How to tell what breed is my dog? 5 cool ways to identify ANY dog breed

Are you stuck staring at your dog and wondering, what breed is my dog? Keep doing the guesswork or get the RIGHT answer immediately. Read to find out How?
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Are you stuck staring at your dog and wondering, what breed is my dog?

Now you can do 2 things: Keep doing the guesswork or get the RIGHT answer immediately.

Keep reading to identify the breed (or breeds!) of your dog.


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So, you brought a ball of fluff home. WOW!!!

But right after you enter the home with your pup all wrapped in the cozy blanket, the first question your kiddos may ask is, what breed is this cutesy creature? 

And you are like – Oops! What breed is my dog?

Well, that’s something that will keep you itching as a dog owner until you find it out, especially if the shelter attendant and dog adoption form didn’t give you a clear-cut answer.

Or maybe you just rescued the dog yourself and are blank about the breed information.

Finding the answer to what breed my dog is was an arduous task in the past. Now things have changed. 

Thanks to the internet and AI!

But how do you do that????

Don’t worry! Today I am going to tell you how it is done.

I spent hours researching and have brought some tried and tested methods to identify your dog’s breed – with and without the internet.

Why Should You Know Your Dog’s Breed?

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First things first.

You might think a dog is a dog, no matter what his breed is.

Yeah, you got that right!

You should adore your dog regardless of its breed. Unconditionally!

If he’s happy and healthy – it’s enough. No second thoughts.

But wouldn’t you love to explore how he is blessed with sparkling eyes, silky fur, and a tiny nose? Doesn’t that excite you?

It truly does! Every dog owner would enjoy solving the riddle, for sure.

Apart from that, you should know your dog’s breed for many reasons.

It will give you a basic understanding of your breed’s conditions, its instinct, health concerns, overall behavior, and you name it.

The Advantages of Knowing Your Dog’s Breed

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By now, you are aware that solving the mystery of your dog’s breed is crucial. Right?

Let’s head to some of the benefits of figuring out your dog’s breed.

Believe me; it’s amazing to know why your dog does something in a particular way.

And exploring their DNA? What a joy!

Advantage 1: Getting Special Insight Into Your Dog’s Ancestry

Your dog’s DNA decides:

In other words: DNA is your pooch’s coding.

Interesting! Isn’t it?

If you succeed in uncovering your dog’s family tree, you’ll have a chance to look into your dog’s genetic makeup.

You’ll get to know why your dog is a drastic sniffer or maybe an awe-inspiring hunter.

Things like that will only make sense if you know the breed background well.

Or maybe you’d like to say thanks in your heart to your doggie’s ancestors for bringing such an amazing companion to the world, who knows?

Advantage 2: Background Knowledge Helps Taking The Cautions

When you track the background of your pooch, you gather plenty of information. Like the breed’s normal tendencies, when he’s normal, and when you need to be cautious. All that!

And say, if you find out your dog has a background of some kind of susceptibility to a disease, you can take preventative measures.

Let me paint this with a broader brush.

If your dog belongs to a collie-type breed, you can be careful while formulating heartworm prevention with your vet. This is so because he might be prone to risks from Heartworm medications. Such as Ivermectin – a common ingredient in Heartworm medications!

Is he a Flat-Coated Retriever? Holy crap!! You’d be all ears of the cancer risks.

Does he have a lingering back? You can avoid indulging him in activities that may increase the risk of a ruptured disc.

Last but not least…

Does he have floppy ears? Oh, that means you will often have to clean his ears (especially after swimming or bathing). 

Does it make sense?

Advantage 3: Stay Ahead of The Game by Knowing Generic Issues

Some common problems a dog owner might face are:

  • Chewing
  • Excessive Barking
  • Separation Anxiety

Knowing your dog’s breed gives you a better idea of his living style and needs. You get to know:

  • How will your dog fare in your lifestyle? 
  • Will he be yappy?
  • What will happen if you have to leave your dog alone for an extended period?
  • How well will he behave with other pets and kids?

See, you can take a flyer to plan your and your dog’s life together.

Advantage 4: It’s Fun!

Lastly, knowing what specific characters your fur friend is composed of is endless fun!

You can start your venture by speculating about your dog.

Then, perform any form – whatever way you prefer – for testing your predictions. Fingers crossed!

And finally, you’ll know what breed ACTUALLY your dog is. How delightful!

