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A study shows that these 3 dog breeds are the most at risk of cancer

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Dogs are called man’s best friend for good reason and have stayed with us for thousands of years through thick and thin.

According to recent research, however, they could not only be valuable companions, but possibly also save our lives from dangerous diseases.

A flat-coated retriever. Researchers studied flat-coated retrievers and other dog breeds to understand their shared genetic risk for blood cancer. Getty

What’s new? Led by a team of French researchers, a study published Thursday in the journal PLOS Genetics identified genetic risk factors for histiocytic sarcoma, a rare blood cancer that occurs in both humans and dogs.

This study focused on three breeds of dogs that share similar loci that occur in several canine cancers. Dogs include Bernese Mountain Dogs, Rottweilers, and Retrievers – especially flat-coated retrievers and golden retrievers.

Through their research, the scientists had some key findings:

  • A previously identified location or the specific location of a gene on a chromosome known as CDKN2A is associated with an increased risk of histiocytic sarcoma
  • The scientists also identified new loci associated with a risk of histiocytic sarcoma on canine chromosomes 2, 5, 14 and 20
  • The researchers concluded that these loci have an additive risk for other cancers such as lymphomas or mast cells

The latter finding could have particular implications for the study of histiocytic sarcoma in humans as well

In a press release, the authors of the study write: “This study used the predisposition for dog breeds to decipher the genetic basis of histiocytic sarcoma, a rare human cancer.”

A Bernese Mountain Dog is playing. The study found a high risk between certain genes in Bernese Mountain Dogs and blood cancer

How They Did It – The researchers looked at the shared genetic risk for histiocytic sarcoma between the three breeds of dogs, also known as the genome-wide association study.

Scientists use these studies to look for disease markers in the DNA of different people – or, in this case, different breeds of dogs – to aid in the treatment and prevention of disease. In this case, the researchers also used targeted genetic sequencing of specific loci to identify genetic variants associated with cancer.

The authors write in the study: “This study aimed to expand on previous studies by deciphering the genetic basis of (histiocytic sarcoma) using a multiracial approach.”

This is the largest such genome-wide association study of the risk of histiocytic sarcoma in dogs.

Studying the Details – The researchers confirmed several risky alleles linked to a higher risk of developing histiocytic sarcoma.

The researchers found that individual dogs within breeds that inherited at least 5 out of 6 of these risky alleles in three specific locations – CFA11, CFA5, and CFA14 – were five times more likely to develop histiocytic sarcoma.

Why It Matters – The specific alleles in the three dog breeds correlate not only with a higher risk of blood cancer, but also with lymphoma and other cancers.

This additive effect is known as pleiotropy, which occurs when a gene can have multiple effects in unexpected ways.

Pleiotropy is also a common phenomenon in human cancer research, which is why the study is also relevant to the study of histiocytic sarcoma in humans.

The researchers write that the sheer genetic diversity of human cancers makes studying their underlying genetic predisposition “almost impossible in rare cancers like histiocytic sarcoma.”

However, dogs have been artificially bred to make it easier to identify the genetic expression of certain alleles that pose a higher risk of cancer. If we can identify these genetic risk factors in dogs, this could be the first step towards identifying and treating them in humans too.

The researchers conclude that research on these three dog breeds “offers a unique opportunity to unravel the genetic basis of this cancer.”

A pair of rottweilers in a field. The study examines the relationship between certain genetic alleles and the risk of blood cancer in Rottweilers and two other dog breeds. Getty

What’s next? Research promises exciting opportunities – not just for the potential treatment of these three dog breeds for blood cancer, but also in humans.

The researchers write: “In this way, spontaneously affected dogs with breed-specific cancers offer efficient natural models for identifying the underlying genetics several homologous cancers between dogs and humans. “

However, scientists still have some ways to go before we can fully uncover the common mechanisms underlying blood cancer in these three dog breeds.

For example, the study includes a limited sample of flat-coated retrievers, so future research needs to focus more on the retriever’s genetic similarities to the other two dog breeds studied.

The research also identifies alleles that strongly correlate with multiple types of cancer in golden retrievers. However, more research is needed to determine whether Bernese Mountain Dogs have the same risky cancer alleles.

For now, however, we can comfort ourselves that people have more in common with our favorite pooches than previously thought – and that resemblance may only save us from future cancers.

