What dog lovers get right and wrong about canine genetics

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Dog lovers talk a big game when it comes to genetics. Who hasn’t heard someone claim to know which breeds reside within a beloved mutt simply by appearance? And who hasn’t heard claims about a dog’s underlying “nature” even though geneticists acknowledge nature and nurture work together?

Here’s what [Jessica] Hekman, the dog geneticist, wishes dog lovers knew about genetics:

What do dog lovers seem to get wrong about dog genetics? “Thinking that genetics are destiny — that if a problem is ‘genetic,’ it can’t be changed. Sometimes that’s true, but very rarely in the case of behavior problems. A dog’s personality is inextricably made up both of genetics and experience.”

“What do you wish purebred dog owners knew about dog genetics? “Inbreeding is real and is a serious problem in many, if not most, pure breeds.”

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“I would love to see dog owners draw a line in the sand and insist on dogs with muzzles long enough to let them breathe normally, or dogs who are not born with a 60% chance of developing cancer at some point in their lives due to their breed.”

“I’d love more dog lovers to become aware of the problems with how we breed dogs — how even the most responsible breeders breed dogs! This year, it is time for change.”

Read full, original post: What a Dog Geneticist Wants You to Know about Dog Genetics

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