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  • Molly Weinfurter

What is a Supermutt on Dog DNA Tests?

Updated: Jun 9

When it comes to choosing a dog to adopt, it’s unlikely that you’ll know the exact breed of the dog. Shelters and rescues cannot guarantee the breed of the adoptable dogs unless the previous owner did a DNA test. Rescue dogs are often a unique mix of breeds, so many dog parents love to guess their dog’s breed and get a DNA test done to see the results. However, many DNA tests show up with a term called “supermutt.” So, what is a supermutt?


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senior supermutt with bowtie

Understanding Dog DNA Test Results

The most popular dog DNA tests are Embark and Wisdom Panel, but Embark seems to be the most accurate. For a DNA test, you need to send in a cheek swab from your dog and wait to receive the results based on that DNA sample.


The dog DNA test will use your dog’s sample by matching segments of DNA with the DNA of breeds in its database. In some cases, this DNA is used to match your dog with relatives of theirs that have also taken the test.


Dog DNA tests show a list of breeds in your dog’s DNA, listed from the biggest percentage to the smallest. Some dogs end up having 100% of one dog breed while others have dozens of small percentages of breeds in their DNA. 


In some cases, one of those breeds will say “supermutt” instead of the name of a breed, which is confusing to many dog parents.


supermutt curled up on bed

What is a Supermutt?

If supermutt is listed in your dog’s DNA, it means that their ancestry includes very small amounts of various breed DNA, according to Embark. However, the amount of DNA for those breeds is so small that it can’t accurately be linked to specific breeds. Supermutt can appear as both small percentages and large percentages in a dog’s DNA.


Dogs with supermutt in their results are likely descended from several generations of mixed breed dogs. Every time mixed breed dogs are bred together, the smaller the fragments of DNA from specific breeds get. That’s why the DNA sometimes can’t be categorized as a specific breed.


Is Supermutt the Same as Unresolved?

Supermutt is the term used for Embark DNA tests, but other tests may say unresolved instead. Essentially, supermutt and unresolved mean the same thing.


However, with a supermutt result, Embark can identify some breeds that might be included in that percentage. While those breeds aren’t a guarantee, it can give you a better idea as to what breeds your dog is made of. Some DNA tests that say unresolved instead of supermutt may not provide those details.


Are Village Dogs the Same as Supermutts?

Some dog parents are confused to see “Village Dog” listed as one of the breeds in their dog’s DNA. While it may sound like an unresolved outcome, Village Dog actually refers to a distinct type of dog rather than a mutt.


Village Dogs are free-roaming wild dogs that are indigenous to certain areas. They’re descendants of the first dogs from that area. They may not be recognized by kennel clubs since their qualities can vary, but they’re technically a dog breed.


These unique dogs look pretty consistent no matter which region they’re from. They typically have a short coat, big ears, and a slender body. So, if your dog gets labeled as a Village Dog on their DNA test, you may recognize some of those features. Not all DNA tests can pick up Village Dog DNA, but Embark has thoroughly researched Village Dogs.


village dog outside

What is the Best Dog DNA Test Kit?

Embark is known as the best and most accurate dog DNA test. Since it's so accurate, it's often more expensive than other dog DNA test kits. It recognizes over 350 breeds and can show you some of your dog's relatives. In addition to the traditional breed DNA test, Embark also offers a breed + health test kit and a dog age test kit.


While most dog lovers recommend Embark, Wisdom Panel is another popular choice that's fairly accurate for a little cheaper. It recognizes over 365 breeds and, like Embark, it can show you your dog's relatives. Other brands may give you some idea of what breeds your dog is mixed with, but they likely won’t be as accurate as Embark and Wisdom Panel.


Frequently Asked Questions


How Much is a Dog DNA Test?

Dog DNA tests usually cost between $75 and $175. While the cheaper options may seem like a good deal, the more expensive brands are usually the most accurate.


How Accurate Are Dog DNA Tests?

Most dog DNA tests are very accurate, with Wisdom Panel claiming to have over 98% accuracy and Embark claiming to have 99.9% accuracy. They never claim to be 100% accurate because samples that are contaminated or not collected correctly may not have correct results.


Can Dog DNA Tests Tell Age?

There are dog DNA tests specifically for estimating a dog’s age. They’re typically accurate within 18 months of the dog’s actual birthday. Without these tests, people rely on physical features to guess a dog’s age.


Are Mutts Healthier Than Purebreds?

It depends on the individual dog. Oftentimes, mutts are healthier than purebreds because they are less likely to carry the genetic health issues of the breeds. However, mutts are usually accidental litters, meaning they aren’t bred with health standards in mind, which could cause issues. Even purposefully bred mutts like Doodles don’t have a breed standard, making their health unpredictable.


Beautiful mixed breed dog

A Supermutt Dog is Awesome!

Some people look down on mutts, but anyone who has owned a mixed breed shelter dog knows that they’re awesome. All dogs can make great companions, regardless of what’s in their DNA. 


So, if supermutt comes up on your dog’s DNA test, don’t feel discouraged. The supermutt meaning just states that there are lots of small percentages of breeds in your dog’s DNA, and all those breeds are awesome! While it’s cool to find out exactly what breed your dog is, it’s important to remember that they’re still 100% a good dog no matter the results.


If you love trying to guess what breeds a dog is made up of, check out the DoggyDNA Reddit page. Lots of dog parents post photos of their dogs after getting a DNA test done to see if other users can guess the breeds correctly.

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