Research confirms what dog lovers know — every pup is truly an individual.
A new study has found that many of the popular stereotypes about the behavior of dogs aren’t supported by science.
The researchers surveyed more than 18,000 dog owners and analyzed the genomes of about 2,150 of their dogs to look for patterns.
They found that some behaviors - such as howling, pointing and showing friendliness to human strangers - do have at least some genetic basis.
But that inheritance isn’t strictly passed down along breed lines.
"In our ancestrally diverse cohort, we show that behavioral characteristics ascribed to modern breeds are polygenic, environmentally influenced, and found, at varying prevalence, in all breeds. 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. By embracing the full diversity of dogs—including purebred dogs, mixed-breed dogs, purpose-bred working dogs, and village dogs—we can fully realize dogs’ long-recognized potential as a natural model for genetic discovery."
The research was published Thursday in the journal Science.