Your dog’s personality may have little to do with its breed

Posted: 4/28/2022 8:01:52 PM

Modified: 4/28/2022 8:00:25 PM

WASHINGTON — Analysis confirms what doggy lovers know — every pup is genuinely an person.

Numerous of the well-known stereotypes about the habits of golden retrievers, poodles or schnauzers, for case in point, are not supported by science, according to a new research.

“There is a enormous quantity of behavioral variation in every breed, and at the finish of the working day, each canine truly is an unique,” stated research co-author and University of Massachusetts geneticist Elinor Karlsson.

She stated pet house owners enjoy to discuss about their dog’s personality, as illustrated by some entrepreneurs at a New York pet park.

Elizabeth Kelly explained her English springer spaniel was “friendly, but she’s also form of the queen bee.” Suly Ortiz explained her yellow Lab as “really tranquil, lazy and shy.”

And Rachel Kim’s blended-breed canine is “a whole lot of unique puppies, identity clever — tremendous impartial, actually affectionate with me and my partner, but fairly, pretty suspicious of other persons, other puppies.”

That sort of enthusiasm from pet proprietors encouraged Karlsson’s newest scientific inquiry. She needed to know to what extent are behavioral styles inherited — and how considerably are pet dog breeds affiliated with unique and predictable behaviors?

The solution: Even though physical features these types of as a greyhound’s prolonged legs or a Dalmatian’s places are plainly inherited, breed is not a strong predictor of any specific dog’s individuality.

The researchers’ perform, released Thursday in the journal Science, marshals a large dataset to access these conclusions — the most ever compiled, explained Adam Boyko, a geneticist at Cornell University, who was not concerned in the analyze.

Canine turned humanity’s best close friend a lot more than 14,000 many years back, as the only animal domesticated prior to the introduction of agriculture.

But the thought of canine breeds is a great deal far more recent. All-around 160 a long time in the past, individuals commenced to selectively breed pet dogs to have particular dependable physical attributes, like coat texture and coloration and ear condition.

The scientists surveyed additional than 18,000 doggy homeowners and analyzed the genomes of about 2,150 of their canine to look for styles.

They discovered that some behaviors — these kinds of as howling, pointing and showing friendliness to human strangers —do have at the very least some genetic foundation. But that inheritance is not strictly passed down together breed traces.

For instance, they uncovered golden retrievers that never retrieve, said co-creator Kathryn Lord, who experiments animal habits with Karlsson.

Some breeds, these as huskies and beagles, may perhaps clearly show a larger tendency to howl. But numerous of these pet dogs do not, as equally the owner study and genetic information showed.

The researchers could find no genetic foundation for aggressive behaviors nor a backlink to certain breeds.

“The correlation involving pet conduct and pet dog breed is much lessen than most envisioned,” reported Jeff Kidd, a geneticist at the College of Michigan, who experienced no position in the investigate.