When it comes to dog DNA tests, there are really only two major contenders: Embark and Wisdom Panel.
Today we’re exploring these two doggy DNA test kits and comparing Embark vs. Wisdom Panel to highlight each kit’s pros and cons.
We’ll begin with our quick feature comparison and then go more in-depth exploring how these two companies compare.
Embark vs Wisdom Panel: Where They Differ
In the past, we’ve always recommended Embark as the hands-down winner when comparing dog DNA tests. But in recent years, Wisdom Panel has really stepped up their game.
There are only a few major differences between these two kits:
1. Embark Has (Slightly) More Genetic Health Tests
Wisdom Panel Premium definitely gives Embark a run for its money — the only distinguishing difference between these two dog DNA test kits is that Embark does an additional five genetic health screens. But, when comparing 210 health screenings vs 215, it certainly doesn’t seem like a difference to be very concerned about.
2. Wisdom Panel Has a Larger Relative-Finder Database
Since Mars Veterinary (the company behind the Wisdom Panel products) has been in the animal DNA business since the 90s, their collection of DNA is larger than Embark’s (who launched their first dog DNA test kit in 2015). This means they have a wealth of user-submitted DNA at their disposal. In fact, Wisdom Panel boasts that 99.9% of the dogs tested match with a relative. That being said, it seems most people have no problem finding a relative with Embark as well.
3. Wisdom Panel Has an In-Between Option
One unique feature Wisdom Panel has is their Wisdom Panel Essential product. Wisdom Panel offers three different products (Premium, Essential, and Breed Discovery), with the Wisdom Panel Essential DNA test kit landing somewhere between the Wisdom Panel Premium and Wisdom Panel Breed Discovery.
While Breed Discovery only provides breed insights, the Essential kit provides mostly breed insights, along with a handful of genetic tests (specifically, 25 genetic health tests, vs the Wisdom Panel Premium’s 210 health tests).
Wisdom Panel Essential offers a nice middle-of-the-line option for owners who don’t care a ton about running their dog against the full panel of 200+ health insights, but would still like to have their pup screened against some of the most important genetic health tests.
Embark only has two options — the premium Embark Breed + Health Kit (breed evaluation and genetic health testing) or the Embark Breed Identification Kit (breed only, no health insights).
4. Embark Continues to Innovate
The other major difference between these two companies is that we do tend to see Embark continually release more product updates and features than Wisdom Panel. In recent years, Embark has added a:
- Age Test
- Gut Health Test
- Oral Health Test
The downside is that these additional tests aren’t exactly cheap and they do require you to purchase an entirely different test kit. So, while Embark continues to innovate, it’s not for free!
Dog DNA Test Kit Comparison: Which DNA Test to Choose?
Both Embark and Wisdom Panel tests are modern dog DNA tests with trusted lab testing from reputable brands. The major difference lies in the amount of data delivered and price point.
#1 Pick | Embark Breed + Health: The Full Featured Option With All The Extras
Embark is clearly top dog when it comes to quality and sophistication.
Embark is an extremely impressive, high-quality dog DNA test, providing deep data on your dog. Despite its higher price tag, between the hundreds of genetic tests, unique exploration of village dog ancestry, custom designed vet reports, and free lifetime updates, we firmly believe that Embark is worth every penny.
If your wallet can stomach it, we definitely recommend purchasing Embark!
#2 Pick | Wisdom Panel Premium: A Fantastic Alternative
While Embark takes our number one pick, Wisdom Panel definitely a very close second.
It offers nearly the same feature set as Embark (minus a few genetic health tests, and with a slightly less impressive UI) and is usually priced a bit lower.
Wisdom Panel Premium
Mars Veterinary's premium dog DNA test kit, featuring an in-depth breed analysis that screens for over 350 breeds, along with health insights that test your dog for a variety of genetic health conditions.
Explore your dog's physical traits, test for medication sensitivities, and even meet your dog's canine relatives within the vast Mars Veterinary database.
#3 Pick | Wisdom Panel Essential: All the Must-Haves At An Affordable Price
Wisdom Panel Essential is our top choice when it comes to value — while you won’t get hundreds of genetic health screenings, you’ll get twenty-five really important ones, including two of the most common genetic mutations – MDR1 and EIC.
You’ll also get the exact same dog DNA breed analysis as Wisdom Panel Premium, and have access to the extensive Mars Veterinary breed database. All this, and at a pretty low cost (especially when a sale is running).
A more affordable kit, Wisdom Panel Essential offers an in-depth breed assessment as well as some basic genetic health screenings.
If you can afford Embark, we recommend going with them. You’ll get a bit more bang for your buck in terms of DNA data, and the free life updates mean you’ll get new tests and insights as Embark continues to grow their database and further their research into canine genetics.
However, if you’re on a budget, Wisdom Panel is still a respected and reliable choice. And you’ll have several test kit option, whether you want to go with Wisdom Panel Premium, Essential, or Breed Discovery.
What about you – have you used Wisdom Panel, Embark, or both? Which did you prefer? Share your experience in the comments!