Home Page Forums Darwin’s Ark Genes that influence dog behavior.

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    I am new to Darwin’s Ark and I am interested in genes that are related to dog behavior. Does anyone have a good place for me to get started?


    kathleen morrill

    Hi Darlene,

    The genetics behind dog behavior remain an open field, and genes involved in behavior aren’t as well-profiled as, say, coat color genetics… but that’s what makes behavioral genetics very exciting, too!

    I might suggest reading about this study on Labrador Retrievers for a good example of behavioral genetics:

    The original scientific article is here:

    In short, Labradors with deletions in this POMC gene have higher rates of obesity (health and behavior-related) *and* Labradors with this variant are overrepresented in service dogs (behavior-related). The hypothesis behind this being that POMC influences food motivation, and that dogs who are more food motivated will work harder for a reward (great for training!)


    barbara wood

    Wondering, are their multiple genes that play a roll in influencing the same behavior? To what degree does genetics affect “behavior modification’s success or failure when applied ?

    Read the study on the labs, but it is honestly a bit over my head. So not sure I understood it correctly.

    Curious, as to whether their obesity, is the direct result of them never feeling satiated. Do this labs for example, become obese even if the amount of food they receive is controlled to prevent that.

    I’m thinking ac hungry dog of any breed will tend to work hard for food.

    Would love to know more about genes that influence all kinds of behavior.


    dawn miller

    here is another resource. In fact after listening to this it reminded me to come back here and see if there were any more updates in reseach

    look for the Drinking from the Toilet podcast #93. Not over your head and gives a good idea of where this type of research is going.


    kristen johnson 2

    Oh thanks Dawn! I will check that out too. I’m so interested in all this but feel like so much of it is over my head. Lol.


    dawn miller

    that is why I liked this podcast episode. they seemed to hit the sweet spot between too geeky and too dumbed down.

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