Dog Traits and DNA

German Shepherd DogLorrie Shaw, an AnnArbor.com Community Contributor recently wrote an article on how a dog’s DNA may determine his behavior. She cited a study that shows that genetics can play a part in impulsive behavoir that some may find unattractive.

Researchers at Eötvös Loránd University, in Budapest studied more than 100 dogs and gave them four behavioral exams, one of which was to being able to lie down quietly. Out of those, 37 German Shepherds that possessed a shortened version of the gene connected to the neurotransmitters had trouble controlling their impulsivity.

Ms. Shaw does acknowledge that there are many factors that can affect a dog’s behavior, including:

Age – Puppies have shorter attention spans and increased energy levels that can affect their behavior.
Environment – A dog’s surroundings, including noises, activity, and the presense of other people and dogs can create behavoiral issues.
Physical and Mental State – If a dog is tired or feeling ill, he or she may show a change in behavoir.

The German Shepherd was the breed the study focused on. Do you own a German Shepherd? What is your take on this study? And do you believe that genetics can play a part in the behavior of a dog?

Read the full article on AnnArbor.com here, which links to the original study here.

About Heather @FamilyAndFur

Manager, Public and Media Relations
Heather Kalinowski lives in the Seattle area with her husband, newborn son, and two rescued pups – an Italian Greyhound named Ava and a Spaniel mix named Jackson. She enjoys reading, writing, spending time with her family, and volunteering with Italian Greyhound Rescue. Google+

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