Owning a dog is influenced by our genetic make-up

2019-05-22

Scientists have studied the heritability of dog ownership using information from 35,035 twin pairs from the Swedish Twin Registry. The new study suggests that genetic variation explains more than half of the variation in dog ownership, implying that the choice of getting a dog is heavily influenced by an individual's genetic make-up.

A team of Swedish and British scientists have studied the heritability of dog ownership using information from 35,035 twin pairs from the Swedish Twin Registry. The new study suggests that genetic variation explains more than half of the variation in dog ownership, implying that the choice of getting a dog is heavily influenced by an individual's genetic make-up.

"We were surprised to see that a person's genetic make-up appears to be a significant influence in whether they own a dog. As such, these findings have major implications in several different fields related to understanding dog-human interaction throughout history and in modern times. Although dogs and other pets are common household members across the globe, little is known how they impact our daily life and health. Perhaps some people have a higher innate propensity to care for a pet than others." says Tove Fall, lead author of the study, and Professor in Molecular Epidemiology at the Department of Medical Sciences.

Read the whole news article published by Science Daily.

Tove Fall, Ralf Kuja-Halkola, Keith Dobney, Carri Westgarth, Patrik K. E. Magnusson. Evidence of large genetic influences on dog ownership in the Swedish Twin Registry has implications for understanding domestication and health associationsScientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-44083-9