Big Article on Dog Breeds in Science

In summary, a new study published in Science examined the genetic basis for behavioral traits in dogs. The research found that while most behavioral traits are heritable, breed only explains a small percentage of behavioral variation. The study also identified 11 genetic loci associated with behavior, suggesting that characteristic breed behaviors are a result of thousands of years of polygenic adaptation rather than recent breed formation. The findings challenge the common perception of breed stereotypes and suggest that breed propensities align weakly with ancestral function.
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A big article on dog breeds, genetics, and behavioral and other traits has been published in Science (the journal).


Behavioral genetics in dogs has focused on modern breeds, which are isolated subgroups with distinctive physical and, purportedly, behavioral characteristics. We interrogated breed stereotypes by surveying owners of 18,385 purebred and mixed-breed dogs and genotyping 2155 dogs. Most behavioral traits are heritable [heritability (h2) > 25%], and admixture patterns in mixed-breed dogs reveal breed propensities. Breed explains just 9% of behavioral variation in individuals. Genome-wide association analyses identify 11 loci that are significantly associated with behavior, and characteristic breed behaviors exhibit genetic complexity. Behavioral loci are not unusually differentiated in breeds, but breed propensities align, albeit weakly, with ancestral function. We propose that behaviors perceived as characteristic of modern breeds derive from thousands of years of polygenic adaptation that predates breed formation, with modern breeds distinguished primarily by aesthetic traits.
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Thanks for posting. This one is going to take me awhile to digest.

It generally confirms my opinion of confirmation ribbons, which could be done just as well by mailing in photos of the dogs. Much easier than prancing around a ring in a dress and high heels.
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1. What is the purpose of studying dog breeds in science?

The purpose of studying dog breeds in science is to gain a better understanding of the genetic and behavioral differences among different breeds of dogs. This can help us improve our knowledge of genetics, evolution, and animal behavior, as well as inform breeding practices and improve the health and well-being of dogs.

2. How many dog breeds are recognized by science?

Currently, there are over 300 dog breeds recognized by the World Canine Organization (also known as the Fédération Cynologique Internationale). However, there are many more breeds that are not officially recognized but still exist and are studied by scientists.

3. What are the most common health issues found in dog breeds?

Some of the most common health issues found in dog breeds include hip and elbow dysplasia, allergies, obesity, and cancer. Certain breeds are also prone to specific health problems, such as heart disease in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and respiratory issues in Bulldogs.

4. How do scientists determine the intelligence of different dog breeds?

There are various ways in which scientists determine the intelligence of different dog breeds. One commonly used method is through cognitive tests, where dogs are given tasks to complete and their problem-solving abilities are observed. Another approach is through analyzing the brain structure and function of different breeds.

5. Can dog breeds interbreed and produce offspring?

Yes, dog breeds can interbreed and produce offspring. However, this is not always recommended as it can result in health issues and genetic abnormalities. Additionally, some breeds may not be physically compatible for breeding due to size or other factors.

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