Acta Vet. Brno 2007, 76: 431-444

Genetics of Canine Behavior

K. A. Houpt

American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, Animal Behavior Clinic, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

Received February 6, 2007
Accepted June 5, 2007

Canine behavioral genetics is a rapidly moving area of research. In this review, breed differences in behavior are emphasized. Dog professionals' opinions of the various breeds on many behavior traits reveal factors such as reactivity, aggression, ease of training and immaturity. Heritability of various behaviors - hunting ability, playfulness, and aggression to people and other dogs - has been calculated. The neurotransmitters believed to be involved in aggression are discussed. The gene for aggression remains elusive, but identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with breed-specific behavior traits are leading us in the right direction. The unique syndrome of aggression found in English Springer Spaniels may be a model for detecting the gene involved.