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Genetic diversity and recognition of popular dog breeds

R. Mellanby, R. Ogden, D. N. Clements, A. T. French, A. G. Gow, R. Powell, B. Corcoran, J. P. Schoeman, K. M. Summers

DOG breeders are likely to select stud animals that closely fit breed-specific Kennel Club or breed organisation specifications. The reproductive isolation resulting from this process is likely to promote genetic differences between breeds. Most studies of the genetic diversity of dog breeds have used dogs registered to a particular breed organisation. However, in clinical practice, breeds are usually determined by veterinarian observation or reported by the client. This study aimed to investigate the genetic diversity of popular dog breeds in the UK in a largely clinically defined population.

Blood samples taken during clinical investigations were obtained from a database at Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. In total, 285 samples were included in the study, with samples from 13 popular breeds and 13 specified and unspecified crossbreeds. The samples were analysed genetically to assess between- and within-breed similarities and differences.

The results indicated that the most genetically distinct breeds were the boxer and West Highland white terrier. The least distinct group was the …

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