The breed is hardly decisive to venture aggressiveness or other behavioral traits of dogs. Age or sex have much more influence, as shown by a study that has analyzed a large number of breeds, specimens and owners of these animals to reach conclusions based on scientific criteria.
A genetic study in which analyzed more than 2,000 dogs and 200,000 responses from surveys of dog owners revealed that the race is a bad parameter to venture, by itself, the behavior of these animals.
The study, conducted by professors, students and researchers at the University of Massachusetts School of Chan Medicine, will appear this month in the journal Science and it demolishes some very entrenched assumptions, but without scientific basis.
The main findings go against the popular belief that breed plays a determining role in how aggressive, obedient or affectionate a dog can be. Those stereotypes can even lead to breed-specific laws, insurance restrictions and household bans for some dog breeds, such as Pit Bulls and German Shepherds.
“Despite these widespread assumptions, there is a serious lack of genetic research demonstrating a link between race and behavior,” the study authors write.
The researchers used genome-wide association studies to search for common genetic variations that could predict specific behavioral traits in 2,155 purebred dogs. pure and mixed They combined this data with 18,385 surveys of pet owners from Darwin’s Ark, an open-source database of owner-reported canine traits and behaviors.
Breed only influences 9% of animal behavior
The results of these tests, which included data from 78 breeds, identified 11 genetic loci strongly associated with behavior. However, none of these were breed specific. According to the findings, race only explains 9% of behavioral variation in individual dogs, while age or sex of the dog were the best predictors of behavior.
“Most of the behaviors that we consider characteristic of specific modern dog breeds were likely due to thousands of years of evolution from the wolf to the wild canine, to the domesticated dog, and finally to modern breeds,” said author Elinor Karlsson.
“These heritable traits predate our concept of modern dog breeds by a margin of thousands of years,” he added.
Reference study (in English): https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abk0639
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