For everyone who wants to be their dog's best friend . . . Love, Dog is the trusted resource to help you make the best choices for your dog's wellbeing . . . Listen to Episode 7 with neuroscientist Dr. Kathy Murphy on your favorite podcast app or click on the podcast button below. . . . Welcome to our podcast sponsors, Fig & Tyler! and Wonder Walker harnesses!
For everyone who wants to be their dog's best friend . . . Love, Dog is the trusted resource to help you make the best choices for your dog's wellbeing . . . Listen to Episode 7 with neuroscientist Dr. Kathy Murphy on your favorite podcast app or click on the podcast button below. . . . Welcome to our podcast sponsors, Fig & Tyler! and Wonder Walker harnesses!
Howls From The Founder
In our latest podcast episode, #9, Drew and I take the deep dive into brain development with neuroscientist Kathy Murphy. She explains how dogs’ brains develop throughout their lives starting in puppyhood. It’s a really big deal because if you understand some of the basics and get things right in puppyhood, you'll set the dog up for success! That means a happier dog, and a lot more joy from your companionship.

A man and his two dogs, Kingston and Vienna, in L.A.’s Runyon Canyon. Photo for Love, Dog by Ben Potter

The big news coming from this study: You can’t judge a dog by its breed!

The findings from the study, a series of 18,285 owner surveys plus sequencing the genomes of 2,155 dogs, show that breed alone is not a reliable indicator for predicting some dog behaviors. According to the researchers, one of the clearest takeaways is that a dog’s breed has no discernible effect on a dog’s reactions to something it finds new or strange.

Breeds can in fact predict some things. According to Elinor Karlsson of the Broad Institute and the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School and one of the authors of the report, if you adopt a Border Collie, for example, the probability that it will be easier to train and will be interested in toys “is going to be higher than if you a adopt a Great Pyrenees.”

On average, the study found that breed accounts for about 9 percent of the variations in any given dog’s behavior. Furthermore, there weren’t any behaviors restricted to specific breeds. Interestingly, though, the study found that howling was definitely more associated with breeds like Siberian Huskies.

Evan Maclean, the director of the Arizona Canine Cognition Center at the University of Arizona who was not involved in the study, said, “This is one of the first papers to really do impressive dog genomics work using mixed breed dogs.” These dogs have such variety that it makes genetic comparisons more powerful, he said, but they have been excluded from a lot of earlier studies. “And this paper just shows how valuable those populations can be,” he added

You can read the entire article, reported in the New York Times on April 28, 2022, here. The results of the study were published in Science Magazine and can be reviewed here.

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