Association analysis between canine behavioural traits and genetic polymorphisms in the Shiba Inu breed

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SummaryThe relationships between behavioural trait data and the genotype of 15 polymorphisms in eight neurotransmitter-related genes were analysed in 77 dogs of the Shiba Inu breed, an indigenous Japanese dog. The data were obtained from a 26-item questionnaire on the dog's behaviour, distributed to the dog's owners, through veterinary hospitals and the Shiba Inu breed magazine. A factor analysis of the questionnaire items extracted eight factors accounting for 66.8% of the variance. An association analysis between these factors and genetic polymorphisms indicated that the polymorphism of c.471T>C in the solute carrier family 1 (neuronal/epithelial high-affinity glutamate transporter) member 2 (SLC1A2) gene was significantly associated with Factor 1, referred to as ‘aggression to strangers’. This association remained stable in separate analyses of data from surveys obtained from the hospitals and those obtained from the magazine. The results suggest that the c.471T>C polymorphism is associated with some types of aggressive behaviour in the Shiba Inu. Further studies using other dog breeds are necessary to extend these findings to dogs in general.

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