How To Find Out What Breed Your Dog Is? Everything You Need To Know

Choosing the right dog breed is an important decision that depends on various factors. Here are some considerations you should think about.

What Are The Materials Needed To Find Out The Breed Type?

If you’re looking to determine a dog’s breed, you would typically require the following materials or resources:

Physical Examination

You’ll need a good understanding of various breed characteristics. This includes knowledge of breed-specific traits such as size, coat type, ear shape, tail style, etc. A detailed guide or book about different dog breeds can be helpful.

Breed Knowledge

Books, reputable websites, or experts like veterinarians and dog breeders can provide valuable insights into distinguishing breed traits.

Dog DNA Test Kit

If you want a more accurate determination of a dog’s breed, especially for mixed-breed dogs, a canine DNA test kit is what you need. Companies like Embark, Wisdom Panel, or DNA My Dog provide these kits. They usually include cheek swabs for collecting DNA samples, instructions on how to do it, and packaging for sending the samples to the lab. Results are typically available online a few weeks after the lab receives the sample. Here are some of the more reputable dog DNA tests on the market:


  • Offers breed identification and health screening.
  • Screens for over 200 genetic health risks.
  • Uses a large reference database for breed identification.

Wisdom Panel

  • Provides breed detection and health screening options.
  • Screens for specific genetic mutations that can indicate susceptibility to certain health conditions.
  • Offers a “Wisdom Panel Essential” for breed detection and a more comprehensive “Wisdom Panel Premium” for both breed and health screenings.

DNA My Dog

  • Offers breed identification and health risk screening.
  • It’s generally more affordable but must be more detailed and accurate.

Orivet Dog DNA Test

  • Offers breed identification and screens for specific health risks and life plans.
  • Provides a personalized wellness plan based on the DNA results.

Paw Print Genetics

  • More focused on health testing but also offers breed identification.
  • Known for its comprehensive health screening tests.

What Should I Consider for a Dog DNA test?

Research the Database Size

A larger breed database typically results in more accurate breed identification.

Look at Reviews

See what other customers are saying about the accuracy and insights provided by the test.

Understand the Health Testing

If the test includes health screenings, understand what conditions are tested for and how the results can be used. Discussing DNA health findings with your veterinarian is always a good idea.

Check for Updates

Some companies continue to refine and expand their databases. They may update your dog’s results if new breeds are added, or their algorithms improve.

How To Find Out What Breed Your Dog Is?


Different breeds come in different sizes, from tiny teacups to large breeds. Consider your living situation, the size of your home, and how much space you have indoors and outdoors.

Energy Level

Some breeds are more energetic and require more exercise than others. Consider how much time you can dedicate to walking and playing with your dog.


Different breeds have different temperaments. Some are known for being friendly and outgoing, while others are more reserved. Consider your lifestyle and the type of personality that would best fit into your family.


Some breeds require more grooming and maintenance than others. Think about how much time and money you will spend on grooming.


Certain breeds are prone to specific health problems. Be aware of the common health issues of the breed you are considering.


Different breeds have different average lifespans. Smaller breeds often live longer than larger breeds.


Some breeds are more trainable than others. Consider how much time and effort you are willing to put into training.


Some dogs are bred for specific purposes, such as hunting, herding, or companionship. Consider why you want a dog and what role you’d like it to play.

Once you’ve considered all these factors, research different breeds. You can look up breed characteristics online, read books about different breeds, or talk to breeders or dog owners.

Visiting local shelters and meeting different dogs can also give you a better idea of what you’re looking for in a dog. Remember, while breed can give you a general idea of what to expect, every dog is an individual and can vary from the breed standard.

Lastly, don’t rule out mixed-breed dogs. Many wonderful dogs in shelters are looking for a home, and they can make just as wonderful pets as purebred dogs.

A Step-by-step Guide To Finding Out The Breed Of Your Dog

Determining a dog’s breed can be done through several methods, depending on how precise you want to be. Here are some ways you can find out:

Physical Characteristics

By observing your dog’s physical traits, such as size, coat color and type, ear shape, tail style, and facial structure, you can make an educated guess about its breed. Breed guides available online or in books can be used as a reference.

