How to Read Your Dog’s DNA Test Results

In addition to being a fun way to learn about your pet’s family tree, a dog DNA test helps you prepare for possible future health issues and understand why your dog behaves the way he does. Dog DNA test accuracy can vary anywhere from 90% to 99%, which makes understanding how to interpret the test results even more important.

How to read dog DNA test results

Step 1:  Familiarize yourself with the test results format

Understanding the structure of the report helps you navigate the results with ease.

DNA results arrive by mail or email and are typically formatted into three separate sections, which include:

  • the dog’s breed composition
  • health risks or genetic mutations
  • information about your pup’s behavior traits or personality

Step 2:  Analyze your dog’s breed composition

One of the most exciting parts of having your dog’s DNA tested is discovering his unique breed makeup. You will see a list of dog breeds, along with a percentage of your dog’s DNA that came from each breed. If your pup is a purebred, this section will usually confirm his lineage. If he is a mixed breed, this contains valuable information about your pup’s ancestry and may finally answer the question, “What kind of dog is he?”

Step 3:  Asses your dog’s health risk

Depending on the DNA kit you purchased, it may test for more than 200 genetic health risks, diseases or conditions your dog could be at risk for based on his genetic makeup. But, just because the results say your pup is at higher risk for a certain disease doesn’t mean he will develop it.  Still, it’s worth a discussion with your veterinarian about the results and how they might be able to help you prevent or manage these health risks.

Step 4: Dig into your dog’s behavior traits

This section is more subjective as every dog has his own unique personality. It can provide insight into your dog’s quirks and tendencies like why your dog herds the cats or always wants to chase the neighborhood squirrels. Understanding these traits helps you tailor a training approach that will work best for your dog?

How accurate are dog DNA tests?

No test is perfect, but dog DNA test accuracy varies by brand and can range from 90% to 99%. Also, factors like sample quality, testing methodology and interpretation can all impact the accuracy of the results.

If you have specific questions after receiving your dog’s DNA test results, first check the company’s website for its FAQ section. It will answer a variety of questions pertinent to that company’s testing. If your questions are not answered via the FAQ sheet, email your question to the company through a customer service form or email that the company will give you exactly for that purpose.

For more information on the benefits of DNA tests for your dog and a side-by-side brand comparison, read our full review.

DNA testing is a fun and exciting way to learn more about your canine furry friend and his unique genetic makeup. Who knows, you might discover that your pup has some surprising ancestry, or he is at risk for a health condition you never knew existed. Why not give it a try and unlock the secrets of your pup’s DNA?

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