What Breed is My Dog? How to Identify Your Dog’s Breed?

identify your dog's breed

How to Identify Your Dog’s Breed? Has your dog ever been mistaken for another breed?

There are many questions that you might be asking yourself like “What breed is my puppy?” “What kind of dog do I have?” and so on.

There are many dog breeds that have similar characteristics and most are mistaken for each other. A good example is the Icelandic sheepdog that is often mistaken for the Japanese Shiba Inu.

Actually, giving it a deeper thought, with the ever evolving designer dogs and crossbreeding, the number of unknown breeds is rapidly on the rise. You might be having a dog that you really are not sure what breed it is.

In this article therefore, I want to enlighten you on how to identify your dog’s breed and the different ways of accurately doing so. Read on!

Identifying your dog’s breed by physical characteristics

One of the ways that you can find out your dog’s breed is by his physical appearance.

However, this method may not be the most accurate. The best thing about it is that it’s free. You can actually just take your dog to the Vet and being a dog expert, he might be able to tell you what kind of breed is your puppy.

common dog health issues

Here’s What you Need to Do

1. Make a list of your dog’s distinguishing features:

This might be pointy ears, floppy ears, large head, long back, etc.

It will go a long way to help you narrow down to the particular breed your furry friend might belong to.

2. Measure your dog’s height and weight:

Small dog breeds mostly weigh between 5 to 10 pounds. They include breeds like the Chihuahuas, Shi Tzus. If your dog weighs 50 pounds and over, then you don’t have a small dog breed.

Middle range dogs weigh between 10 to 50 pounds. This might be a terrier or spaniel.

Large dogs weigh roughly above 50 pounds and they include breeds like the Mastiff, Saint Bernard and other giant dogs.

[thrive_leads id=’7777′]

3. Analyse your dog’s build:

Does your dog have a small frame or is muscular? For instance if your furry friend has slender legs, he might be a herding dog so you can dig in to the history of shepherding breeds.

Other physical characteristics like your puppy’s snout, skull and even tail can help you in identifying your dog’s breed.

[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=””]ALSO READ: 13 Common Dog Training Mistakes Everyone Makes [/thrive_text_block]

4. Take note of your dog’s fur-coat:

Does your dog have a thick fur-coat? Is it soft or coarsely textured?

There are some breeds like the Dachshund that have long backs, very short legs and at least three different types of fur-coats. It can be long, short or a bit wiry depending on the breed.

potty training a dachshund puppy

Rottweilers for example tend to have short black and mahogany fur that has some markings on the head and chest.

Most terriers have wiry coats and short stocky bodies like the Russell.

Poodles on the other hand have curly coats. They appear in different sizes and colors.

poodle dog origin

5. Assess your furry friend’s colors:

Does he have a pattern on his fur coat?

There are some breeds that come with specific patterned color coats. This might help you to narrow down on the possibilities and even help you identify your dog’s breed even faster.

Some breeds like the Australian Shepherd comes in merle pattern with a touch of black or red colors.

australian shepherd history

After you have assessed all the above, you can now use your results to make the best guess.

However, you need to remember that it doesn’t matter how much detailed your description is, the fact is you might not be able to make a completely accurate guess.

You might need other ways to help you in figuring out your dog’s breed.

Consider the behavioral traits of your dog

Each breed has its own traits that can’t be overlooked.

Each breed may behave differently when in different situations. This might definitely be a broad classification due to the great variety in behavior within the same dog breed but it can nevertheless help you in figuring out your dog’s breed.

how to introduce older dog to puppy

Consider getting a DNA test for your dog

Over the recent years, selective breeding has become extremely popular. This has led to the emergence of different dog breeds that it might be possible to have mixed dog breeds that you don’t know the ancestral origin.

However, all hope is not lost, you can also be able to find out your dog’s breed through a simple Dog DNA test.

Look for a reputable company that has a large database to enable you get the most accurate results.

? The most important reason as to why you need to know your dog’s breed is to help you know how to prevent some of the hereditary diseases that are common in particular breeds.

How does the Dog DNA test work?

It is very simple to use a dog test kit. All you need to do is take a sample to the lab for testing and evaluation if you are doing it through a reputable company. The findings will be delivered to you through mail.

The overall accuracy of the kit will be dependent on the database of the company and the sample that you provide to be tested.

3 Things you need to consider before testing

1. Look for a reputable company:

You need to be aware that the accuracy of the DNA test will be largely dependent on the company or laboratory you opt for.

One of the best ways through which you can settle for a good reputable company is by asking for referrals from friends or families who have done it before. You can also check for online reviews of various companies and make your analysis before engaging them.

You need to settle for a good laboratory that has excellent customer service and qualified to conduct the DNA test.

2. Consider the costs:

Most times, the cost of the DNA would vary depending on its nature and where it is done.

You can consider a few laboratories and compare their prices. This will help you to narrow down to the most preferred and cost-effective one for your budget.

3. Select your preferred test:

DNA testing is a process that can be very broad. It is also used for various reasons.

The tests may differ depending on whether you are looking to know your dog’s parentage, hereditary diseases etc. This you need to confirm beforehand so that you know what exactly and why you are doing the DNA test.

(Click Here To Check The Embark Dog DNA Test Kit)

After you have considered all the above, you can now follow the actual procedure.