Behavior Traits

Certain breeds have specific behavioral traits. For example, herding dogs might try to herd animals or even people, Retrievers might be particularly drawn to games that involve fetching, and Terriers might show a high prey drive. Observing your dog’s behavior might give you some clues about its breed.

Veterinary Opinion

Your vet might be able to give you some insights based on their knowledge and experience with different breeds.

DNA Test

You can use a dog DNA test for a more precise determination. These tests can identify the breed composition of mixed-breed dogs with good accuracy. Companies like Embark, Wisdom Panel, or DNA My Dog offer these tests. The process involves taking a cheek swab from your dog and sending it back to the company for analysis. You’ll receive a report detailing your dog’s genetic background in a few weeks.

Professional Breed Identifier

Some professionals specialize in identifying dog breeds. They typically use a combination of physical and behavioral traits to determine the most likely breed or mix of breeds.

Remember that knowing your dog’s breed can give you some general information about its likely temperament and potential health issues, but it doesn’t definitively determine your dog’s character or health. Each dog is an individual, and its upbringing and experiences greatly influence its behavior.

How Long Does It Take To Find Out The Breed Type?

Determining a dog’s breed can take different amounts of time, depending on the method used.

If you’re trying to identify a puppy’s breed based on its physical characteristics, it could be challenging as many puppies have similar features. Physical characteristics associated with certain breeds may become more apparent as the dog matures. However, mixed breeds can have traits from multiple breeds, making it difficult to identify their lineage.

If you are adopting from a rescue organization or shelter or purchasing from a breeder, they should be able to provide breed information immediately. This is often based on their physical characteristics and behavior for rescue dogs, so that it may be less than 100% accurate, especially for mixed breeds.

Consider using a dog DNA test for a more precise determination. These tests usually provide results within 2 to 4 weeks after the lab receives the sample. These tests can identify the breed composition of mixed-breed dogs with good accuracy, as well as identify potential genetic health concerns.

If you’re getting a puppy from a reputable breeder, they should be able to provide a pedigree that shows the dog’s lineage, and breed information should be available immediately.

Remember, while knowing a dog’s breed can give you a general idea of its temperament, behavior, and potential health risks, it doesn’t guarantee how a dog will behave or what health issues it might face. Each dog is an individual with its personality and needs.

Tips To Find Out The Dog Breed

Here are some tips to help you determine the breed of your dog:

Observe Physical Characteristics

Start by observing your dog’s physical traits. Size, coat type and color, ear shape, muzzle length, and tail type can all explain their breed. For instance, some breeds have distinct colors or patterns (like the Dalmatian), some have characteristic tails (like the curled tail of a Pug or the fluffy tail of a Siberian Husky), and others have unique ear shapes (like the upright ears of a German Shepherd).

Observe Behavioral Traits

Behavioral traits can also suggest a breed or group of breeds. Herding dogs, for instance, might display herding behavior, while retrievers are likely to enjoy fetching games.

Refer to Breed Guides

Plenty of breed guides are available in books and online to help you match your dog’s characteristics to a particular breed. Remember, though, that if your dog is a mix, it may have traits from multiple breeds.

Consult a Vet or a Professional

Veterinarians and professionals in the dog industry can often provide insight into your dog’s potential breed, as they are experienced in recognizing breed-specific characteristics.

Use a DNA Test

Consider using a dog DNA test like Embark or Wisdom Panel for the most accurate results. These tests will provide a breakdown of the breeds that make up your dog’s genetic profile.

Remember that determining the breed can give you insights into possible behavioral tendencies and potential health issues, but each dog is unique. Their behavior, health, and personality can be influenced by factors beyond their breed, including their upbringing, training, socialization, and genetic variation.

What To Do If The Tips Do Not Work?

If the tips for identifying your dog’s breed do not work or you’re still uncertain, you might want to consider these options:

Seek a Second Opinion

If you’ve used a DNA test and find the results questionable, you could use a different company for a second test. Remember that no test is 100% accurate, and results can vary between companies.

