Dog Breeds Did Not Predict Its Traits, Study Found

Many behavioral traits can be inherited. But race is only partially predicting most behaviors, or even not all for specific behavioral traits, such as affection or the tendency to anger.

“Genetics play a role in the personality of any individual dog, but breed does not predict these traits effectively,” explains Elinor Karlsson, one of the authors of this work, which involved more than 2,000 dogs. dogs and over 200,000 responses from owners.

“What we have shown is that the criteria that define a golden retriever are its physical characteristics: the shape of its ears, the color and quality of its clothing, its size. But not if he is affectionate, ”he added. However, such stereotypes are sometimes found in the law, such as the pit bull ban in the UK and many US towns.

“No effect” on aggression

The researchers sequenced the DNA of 2,155 pedigree or crossbred dogs to find common genetic variation that would help predict their behavior. They combined these results with responses to questions from 18,385 dog owners.

The site used is called Darwin’s Ark, and represents a free access database that brings together information provided by the owners of their animal’s behavior. The researchers considered in their analysis stereotypes that could potentially affect the responses. They create specific definitions for certain traits, such as obedience, sociability, or interest in toys. Physical characteristics are also studied.

Scientists have finally found 11 areas in the genome that are associated with behavioral differences, including obedience, the ability to pick up something, or even beetle. In these cases, the race plays a specific role: beagles and bloodhounds are more beetle, border collies are more obedient, Shibas Inus are more.

But the study nonetheless shows that there are exceptions every time. So even if Labradors are the least likely to beetle, 8% of them still beetle. And if 90% of greyhounds don’t bury their toy, 3% always do. In addition, looking at the answers to many questions about possible aggressive dog reactions, “we didn’t see any effect on the breed,” Elinor Karlsson explains.

Overall, the race explained only 9% of the behavioral differences. So age is better at predicting certain behaviors, such as having fun with a toy. Physical characteristics can be five times better predictable by race than behavior.

Sociability is so inherited

Before the 1800s, dogs were primarily bred for their hunting duties, to guard the house or herds. But the concept of the “modern dog distinction, emphasizing physical values ​​and genetic purity, is a Victorian invention,” the study points out. Dogs within a breed may behave differently, with some inheriting genetic differences from their ancestors, and others not.

Interesting fact: people’s sociability is so inherited from dogs, even if it doesn’t depend on race. The researchers found an area in canine DNA that could explain 4% of sociability differences between individuals. And this area corresponds to one, the human genome, which is responsible for the formation of long -term memory. “It may be that understanding people’s sociality in dogs can help understand how the brain develops and learns,” Kathleen Morrill, lead author of the study, said in a press conference.

Leave a Comment