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Is Your Dog’s Personality Rooted in DNA? YES, According to Science

Wondering if your dog’s personality is rooted in DNA? Indeed, science proves that a dog’s DNA plays a role in determining their nature. Each animal has distinct qualities that form character, and these have a link to their DNA.

A number of companies now offer DNA testing services for dogs, in part to help owners identify the breed of their dogs.

If you want to gain better knowledge about your dog, a DNA test is the best method that can give you more details. Likewise, there are different dog breeds, and their personalities somehow differ.

Dogs that share ancestry also share many behavioral traits that you can also trace to genetics.

It is exciting to learn how genetics shape and influence the dog’s personality. DNA test helps to identify the origins of the dog and such information can help you understand your pet better.

DNA And Dog Personality

Checking dog's breed using dog DNA testing

According to science, dog breeds have unique personalities, and these have links to their DNA. For example, the American Kennel Club describes the border collie as a workaholic while the German shepherd sacrifices to die for loved ones.

In a comprehensive study, scientists revealed that the distinct breed traits have roots in the dog’s genes. The findings of the survey can also explain the behavior of humans as well. Personality is a unique quality that does not just emerge from nowhere. It is rooted in the genes; hence DNA test can shed more light about behavior traits in dogs.

It is not an issue of just a few genes that determine the personality of dogs but a lot of them. When scientists sequenced the dog genome in 2005, they thought it was easy to identify genes in each breed that shape personality. However, that was not the case since they found many variations even in a specific kind.

As such, a new study analyzed behavioral data of about 17,000 dogs drawn from 101 breeds. The study focused on about 14 aspects of the dog’s personalities such as aggression, trainability as well as attachment among others. The study focused on behavioral and genetic data across a specific breed of dogs, not individual dogs.

According to the study, there are about 131 places found in the dog’s DNA that can help shape about 14 key personality traits. The DNA regions represent about 15 percent of the dog breed’s personality, and each exerts only a small effect. All the same, character has a link to DNA.

Personality Traits In Dogs

Personality traits in dogs such as chasing, trainability as well as aggression toward strangers are highly heritable. Breed differences in aspects like behavior are hereditary, and the grouping of breeds on behavioral traits shows some genetic relationships.

The results of the study provide insight into the heritability and genetic structure of behavioral traits. The research also suggests that dogs offer a powerful model for understanding personality traits concerning aspects like behavior even in humans.

The study notes that the locations of the DNA hotspots are sensible. Some of them are close to genes with a close link to aggression in humans. For instance, the DNA related to the level of trainability in the dog is also in human genes with a connection with information processing and intelligence.

Behavioral traits in dogs are hereditary, and only a DNA test can prove this assertion. However, such kind of analysis ought to focus on breed, not specific types of dogs since it may give inaccurate results. In humans also, the aspect of heritability also plays a role in shaping their personality.

The findings of the study also indicate that the same genes guide behavior in many species. For examples, genes that lead to anxiety in dogs are also the same genes that cause the same in people.  In other words, this kind of discovery can lead to better treatment of disorders related to anxiety.

The understanding of genes in different species can significantly help us to gain insight into aspects related to behavior. It is also crucial to note that specific behavioral tendencies of a particular breed have no direct link to any one gene.


American bulldog can be tested using dog DNA testing

Specific dog behaviors are common in many breeds, and it is for this reason that a single breed is not enough to determine action. In some instance, DNA cannot lead to specific behavior among dogs that belong to different races.  For example, pit bulls are aggressive to other dogs, but they do not display such kind of reaction to people. There is no DNA test at the moment that can lead to that behavior.

However, some studies aim to investigate DNA with a link to within-breed variation in the behavior of the dogs. Identifying a gene for super-friendly behavior in dogs is essential. Such action may not be uniform among dog breeds that may share similar traits.

It is crucial to conduct more studies that can explore these connections between genetics and behavior. It seems there is a more significant role for the genetics in influencing the expression of the dogs. All the same, there is a need for more work to verify the findings.

The aspect of personality seems to be hereditary according to science. Each species has its ancestry, and only DNA testing can establish it. The DNA in different animals determine a variety of traits that also include personality. In dogs, mixed breeds share some similarities in their genes and these shape their behavior.

The evolutionary history of dogs shows that they share a lot in common with animals like coyotes, wolves, and foxes. There are various dog breeds whose DNA can determine their ancestry. Since there are numerous dog breeds, their DNA can be a reliable way to establish their personality.

Various breeds have genes that shape their behavior according to scientists. Actions such as aggression and trainability are hereditary since dogs belong to different kinds. The same scientific concept also applies to human personality. There are specific genes that determine behavior.

About the Author Charles McKnight

I'm just another amateur genealogist investigating my American-Scots-Irish lineage. I built MyFamilyDNATest.com after buying all of the leading DNA tests to discover everything I could about my family history. Hopefully, this site will save you time and demystify the emerging science of DNA-based genealogy, for your family project.

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