The Most Authentic Way to Figure Out Your Dog’s Breed: Embark DNA Test 

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What if I tell you a sure-fire way to fathom out the query tingling your nerves – what breed is my dog?

No, no! I am not going to tell you any dud formula. In fact, it’s a gold standard to spot your dog’s breed. A DNA test.

By performing the DNA test, we kill two birds with one stone.

According to Cornel Research:

“This data is useful not just to tell owners things about their dogs that we already know, but also to help build the database that researchers need to make new discoveries tomorrow.”

We considered three different DNA testing kits; DNA My Dog, Wisdom Panel, and Embark. And found Embark to be the best DNA testing so far. 

The best part?

It has only a three-step process.

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Step 1: Activate – Start by activating your kit by registering it with your profile on their website. You can do so with the code provided in the kit. Also, it helps you track progress.

Step 2: Swab – Collect your doggie’s saliva sample by swabbing your dog’s cheeks. For 30-60 seconds, minimal.

Step 3: Mail – Forward your sample for FREE and wait for the results. 

How did it win the battle?

Let’s dig deep into it.

Features of Embark DNA Test:

  • Embark uses a research-grade genotyping platform in collaboration with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Formulated by experts and has earned the trust of veterinary hospitals.
  •  It scrutinizes over 350 dog breeds, varieties, and types. 
  • Also, it performs an extensive health screening of about 200+ diseases.
  • Embark DNA test is the most high-rated DNA testing kit on the market.
  • Offers a shared DNA between your dog and others – those who got tested with Embark.
Reliable Dog DNA Test
Embark - Discover Your Dog's Ancestry With The Help Of Professionals!

The most accurate & highest-rated dog DNA kit on the market enables you to learn about your dog’s breed, ancestry, health, relatives, and more. The Embark DNA test looks at over 350 breeds and more than 210 genetic health risks using a DNA genotypic platform.

You’ll receive all the health and breeding information of your dog within the interval of 2 weeks after taking just three simple steps. Activate, Swab, and Send. 

  • Easy to use – Simply swab your dog’s cheek, send and wait for the results!
  • Accurate and professionally concluded results – Get information about your pup’s breed and genetic health risks to help predict and prevent potential health issues.
  • Embark is backed by world-class scientists and researchers.
  • Embark is the most accurate dog DNA kit on the market.
  • The database contains over 350 dog breeds and over 210 genetic health risks.
What Do We Think: ​​Embark is the best kit for those dog parents who want to determine their puppy's breed and know their genetic health profile. Also, for all those dog owners who want to confirm the breed right after adoption, this breed test kit is for them.
Learn more about your dog's health Our Review
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Advantages of Embark DNA Test: 

  • It comes up with the most authentic breed breakdown in the market.
  • You can get a diagnosis of the most common adult-onset diseases and genetic diseases in dogs. For instance, dilated Cardiomyopathy, Glaucoma, Degenerative Myelopathy, and MDR1 Drug Sensitivity.
  • You get to find your dog’s relatives.
  • No more worrying about the credibility of the test results, as most of the vet hospitals believe in Embark.
  • You get fast and trusted results. Normally, within 2-4 weeks.

Benefits of Embark DNA Test: 

  • You won’t stay in the shadows of doubt about your dog breed anymore. A win-win!
  • If you know the risks, you have a better chance to be prepared in advance and can nip the evil in the bud.
  • Increase your dog’s lifespan. Let him live a happier and healthier life.
  • You can find and connect with your dog’s kith and kin.
  • A cost-effective way to bring your dog’s breed to light!

Having said that…

There are a few downsides as well.

Some users found that Embark takes too long to uncover the outcomes. 

Another issue is: Supermutt results.

Yes, it takes a little more time than other DNA testing kits, but that delay is for some good reasons.

The result report you get is complete, detailed, and 2x more precise than other brands out there.

For those fretting about Supermutts – Embark doesn’t leave you in the middle of anywhere. It still provides you with sufficient information to trace all the breeds that transformed your furry into a Supermutt.

How Can You Determine Your Dog Breed With The Internet and Technology?

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In this section, I am going to disclose how you can indicate your dog breed without spending a single dime.

What you need are a good internet connection and a smartphone.

#1 What Dog AI Camera – Less-Accurate (But Free!) Way to Figure Out Your Dog’s Breed

Today AI cameras have made the most complex tasks a lot easier.