Accept the Mystery

If all else fails, it’s okay not to know what breed your dog is. What’s most important is that you love and care for your dog, regardless of its breed. All dogs, regardless of their breed or mix, can make wonderful pets, and their personality traits are more significant than their breed when it comes to being a part of your family.

Pro Tips To Find Out What Breed Your Dog Is

Detailed Photography

  • Take clear, high-quality photos of your dog from multiple angles (front, side, top, etc.).
  • Capture unique characteristics such as markings, tail shape, ear set, and the length and texture of the coat.

Check for Physical Traits Specific to Breeds

Some traits are quite distinct, such as the blue-black tongue of the Chow Chow or the ridge of hair growing in the opposite direction on the back of a Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Keep Behavioral Traits in Mind

While behavior can be influenced by upbringing and environment, some traits are characteristic of certain breeds. For example, Border Collies often have a strong herding instinct, and Terriers might have a high prey drive.

Utilize the Most Reputable DNA Tests

Not all DNA tests are created equal. Research and choose a test that has a large database of recognized breeds.

Seek Out Dog Breed Enthusiasts and Shows

Attend local dog shows or breed-specific events. Enthusiasts and professional breeders often have a keen eye for identifying breeds and can give insights.

Consider Size and Weight

While exceptions exist, certain weights and sizes are typical for specific breeds.

Consider Consulting a Canine Geneticist or Ethologist

If you’re genuinely dedicated to discovering the breed, a professional specializing in dog genetics or behavior might offer insights beyond the typical scope.

Check the Teeth

The arrangement and size of a dog’s teeth can sometimes give clues about its breed, especially in purebreds.

Compare to Known Mixed Breeds

Some combinations, like Labradoodles (Labrador Retriever and Poodle) or Cockapoos (Cocker Spaniel and Poodle), are popular and have consistent looks.

Pedigree Research (if applicable)

If you know the dog’s origins or previous owners, you can trace back and find the pedigree and lineage information.

Get Multiple Opinions

Different experts and dog enthusiasts might have varying perspectives. Gathering multiple opinions can help you find common ground or consensus.

Use Advanced Tech Tools

Some newer apps use photo recognition and analyze dog movement videos to help identify breed characteristics

Advanced Technology and Tools

Advanced technology tools, especially those that employ artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, are becoming more prominent in assisting dog owners to identify their pets’ breeds. Here are some advanced tech tools and approaches you might consider:

Dog DNA Testing Kits

These tests have become more sophisticated, often updating and refining their databases to provide more accurate results. Popular brands like Embark and Wisdom Panel continually update their algorithms and reference populations for better accuracy.

Image Recognition Apps and Websites

Apps like Dog Scanner or Microsoft’s Fetch! Use image recognition technology to guess a dog’s breed from a photo. While fun and surprisingly accurate, they may not be as definitive as DNA tests.

Augmented Reality (AR) Tools

Some newer apps employ AR to capture a dog’s features in real-time and compare them to breed databases.

Online Communities & Databases

Websites like Dog Breed Info Center or The American Kennel Club (AKC) have comprehensive image and trait databases for different breeds. They might not automatically recognize your dog’s breed from an image, but they can serve as a valuable reference for comparison.

Video Analysis Tools

As technology evolves, tools may analyze not just static images but also the movement, gait, and behavior of dogs in videos to provide insights into potential breeds.

Machine Learning Platforms

Platforms like Google Cloud AutoML or IBM Watson allow tech-savvy users to train custom models using datasets. If there’s a large enough database of dog images labeled by breed, one could technically train a model to recognize breeds from photos.

Integrated Veterinarian Platforms

Some tech platforms aimed at veterinarians might integrate multiple data points, from physical traits to genetic markers, to assist in breed identification.

While these tools can provide valuable insights, it’s essential to approach them with a balanced perspective. Image recognition tools, in particular, are best guesses based on the data they’ve been trained on and might only sometimes be accurate, especially for mixed-breed dogs.

DNA tests and consultations with veterinarians remain the gold standard when it comes to a comprehensive understanding of your dog’s breed and potential health issues.

Remember, while these pro tips can help you make an educated guess or even accurately determine your dog’s breed, the bond and love you share with your dog are what truly matter. Enjoy the journey of discovery!


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