Have you ever wondered where your love for dogs has come from? Why we love our four-legged friends as much as we do, well, new studies show that this love can actually come from our DNA.
If you have previously owned a dog whilst growing up there is a high chance that you will own one in your adulthood, the question that is being researched is, is that because of your experience with dogs or your genetic makeup?
A team of Swedish and British scientists studied 35,035 sets of twins from the Swedish Twin Registry to find out. They compared that data to information about dog ownership from national dog registries and found a strong connection between genetics and the likelihood of owning a dog. It is impossible to say which genes are involved from the study but so far identical twins agreed far more than non-identical pairs on whether they would have a pet dog.
Lead author Professor Tove Fall, of Uppsala University, said: ‘We were surprised to see that a person’s genetic make-up appears to be a significant influence in whether they own a dog.
These findings have major implications in several different fields related to understanding dog-human interaction throughout history and in modern times. Although dogs and other pets are common household members across the globe, little is known how they impact our daily life and health.’
It is said that some people may have a higher innate propensity to care for a pet than others. This study compared the genetics of twins to determine whether dog ownership was a heritable component. Identical twins share their entire genome while non-identical twins on average share only half of the genetic variation.
Their findings supported the view that genetics indeed plays a major role in the choice of owning a dog. ‘The relationship between humans and dogs is the longest of all the domestic animals.’ They believe this topic will be a long ongoing scientific debate.
Co-author Dr Carri Westgarth, of the University of Liverpool, added: ‘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.’
So not only could our love of dogs come from our DNA, they are also proven to improve our mental health! Check out our blog now to find out why you should get a dog.