Disclosure: I am not a veterinarian and I don’t play one on TV. Please don’t take my word for anything dog health related. Always take your dog to a licensed veterinarian. I hope you enjoy this post on Wisdom Dog DNA tests versus Embark Dog DNA tests.
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This post will give you a quick glance of the pros and cons from the two top-players in dog dna testing: Wisdom Dog DNA tests vs Embark Dog DNA tests. I personally don’t have any bias toward either of them. Please keep reading because after this two-brand comparison, I talk about asking your veterinarian to do a DNA test on your dog, or helping researchers improve canine health care by going through them instead. Lots of great options!
Wisdom Dog DNA Tests – for the newer Wisdom Panel Mixed Breed DNA Tests
- Ensure that your designer dog is a pure 50/50 blend of two purebred parents.
- This newer version of Wisdom Dog DNA tests offers an improved algorithm that offers much more data than previous versions.
- Good to determine the lineage of a mixed breed dog back to the dog’s great grandparents.
- Identify purebred dogs and their level of genetic diversity.
- Easy to Use (cheek swab)
- Good for identifying the genetic values of rescue dogs.
- Offers peace of mind in knowing the genetic makeup of your dog.
- Offers MDR1 Genetic Mutation Tests which examines what drugs your dog might have an adverse reaction to.
- Relatively fast turn-around time to get your Wisdom Dog DNA test back.
- Covers a database of over 250 breeds including 99% of those recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
- Base the behavioral training plan you plan to use based on your dog’s specific mixed-breed type.
- Find out what particular strengths your dog has and cater your expectations.
- Customized a specific diet plan based on your dog’s mixed breed genetics.
I did a dog dna test for CJ (because I am an extra dog mom), and it was fascinating! pic.twitter.com/o0u289nJfL
— Jillian Fledderman (@JKFledderman) July 31, 2018
- If you already have a preconceived idea of what breeds are in your dog, you might have a hard-time believing Wisdom Dog DNA tests that challenge your own perception.
- More expensive than some of the other dog dna test kits.
Overall, the reviews for the Wisdom Dog DNA Test were excellent. In fact, it was hard to find any real “cons” to the product other than the price. In my opinion, if the kit offers everything it says it does, the $183.20 price tag (2018 on Amazon.com) is worth the cost. In addition (and I’ve stated it below), I believe that users will interpret results differently, based on their own expectations.
Embark Dog DNA Test Kit
I’ve read all of the reviews and identified the most important PROS and CONS so that you can determine which testing kit might be the right choice for you. It’s not always a matter of price. Some companies have access to better technology than others and have a better sense of customer service. I’m not saying Embark Dog DNA Test kits fall under this category compared to other brands. It’s just a point worth thinking about.
- The company claims to be more accurate than other dog dna testing kits.
- This company has partnered with Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine (a respected university in dog health care research)
- This kit has been certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
- Used by professional dog breeders
- The company claims the results are trusted by veterinarian hospitals.
- They test for over 160 genetic diseases, including the MDR1 marker (which detects drug sensitivies).
- The kit tests for things like degenerative myelopathy (DM), dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), PRA blindness, and exercise-induced collapse (EIC).
- Some users feel the Embark dog DNA test kits are inaccurate.
- Embark Dog DNA test kit asks users to send in a picture of the dog, which many users seem to think is indicative of a “guess” when it comes to breed determination.
- At the time of this writing (August, 2018), Amazon showed 500 reviews. Only 21 results were negative, but of the negative comments, the most common one was inaccuracy and long-wait.
- Some users reported waiting “months” to get results back from the Embark dog DNA test.
Overall, the reviews for the Embark dog dna test were positive. In my opinion, it seems as if the users with very specific expectations were disappointed the most in the results. I don’t know a lot about dog breed genetics, but I suspect it’s possible to have a mixed breed that doesn’t quite fit the bill in terms of what he or she is supposed to look like.
I’m not biased toward the Wisdom dog dna kit compared to the Embark dog dna kit; however, I get the sense that it’s all about what your expectations are. In my opinion, these tests are only as good as the data they already have. It’s no different than the human dna testing (Ancestry, for example). Over time, the more data they accumulate, and the more technology the companies have access to, the test results should (presumably) get better.
Veterinarian Dog DNA Testing
Did you know that you can ask your veterinarian for a dog dna test? The veterinarian takes the swab and sends it to their lab for analysis. It’s not free by any means, however. The veterinarian will charge whatever it costs the lab to complete the test, and will probably add a percentage on that for his/her own work. I’m sure that pricing varies considerably depending on the veterinarian and the location (rural vs urban, for example). From what I’ve read, it appears that having your veterinarian submit the testing for you isn’t a whole lot cheaper than buying a kit.
I’m not sure what type of technology the lab has compared to the technology used by the top selling DNA companies.
Using Dog DNA to Help Researchers
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, in partnership with the University of Missouri, are now accepting samples for dog genetic testing. The reason for this is to better understand common health problems in certain breeds. The better scientists understand how genetic diseases and genetic mutations affect various dog breeds, the better they will be able to create excellent treatment plans. Conceivably, they could better predict certain diseases and their outcomes.
Having a university-based dna test done on your dog provides them with useful information for further research. Scientists will be able to better understand genetic mutations in specific breeds.
The cons of going through a university-based partnership for dog dna testing is that they are limited (currently) on which diseases they can check for. I’m sure that the kits like the Embark dog dna and Wisdom dog dna tests are also limited in some genetic mutations and genetic diseases. Overall, that’s likely true for any dna testing at this point. It’s all about the technology used and the amount of data markers to test against.
Some of the Genetic Diseases Tested by University Based Partnerships Include:
- Dentition Database
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
- Kidney Database
- Patellar Luxation
- Sebaceous Adenitis
- Serum Bile
- Shoulder Osteochondrosis
- Spine (Anecdotal database for Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers)
My own feeling is that I would rather contribute to science (ulimately) and – as a result – I would ask my veterinarian for advice before committing to any particular brand of testing. Again, that’s just my opinion and not a comment on the accuracy of the testing above. In fact, it’s probably simpler to just order a kit and have the dog dna testing completed, if that’s your goal. You will, however, get much broader results than if you went through a university or foundational research team.
At the end of the day, it’s really up to you. Remember that these companies can only analyze the data available to them. There’s always a margin of error no matter how much money you pay.
Whether you choose Embark dog DNA tests or Wisdom dog DNA tests (or any of the others currently on the market!), it’s important to understand that these tests are really for entertainment purposes. They should not be used to make life-or-death decisions for your dog, based on the interpretation of results.
Thank you so much for reading this post! A lot of my readers have been emailing me lately with updates on their dog’s health, and I am thrilled to hear from them. I hope I hear from you as well. Feel free to leave a comment below, or hey…just email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I don’t have a team of employees so you will definitely hear back from me personally.
Come back to this site often because I’m always posting new stuff on dog health care. It’s really interesting to me, and I hope it is for you too.