Is your choice to own a dog influenced by your genetic makeup? A new study says yes!
The decision to get a dog might be influenced by your genes, according to a new study. Researchers from Uppsala University and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, and the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom assessed 35,000 pairs of twins from Sweden to determine whether a person’s genetic makeup corresponds to their choice to get a dog. The result? Genetic differences could explain more than 50% of the variation in dog ownership.
The report, published in Scientific Reports, states that “additive genetic factors largely contributed to dog ownership, with heritability estimated at 57% for females and 51% for males”. Using statistical tools, the researchers found that in adulthood, identical (monozygotic) twins were more likely both be owners or non-owners compared to nonidentical (dizygotic) twins, suggesting that genetics was indeed a strong factor in dog ownership.
These findings have major implications for understanding the history of dog domestication, and in future studies on the impact of pet ownership on human health.