Remember to follow the instructions on the product kit for you to get accurate results and also to avoid contamination of the samples. If the samples are contaminated it will lead to inaccurate results that will not be of much help.

Steps to Follow the Actual Procedure

1. Collect sample:

All product kits come with all the necessary equipment that is needed to collect the samples.

Take the swab and use it to gently rub it in your dog’s mouth and under his tongue. Do so for about 60 seconds for you to get a good sample. Return the swab back in the container and seal it.

2. Send the collected sample to the laboratory:

In most cases, companies provide their own sample collection bags or a special envelope to send the samples back to them.

After you have put the samples in the collection bag, mail it back to the company. The results may take a few weeks.

3. Make an order for a DNA profile:

Remember the main reason why you are probably doing the DNA test is to find out your dog’s breed.

Remember to also make an order for the laboratory to give you a DNA profile of your dog. This will help you to know your dog’s breed and also helps your vet to diagnose any medical conditions that could be hereditary to specific dog breeds.

4. Review the lab results:

Once you get back the results, review and analyse every detail. You can also take it to your vet and analyse it together.

Also make sure that all the tests that you asked to be performed have been done so. This is an accurate and sure way of identifying your dog’s breed.

german shepherd dog photo

[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=””]ALSO READ: Are Scented Candles Toxic For Dogs? [/thrive_text_block]

What are some of the best Dog DNA test kits?

1. Wisdom Panel:

Wisdom Panel 3.0 is a DNA test kit that you can use to help you know your furry friend’s ancestral origin.

When you purchase this kit, you are provided with 2 swabs to enable you collect skin cells from inner side of your dog’s cheek.

The other thing that I like about this testing kit is that you are also provided with and online activation tool. This helps you to register your kit and also give you instant access to the learning laboratory where you can find tonnes of information regarding your dog’s breed.

After you collect the sample, simply mail it back to the company and they will let you know once they have it.

how wisdom panel dog dna test kit works

In a single comprehensive report, after the testing has been done, you will be able to find out:

Your dog’s breed: The database has more than 250 different breeds, types and varieties of dogs so your dog’s breed can be identified.

Whether your dog is sensitive to certain drugs: This is discovered through the MDR1 drug-sensitivity screening. The correct weight profile for your dog for proper nutrition guidance.

Detailed breed information about your dog: The exact breed percentages and a three-generation family tree. You will be able to get your results back in as little as 2 weeks.

The beauty about it is that you can also work with your vet to plan your dog’s nutrition. This will help your dog grow healthier and stronger.

wisdom panel dog dna test full review

[thrive_link color=’red’ link=’https://amzn.to/2Dl8Cfb’ target=’_blank’ size=’medium’ align=’aligncenter’]Buy On Amazon[/thrive_link]

2. Embark Dog DNA Test Kit:

Embark test kit helps you to identify your dog’s breed and ancestry.

Offering high quality scientific tests that are paired with top-notch services to customers, you will be in safe hands if you decided to use this product to help you identify your dog’s breed.

This dog DNA testing kit uses over 200 thousand genetic markers that can help screen and identify over 250 dog breeds from all over the globe.

It can easily help you identify the genetic make-up of your canine friend. It also helps to reveal your dog’s family tree, helping you know both maternal and paternal lineage of your dog. It traces your puppy’s roots up to his great-grandparents.

how embark dog dna test kit works

Embark test kit has top DNA scientists that are able to conduct over 165 genetic health tests on your dog. This helps you to know any hereditary illnesses that are likely to affect your dog and prevent them beforehand.

? It is also only Embark that gives you a vet report that you can take to your vet in order to come up with a care plan for your dog while factoring in some dietary needs.

Did you know that your dog also has relatives? Yes, Embark helps to identify and locate some of your dog’s relatives. It is the world’s only dog relative finder. How amazing would it be to take your dog to visit his sister or cousin!

embark dog dna test kit full review

[thrive_link color=’red’ link=’https://amzn.to/2XmqWfs’ target=’_blank’ size=’medium’ align=’aligncenter’]Buy On Amazon[/thrive_link]


In a nutshell, figuring out your dog’s breed should not be a mystery anymore. It can be done in very simple steps.

Simply collect the sample to be tested, seal and mail it to the respective company. Both Wisdom Panel and Embark test kit are very reliable companies that you can trust to give you fast and accurate results.

In fact, Embark test kit advocates for the healthy aging of your dog. It helps to test for over 165 diseases. This will help you nurture a healthy dog for longer.

Your dog will also be free from hereditary diseases like glaucoma and dilated cardiomyopathy which are the most common adulthood genetic illnesses among most dog breeds.

Go ahead and get your dog tested and find out his breed. This helps you to even know how to handle your dog when it comes to obedience training.


Passionate lover of dogs and proud owner of a friendly, mischievous and energetic golden retriever named Beethoven! I’m incredibly excited to share my experiences on how best to care for your beloved pet. The more we know, the happier we and our canine friends will be!

Recent Posts

Get Your Free 5 Dog Training Videos

Enter your Email Below to access the free training...

Get Your 5 Free Dog Training Videos

Enter your Email Below to access the free training...

Enter Your Email Address Below To Instantly Download The Free Report