How Owning a Dog is In Your Genes

How Owning a Dog is In Your Genes

Researchers looked at twins and their pet ownership, comparing identical with non-identical pairs.

Dog person or cat person?

Where you lie on this issue could have a lot to do with how you grew up. Having a favorite pet by your side in childhood can likely endear you to that type of animal for the long haul. But whether you choose to be a dog owner, in particular, goes beyond your experience, experts say.

A study done at Uppsala University in Sweden looked at over 35,000 pairs of twins. It examined both identical and fraternal (non-identical), and how likely they were to own a dog.

It was found that identical twins were much more likely to both have a dog, or not. Essentially, identical twins behaved the same much more often when it came to dog ownership. Rates of dog ownership in non-identical twins were less predictable.

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Why does this matter? This seemed to indicate that your genetics play a large part in whether or not you own a dog.

Carri Westgarth, Lecturer in Human-Animal interaction at the University of Liverpool and co-author of the study feels it’s true. “These findings are important as they suggest that supposed health benefits of owning a dog reported in some studies may be partly explained by different genetics of the people studied,” she stated. 

The study didn’t discover which genes are involved in dog ownership. It did, however, show that environment and your DNA play equal roles in the matter.

Dogs are said to be the first animal humans domesticated, and have been by our side for about 15,000 years.

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