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Traits list

Learn why your dog is unique from the shape of their nose to the tips of their toes

Coat Color Modifiers

A number of genes are known to affect coat color in dogs. They all interact and in some cases other, often unknown, genetic effects may also influence color and pattern.

Base Coat Color

A number of genes are known to affect coat color in dogs. They all interact and in some cases other, often unknown, genetic effects may also influence color and pattern. The base coat color genes are linked to whether your dog will have any dark fur at all and, if they do, whether that dark fur is black, brown, grey, or light brown.

Other Coat Traits

Furnishings, shedding, and curls are all genetic. Several genes are at work here, and they all interact. In fact, the combination of these genes explains the coat traits of 90 percent of AKC registered dog breeds. For more information on the genetics of coat types click here.

Other Body Features

We are discovering the genetic basis for an increasing number of other body features, including hind dew claws and the shape of your dog’s head.

Body Size

Body size is a complex trait that is affected by both genetic and environmental variation. Our genetic analysis includes genes that, together, explain over 85 percent of the variation in dog body size.

Performance

Physical performance traits are interesting for all dogs, especially those that want to perform in more strenuous environments. These traits also shed light on the history of dogs and what they have been bred for. For example, the high altitude mutation we test for causes similar changes in oxygen usage as a mutation found in people from the Himalayas!

Genetic Diversity

Inbreeding is known to impact health and longevity in dogs. Inbred dogs can certainly live long, healthy lives; however, in general, dogs that are less inbred tend to live longer, healthier lives, on average. Our scientists are working to understand if there are parts of dogs’ genomes where inbreeding is particularly harmful.