One such AI camera is Microsoft Bing.

With Microsoft’s visual research, you can identify your dog’s breed, learn about its temperament, find its relatives (close to its DNA), and much more.

Though it’s not an infallible way, it only cost $0 to give it a try.

#2 Apps

Apart from the AI camera, Microsoft also has apps for dog-breed identification.

What Dog Experiment is the latest app powered by machine learning. This app recognizes your dog’s breed. It also features a scrapbook for keeping a record of all your photos and results.

Just snap a photo of your dog or upload an already taken picture from your camera roll. And here you go!

You’ll get the results in a matter of seconds.

Another app that helps you find out your dog breed is Dog Scanner

Again, it just requires a dog picture. Take a picture, upload from the gallery, or record a video, whatever suits you, and get the results in two ticks.

You see, how helpful are these apps for clearing your uncertainty about ‘what breed is my dog’?

Next time whenever you are in doubt, give these apps a whirl.  

Remember: These apps are available on the App Store for iPhone. Only!

#3 Search Through Dog Breed Picture

Another way to stalk your dog’s breed is by browsing through their picture.

Certain websites allow you to learn about your dog’s breed. For example,

Just get to the website, find a dog picture that resembles your fur friend, and click to learn more.

There you’ll know about breed characteristics, history, living needs, and medical issues. 

In short: Everything you’d need to know about your dog’s breed. 

#4 Take Quizzes

Taking online quizzes is a fun and easy way to learn more about your dog. You participate in the quiz. Select the ideal answer – that closely matches your dog. Complete it, and see results.

#5 Take a Picture of Your Dog and Post It on Social Media/Pet Forums

Are you a part of some pet forums online? If yes, well and good. If not, find a dog forum that matches your interests and be a part.

You can also gather knowledge about your dog breed by posting a picture of your fido on social media or pet forums. Post the picture with the query, “Help me identify what breed is my dog?”

Hopefully, you’ll get the answer.

Social media and pet forums can help you in several ways.

You can network with like-minded people and find out the solution to day-to-day problems by helping each other.

How to Identify What Breed My Dog Is Without Internet, Technology, and DNA Testing?

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Though, AI, the internet, technology, and DNA Testing are the most accurate ways to tell apart what breed my dog is.


You can also distinguish the dog breed with visual testing. 

Carry out an eye test by:

  • Analyzing your dog’s physical traits
  • Examining your dog’s behavior 

#1 Analyze Your Dog’s Physical Traits

You can consider your doggo’s physical attributes to figure out the exact answer to your query. The physical traits include fur length, muzzle size, ear shape, and weight, etc.

#1.1 Coat Type & Length

Working dogs who spend most of their time in the elements tend to have double coats. Undercoat that keeps them warm during cold weather, and an overcoat.

Dogs that have a double coat are West-Highland White Terriers or German Shepherds.

Another dog coat type is a wiry coat. 

It comprises a thick undercoat and a rough overcoat. For example, the Terrier breed.

The Curly Poodle coat has a single layer, like the one you find on Greyhounds. This coat type is light and breezy.

#1.2 Coat Color 

When you are up for examining your dog’s physical characteristics, the most challenging part you’ll come across is its coat color.

You may find mono, bi, or tri-colored dogs.

Making a judgment based on a dog’s color is tricky.

You may also find spotting on their coats which creates a color variation. 

#1.3 Heads Shape & Style

We can classify dog’s head types into three categories:

  1. Dolichocephalic – long-nosed and long-headed breeds – Afghan Hounds and Collies.
  2. Brachycephalic – Flat-faced and short-muzzled – Shih Tzus, Pugs, Boxers, and French Bulldogs. 
  3. Mesocephalic – Somewhere in the middle of Brachycephalic and Dolichocephalic – Labrador retrievers, Dalmatians, or the German Shepherds. 

#1.4 Ear Types

While you examine your dog’s head, you can also take a look at your dog’s ears.

Some breeds like German Shepherd or West-Highland White Terrier have sharp pointy ears.

On the other hand, some dogs have floppy ears, Dachshunds, for instance. 

Whereas, Scent Hounds are known for their long ears.

#1.5 Tail Style

You should also pay attention to your doggie’s tail.

See, it’s curly, straight, long, or short?

