom Panel by Mars Veterinary has the best customer reviews on Amazon (and tests for 250 breeds!), so we ordered three of them and anxiously awaited their arrival.

waiting for dog dna test

Why perform a dog DNA test?

Most at-home dog DNA test kits include a disclaimer explaining that the information you receive is for informational purposes only. While many pet parents perform a dog DNA test solely to satisfy their curiosity, learning about your pup’s heritage can do much more than that. Your pup’s background reveals a big piece of who they are.

By learning your dog’s breed, or breeds, you can:

1. Gain insight into their behavior

2. Find out what type of training best suits them

3. Set realistic expectations of their size, exercise, and health needs

4. Look out for breed-specific health issues

Knowing as much as you can about how to care for your pup is a huge part of being a responsible pet owner. All dogs are unique, but their heritage has a great impact on their personality and health. A family needs to know if their dog is good with kids and how much time they need to spend exercising per day.

Many shelters perform dog DNA testing to correctly identify a rescue’s breed so that potential owners can connect with the right dog. However, if you got your pup from a friend, or your dog simply turned up on your doorstep one day, you need to perform a dog DNA test for yourself. Luckily, it couldn’t be easier!

wisdom dog dna test pose

How do I use a dog DNA test kit?

There may be some variation among test kit brands, but for the most part, it’s the same, easy process.

  1. Wait two hours after your dog has had anything to eat or drink
  2. Gather a DNA sample from their cheek by rolling the provided swabs between their cheek and gums for 15 seconds
  3. Repeat the process with the second swab
  4. Let the swabs air dry
  5. Log on to activate your test using a provided sample ID number
  6. Write the provided activation code on the swab label
  7. Place dry swabs in the protective sleeve
  8. Place the sleeve into the box they came in, seal the carton, and drop it in the mail!

Within two to four weeks, you will receive a breed report in the mail! For Wisdom Panel DNA kits, you receive ancestry information, breed descriptions of all detected breeds, predicted health information, and more.

Which dog DNA test is most accurate?

Like most products, money often buys you the most accurate results for your dog DNA test. The more expensive the kit, the more breeds it tests. Your results will be more accurate when they are screened against a large breed database.

On an individual basis, results will be more accurate if your pooch has a purebred parent or grandparent.

small dogs with dog DNA test

Thanks to our office pups Duke, Waffle, and Klaus, who were such troopers about posing for our photoshoot and allowing us to swab their cheeks like we were conducting the season finale of Maury

Update: The results are in! Remember earlier, when we said it “couldn’t be easier?” Well, that was our opinion, but the pups may tell you something different ...

Duke’s DNA Test Results

dog DNA test

"Hi! What's this? A very small chew toy?"


dog DNA test being given

"IN MY MOUTH? You'll have to catch me first!"


dog DNA test worried face

"OK, let's forget about this whole thing and go get a treat, whaddya say?"

In the end, Duke’s mom came over (she was taking the photos), and we were able to get a solid sample for both swabs.

And the results are in!

In the case of Duke the proposed Dachshund-Cocker Spaniel mix, he is NOT a Dachshund! According to his Wisdom Panel dog DNA test, Duke is a Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Schnauzer mix.

wisom panel DNA results

Waffle's DNA Test Results

chihuahua papillon mix

"I know that isn't a cheese stick. Not gonna happen, Mom!"


dog taking DNA test

"I don't have anywhere to be. I can do this all. day. long."


dog DNA test

"Well, why didn't you say I'd get some cheese afterward?!"

In the case of Waffle, the proposed Chihuahua-Papillon mix, Waffle IS a Chihuahua and Papillon mix! But what Waffle’s mom didn’t know is that she also has Chinese Crested in her roots.

dog DNA test results

Klaus's DNA Results

Klaus (pictured below) wasn’t having a good fur day when we shot the photos, so we’ll share this adorable picture of him instead. 

cocker spaniel mix

Klaus was only rescued from the pound last year. He led a bit of a rough life and spent years on the streets of Tijuana and crammed into cages. Since he had no veterinary history, not only did his new Fur Mama not know his breed, but she didn’t even know how old Klaus was! The vet estimated that Klaus is anywhere from 7 to 10 years old, and that was pretty much all we knew. There was a lot to learn about this particular pup!

Klaus’s proud parents thought he was a Cocker Spaniel mixed with a Labrador since he was a bit bigger than the average Cocker. His dog DNA test report came back and said that he is in fact a Cocker Spaniel, and possibly a purebred!

According to Mars Veterinary, his DNA profile wasn’t a perfect match to that of a purebred Cocker Spaniel, but very close! His history consists of Cocker Spaniel and English Cocker Spaniel.

dog DNA tests


What dog breed do you think your dog is? Check out the DogPack breed pages to do some research before taking a guess!