The Science of Dog Breeds

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A dog breed is a group of dogs that have very similar or nearly identical characteristics of appearance or behavior or, usually, both, primarily because they come from a select set of ancestors who had the same characteristics.

Dogs have been selectively bred for specific characteristics for thousands of years.

According to Elizabeth Pennisi “Dog breeds really do have distinct personalities—and they’re rooted in DNA”

When the dog genome was sequenced in 2005, scientists thought they would quickly be able to pin down the genes that give every breed its hallmark personality. But they found so much variation even within a breed that they could never study enough dogs to get meaningful results.

“after dogs started to live with humans, less fit individuals were more likely to survive and reproduce than they were in the wild”

Breeding dogs for particular characteristics, or phenotypes, has been going on for centuries.
Dogs are companions and workers, in service to humans, and they have thus been bred
to accentuate desired traits. For instance, Dalmatians have long been coach
dogs, in part because of their striking looks and their comfort around horses.
Bred for endurance, they can run alongside horse-drawn carriages all day. When
kept as a housebound family pet, however, a Dalmatian’s excess of energy can make
the dog seem wired and can lead to less desirable behaviors, such as gnawing on
furniture.

It’s all in the genes!

Any dog lover knows
that Labrador retrievers are friendly, Dalmatians are hyper, and Cocker Spaniels are smart. Some dog lovers also know that Labradors
are susceptible to hip dysplasia, while deafness and kidney stones run in
Dalmatians. But why is this the case?

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