Hunting and working dogs, like terriers or spaniels, often have their tails docked. Why so? It prevents them from injuries. 

# 1.6 Miscellaneous Characteristics

Different aspects you can keep an eye on are as follows:

  • Alertness: Mostly, sporting dogs are active and alert. Like,  Labradors, Spaniels, and Retrievers.
  • High Stamina: Dogs like the  Coonhounds, Beagles, and Basenjis have enduring strength and energy.
  • Intelligence and Trainability: Herding breeds including Belgian Malinois, Border Collie, and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi have a high IQ and are highly trainable.
  • Goofiness: Toy breeds are great personalities packed in small bodies. They are great clowns. Affenpinscher, Havanese, and Maltese, for instance.

#2 Your Dog’s Behavior Is Also a Good Identifier!

Besides your dog’s physical stature, your dog’s behavior is a great way to know about his breed. Besides, your dog’s general manners, the jobs they are meant to do also make up their behaviors.

Have a look at a few of them below.

#2.1 Water Dogs

Water dogs are an ancient type of canine. 

Their job was to retrieve the objects lost overboard and to convey messages between boats.

For example: The Portuguese Water Dog.

#2.2 Herding Dogs

These breeds came into existence to herd, gather, and safeguard livestock.

Herding dogs include Belgian Shepherds, German Shepherds, and Briard. 

#2.3 Pointing Dogs

Pointing dogs, also known as bird dogs, are special dogs used in finding games. They have further three categories;  Retrievers, Flushing dogs, and Pointing breeds.

#3 Get a Dog Professional’s Opinion

Professionals have exposure to many dog breeds daily.

And who can develop an assessing eye better than a dog professional? Literally, no one.

Therefore, it’s a great option to talk to an expert. He/she is more likely to tell you the truth depending upon various factors.

#4 Contact Your Local Kennel Club

Unable to find an expert?

You’ll definitely find one at your local kennel club. Head towards the club along with your doggie. Have a meeting with seasoned professionals. By the time the meeting is over, I am sure you’ll no longer have any doubts.


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Is DNA Testing Necessary?

There’s no denying the fact that DNA testing plays a vital role in determining health conditions and your dog’s genetics, but it’s not mandatory.

If you have a strong appeal to knowing more about your dog’s breed, go for it. It helps to stay on a safer side.

Feel this will indulge your fido in unnecessary testing? No need.

However, you must seek professional help every time the need arises that’s necessary.

Dog Breed DNA Test: Is It Worth It?

According to experts, DNA tests are an excellent way to plan any food or lifestyle changes. They are also helpful to know about any health hazard a particular breed may be disposed too.  
So, yes, they are worth it.

How Much Does It Cost to Find Out The Breed of Your Dog?

The cost to determine the breed of your dog ranges between $60 to $200.
If you are curious to know what breed my dog is, spare yourself some good bucks.

What if You Never Find Out Your Dog’s Breed

No issue! If you never find out your dog’s breed, you can just focus on providing him a healthy life. If he’s happy and healthy, what else do you need?

What’s The Difference Between Purebred and Crossbred Dogs?

A purebred dog is a dog bred up to purebred status. They are achieved through selective breeding.

A crossbred dog is a descendant of two purebreds of different breeds.

How Much Does It Cost to Find Out The Breed of Your Dog?

Finding out your dog’s DNA makeup costs $60 and up. Normally, up to $200.

Read also:

Conclusion: The Best Way to Figure Out Your Dog’s Breed? 

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Let’s close this blog post with the best way to determine your dog’s breed.

And that is: DNA Test Embark!

For what reasons? If that’s still a question, here are some.

  • It’s a cheek swab-type test. Non-invasive and painless!
  • Affordable
  • Capable of distinguishing between 350 dog breeds

If you have made it this far, I hope you have enjoyed reading the blog post.

Are you on the fence about finding out the best way to track your doggie’s parentage? Hands down!

You can give Embark a shot.

Buy it online here and let it spill the beans for you.

Happy exploring!

Paws up for sharing this dog-related article!
Housam Ayouni
Housam Ayouni

I am a professional in the field of canine behavior and care with many years of experience. Through my dog blog, which has reached over one million dog owners, I offer practical tips and guidance to support dog owners in creating strong, positive relationships with their pets and promoting the well-being and happiness of all dogs. My goal is to help dog owners create a harmonious and fulfilling life with their furry companions.

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