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Small dogs' genes traced to Middle East

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  • Small dogs' genes traced to Middle East

    Small dogs' genes traced to Middle East

    A genetic study of grey wolves has found that small domesticated dogs probably originated in the Middle East more than 12,000 years ago.

    Sadie the Scottish terrier, winner of best in show at the 2010 Westminster Dog Show, can trace her origins to grey wolves in the Middle East. (Henny Ray Abrams/Associated Press) Researchers at the University of California examined the history of a gene, called IGF1, in grey wolves and in large and small breeds of dog.

    They found that the version of the gene that in large part determines small size in dogs probably originated in dogs with the ancient domestication of grey wolves in the Middle East.

    "Our results show that the version of the IGF1 gene found in small dogs is closely related to that found in Middle Eastern wolves and is consistent with an ancient origin in this region of small domestic dogs," said evolutionary biologist Melissa Gray, in a statement.

    Gray said the mutation that gave rise to the small-sized variation of the gene came after the first domestication of the dog, but dogs and wild wolves continued to interbreed even after domestication.

    "Because all small dogs possess this variant of IGF1, it probably arose early in their history," said Grey.

    The researchers' previous work unexpectedly found that some very large breeds, such as mastiffs, bullmastiffs, and rottweilers, also have the "small" version of the gene.

    Archeologists have found remains of small dogs in the Middle East dating to 12,000 years ago. Older remains of domesticated dogs in Germany and Western Russia are all of large dogs.

    Gray said artificial selection for small size is a common theme in domestication of animals, seen in cattle, pigs and goats, as well as dogs.

    "Small size could have been more desirable in more densely packed agricultural societies, in which dogs may have lived partly indoors or in confined outdoor spaces," said Gray.

    http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2...small-dog.html
    "Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it." ~Malcolm X

  • #2
    Re: Small dogs' genes traced to Middle East

    That's cool news Kanada. I wonder if we fed them Iams or Science Diet 12,000 years ago. I more seriously wonder... what was their life expectancy without the modern, salty pellet diet we believe is an absolute must for them.
    I was taught how to think.

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    • #3
      Re: Small dogs' genes traced to Middle East

      Interesting!


      Jeff, they weren't eating raw meat only either though. So those raw diets aren't a great idea. Since man has had fire, we have cooked food and the dogs that hung around got scraps from what we ate.
      [COLOR=#4b0082][B][SIZE=4][FONT=trebuchet ms]“If you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right.”
      -Henry Ford[/FONT][/SIZE][/B][/COLOR]

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      • #4
        Re: Small dogs' genes traced to Middle East

        Not sure JGK3, but here is a life expectancy (in years) for popular breeds..... looks to me like the small breeds live longer.

        Afghan Hound (12.0)
        Airedale Terrier (11.2)
        Basset Hound (12.8)
        Beagle (13.3)
        Bearded Collie (12.3)
        Bedlington Terrier (14.3)
        Bernese Mountain Dog (7.0)
        Border Collie (13.0)
        Border Terrier (13.8)
        Boxer (10.4)
        Bull Terrier (12.9)
        Bulldog (6.7)
        Bullmastiff (8.6)
        Cairn Terrier (13.2)
        Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (10.7)
        Chihuahua (13.0)
        Chow Chow (13.5)
        xxxxer Spaniel (12.5)
        Corgi (11.3)
        Dachshund (12.2)
        Dalmatian (13.0)
        Doberman Pinscher (9.8)
        English xxxxer Spaniel (11.8)
        English Setter (11.2)
        English Springer Spaniel (13.0)
        English Toy Spaniel (10.1)
        Flat-Coated Retriever (9.5)
        German Shepherd (10.3)
        German Shorthaired Pointer (12.3)
        Golden Retriever (12.0)
        Gordon Setter (11.3)
        Great Dane (8.4)
        Greyhound (13.2)
        Irish Red and White Setter (12.9)
        Irish Setter (11.8)
        Irish Wolfhound (6.2)
        Jack Russell Terrier (13.6)
        Labrador Retriever (12.6)
        Lurcher (12.6)
        Miniature Dachshund (14.4)
        Miniature Poodle (14.8)
        Norfolk Terrier (10.0)
        Old English Sheepdog (11.8)
        Pekingese (13.3)
        Random-bred / Mongrel (13.2)
        Rhodesian Ridgeback (9.1)
        Rottweiler (9.8)
        Rough Collie (12.2)
        Samoyed (11.0)
        Scottish Deerhound (9.5)
        Scottish Terrier (12.0)
        Shetland Sheepdog (13.3)
        Shih Tzu (13.4)
        Staffordshire Bull Terrier (10.0)
        Standard Poodle (12.0)
        Tibetan Terrier (14.3)
        Toy Poodle (14.4)
        Viszla (12.5)
        Weimaraner (10.0)
        Welsh Springer Spaniel (11.5)
        West Highland White Terrier (12.8)
        Whippet (14.3)
        Wire Fox Terrier (13.0)
        Yorkshire Terrier (12.8)
        Last edited by KanadaHye; 02-24-2010, 10:29 AM.
        "Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it." ~Malcolm X

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        • #5
          Re: Small dogs' genes traced to Middle East

          Smaller dogs do live longer. The heart on the bigger breeds is overworked thus they die sooner. I had a great dane and a bullmastiff and the bullmastiff is the coolest dog. I would get one now if my son was not allergic.
          Hayastan or Bust.

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