Dog ownership linked to genetic makeup

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.

Click here to read the full report.