Dog Breed Doesn’t Affect Behavior, New Genetic Research Shows | Smart News

Researchers interviewed the owners of 18,385 dogs and sequenced the DNA of 2,155 dogs for a new study analyzing dog behavior and breed.

Sylv Lettal / 500px

The science is there: regardless of breed, any canine companion can be a good puppy.

A new genome study published in the journal Science The found breed alone is not an accurate way to predict your furry friend’s personality.

Researchers surveyed the owners of 18,385 dogs, asking them questions about their pup’s behavior, such as whether they work at tasks until they’re done, whether they’re friendly to strangers or if they turn in circles before pooping. They also sequenced the DNA of 2,155 purebred and mixed breed dogs and compared them to the survey results.

They found that breed only explained about 9% of the variation in a dog’s behavior.

“This is a major step forward in how we think about dog behavior,” said Elaine Ostrander, a canine genetics expert at the US National Human Genome Research Institute, who was not involved in the study. Scienceit’s David Grimm. “No race has a particular trait.”

You may have heard stereotypes about certain breeds – some, like Labs, are more friendly, while others, like Chihuahuas, are more aggressive.

“Any good dog trainer will tell you that these stereotypes are a disaster,” said Marc Bekoff, a canine behavior expert at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Atlanticby Katherine J. Wu. “Races don’t have personalities. Individuals do.

But race can say certain things to researchers. Overall, scientists have found that certain behavioral traits are more common in certain breeds. For example, Border collies seem to be more ready to respond to human direction than other breeds.

“We found things like German Shorthaired Pointers were slightly more likely to point, or Golden Retrievers were slightly more likely to retrieve, or huskies more likely to howl, than the general dog population,” Kathryn said. Lord, a researcher at the University of Massachusetts Chan. Medical School and author on paper, tells the New York Times“James Gorman.

Researchers found that no one behavioral trait was present in all dogs of a breed or absent from all, depending on the Atlantic.

In other words, although certain behaviors are more likely to appear in certain breeds, breed alone cannot predict a particular dog’s disposition. Instead, personality is shaped by a combination of factors, including a dog’s environment.

“Genetics is important, but genetics is a nudge in a given direction. It’s not fate,” said Evan MacLean, director of the Arizona Canine Cognition Center at the University of Arizona, who did not participate in the research. NPR Sullivan’s Becky. “We’ve known this for a long time in human studies, and this paper really suggests the same is true for dogs.”