An American biologist has shown that the personality of pets is subject to great diversity, and is better explained by the environment than by their genes.
Both the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois Shepherd are among the most docile and easily trained dogs. Pugs and Dalmatians are very affectionate. On the contrary, the shiba inu is independent. Beagles are a cheerful and calm Shar-Pei. So which strain is right for you? Take our quiz to find out which dogs will suit you best! first. Despite all the stereotypes we read on the internet and the perseverance of popular beliefs, dog breed turns out to be a very poor indicator of their personality. It is used to define a range of very subtle physical traits, yes, but the personality of dogs shows great diversity within all species, and is better explained by the environment than by their genes.
She says in the magazine that American biologist Kathleen Morell already had this intuition as a teenager Science, When her parents adopted “butterfly” dogs (a small spaniel) one was shy and anxious and the other outgoing and affectionate. Can two dogs of the same breed have completely opposite personalities? Perhaps it was this personal experience that led her to study the role of genetics in the brain and the behavior of different living species.
Since 2015, she has been running a participatory science project with colleagues from the University of Massachusetts, “Darwin’s Ark”: more than 18,000 internet users have signed up to answer long-term questionnaires about their dog, its characteristics, habits, and personality traits. Among them, 2,155 dogs, some “purebred” and others crossed, were selected, and their DNA sequenced to be able to establish a very precise link between their genes and behavior. So the researchers had on one hand an accurate description of the dogs’ personalities (Fluffynours are afraid of strangers, love to hunt squirrels and react quickly when a ball is thrown at them) and their genetic heritage (Fluffynours are 37% border collie and 51% Shetland).
Appreciation: Race provides poor predictive value, and explains only 9% of behavioral changes. Morell and his team write in a study Science released this week. Some personality traits are indeed likely to be passed down through heredity, and thus are linked to sex. Among them, we find the Docile (ease of learning and obedience to commands): Malinois Shepherds and Hungarian Pointers with short hair are more docile than the general average dog, while Basset Hounds and German Alaskan Malamutes are noticeably more independent.
However, for other personality traits, such as a dog’s tendency to be provoked by an unpleasant stimulus, Race provides almost no information. It is a matter of individuals. The researchers were also unable to prove that Labradors are more social with humans than the average dog. A myth without a scientific basis.
At the genetic level, Kathleen Morell’s team identified 11 regions (groups of genes) clearly associated with behaviors in dogs, such as their barking frequency and communication with humans. But there was no noticeable difference between the species. Only the pieces of DNA that define physical traits clearly distinguish the species.
Finally, this is not a surprise: modern dog breeds were created less than one hundred and sixty years ago, scientists say, to form animal breeds that share the same aesthetics. that it “Victorian invention” Who is searching? “The conformation of a material ideal and the purity of a breed” and he “It is often separated from functional behavioral choice.” These dogs were bred for their looks, not their temperament, and so it stands to reason that temperaments remain varied – within the limits of what was required in a dog when humans began purposely breeding them some time ago. She is two thousand years old: her abilities are hunting, grazing and guarding. To choose the best dog to adopt, it is better to read their Meetic profile than to rely on their pedigree.