THE The breed of dogs does not determine their behavior, which depends primarily on genetic and environmental factors, says a new study published in the journal Science today.
This study, led by Kathleen Morrill of the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, compared data from genetic studies of more than 2,000 dogs of different breeds with a paper on the behavior of 18,000 dog owners. “Most behavioral traits may be hereditary, but this varies little between races. Races have little predictive value in individuals because they explain only 9% of the variations,” the study notes.
As an example, the authors of the study cite the general perception that the Labrador Retriever breed is generally more social, as an example of a relationship that does not actually occur. However, Border Collies seem to be more likely than other dog breeds to recognize and accept human commands.
This is not the only dog study published in the journal Science today. A study led by Rebecca Mancy of the University of Glasgow reveals that the high mobility of some dogs prevents rabies from disappearing despite its low prevalence in communities.
The disease, which is usually contracted from the biting of infected dogs, causes tens of thousands of deaths a year, mostly in children in poor countries in Africa and Asia. Despite vaccination campaigns and the slaughter of affected populations, the virus continues to spread.
According to the researchers, the “key” is in the individual behavior of the dogs themselves, which is not very predictable. Some act as “super-spreaders” by traveling long distances and taking the virus to previously unexposed communities.
Other infected dogs bite more than uninfected and spread the virus widely before they die. Colorado University researcher Michael Antolin warns that this finding may provide clues as to how Covid-19 will continue to pose a risk when it eventually becomes an endemic disease, even as vaccinations become more common.
“While an endemic is a more desirable outcome than a pandemic, it is not the end of the disease, but a new challenge,” Antolin points out in a text published in the same issue of the scientific journal.
Also read: What are the health risks of licking a pet?
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