Abstract: Histiocytic sarcoma (HS) is a rare but aggressive cancer in both humans and dogs. The spontaneous canine model, which shares clinical, epidemiological and histological similarities with human HS and specific breed predispositions, offers a unique opportunity to decipher the genetic basis of this cancer. In this study, we aimed to identify germline risk factors associated with the development of HS in dog-predisposed breeds. We used a methodology that combined multiple genome-wide association studies in a multiracial and multicancer approach, as well as targeted sequencing and next-generation imputation. We combined several dog breeds (Bernese Mountain Dogs, Rottweilers, Flat-Coated Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers) and three hematopoietic cancers (HS, lymphoma and mast cell tumor). The results indicated that we not only refined the previously identified CDKN2A locus at risk for HS, but also identified new loci on canine chromosomes 2, 5, 14 and 20. The recording and targeted sequencing of specific loci indicated the existence of regulatory variants in non-coding regions and methylation mechanisms that are associated with risk hyplotypes and lead to a strong tendency towards cancer in certain dog breeds. We have also shown that these canine cancer-predisposing loci appear to be due to the additive effect of several risk aplotypes that are also implicated in other hematopoietic cancers such as lymphoma or mast cell tumors. This illustrates the pleiotropic nature of this canine cancer variety as observed in human oncology, and thereby increases the interest of predisposed dog breeds in studying cancer development and progression.

Dog Breeds

Even Puppies Get the Point

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Dogs’ ability to understand us and respond to our attempts to communicate with them has long been considered a fundamental part of the close relationship we share. More than two decades ago, researchers first provided evidence that dogs can follow human pointing gestures.

Many studies have since shown that when humans point at one of two identical objects to indicate the location of the food, dogs respond by choosing the one pointed more often than we would happen to expect. This may sound like an easy skill, but maybe that’s because it’s so easy for us. The idea that another species can respond to our hint is a big deal.

As with any significant discovery, this topic has been discussed at length. Behavioral questions mainly revolve around whether dogs are learning what this gesture means from spending so much time with us, or whether they can naturally understand that pointing is a way to get their attention to something interesting.

It is difficult to study for practical and ethical reasons. Most adult dogs have a lot of experience with humans. Raising dogs without such contact for the purposes of scientific study would be cruel and totally unacceptable. It would also be pointless because such dogs would be so poorly socialized and so fearful that they would not be able to participate in studies. However, puppies are a different matter.

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In a recent study, researchers used the fact that young puppies have limited experience with humans to examine their ability to respond to human pointing gestures. The 375 participating puppies were between 7.3 and 10.4 weeks old (mean age 8.4 weeks). The puppies were loaned out by Canine Companions for Independence, a non-profit group that provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities. The 203 females and 172 males came from 117 litters. In terms of breed, there were 98 Labrador Retrievers, 23 Golden Retrievers, and 254 Golden Retriever / Labrador Retriever crosses.


The experimenter hid food in one of two places and either (A) pointed and looked at the bait container, or (B) placed any marker next to the bait container. (C) Puppies exceeded chance expectation with both social cues, but not in an olfactory control state. Source: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.03.17.434752

In the study, the pups had a choice of two containers, one of which held a piece of snack food. While one person was holding the pup, another caught the pup’s attention and either pointed and looked at the food reward container, or showed the pup a marker (a small yellow block) and then placed the marker next to the correct container. Based on the dot gesture, the pups chose correctly more than two-thirds of the time. They correctly picked almost three-quarters of the time the person communicated the location of the food by placing the marker.

In control trials, where puppies were not directed and were likely to choose based on the smell of the food, their decisions had a success rate of 48.9 percent – essentially random and slightly worse than you’d expect based on chance alone. These experiments showed that puppies could not find the food by sniffing it out.

Multiple replications did not appear to improve the puppies’ performance. This suggests that they don’t learn the task while studying. (They had either already learned the task even though they were so young, or they could do it without having to study.) Previous studies in adult dogs – both lap dogs and assistance dogs – found similar success rates for the pointing task, and were even higher Success in the marker task.

Another aspect of this study examined the genetic basis for the variation in dogs’ ability to find food based on human information about their location. They found that 43 percent of the variation was due to heredity, confirming a long-standing belief that genetics play a role in dogs’ social and cognitive abilities. This is an important finding. In order for selection to affect a dog’s ability to respond to human communication, as there are many theories about the domestication of dogs, there must be a genetic basis.

It is important to understand that even a natural ability can be adaptive. Hence, it is not that dogs either have an innate ability or need to learn that ability. The idea that behavior is binary is extremely out of date. In fact, an influential 1967 study in my field of ethology had the brand name “Ontogenesis of an Instinct”. To understand why it was so dangerous, it is important to know that ontogeny means evolution.

The study looked at changes in a pattern of behavior that was believed to be instinctive: a gull chick pecks at one point on the beak of an adult gull to trigger feeding. Such species-specific behavior patterns were viewed as innate rather than learned. In a series of studies, Jack P. Hailman, PhD showed that learning took place and that gull chicks improved their chopping accuracy with practice.

The idea that instinctive behavior can be improved and that learning occurs in relation to such behaviors was revolutionary and has changed the field significantly. But here, more than 50 years later, we are still debating whether behavior is instinctive or learned. It is more complex than that, and we have to accept that learning can play a role even in natural and species-prevalent behavior.

One possibility that must always be considered is that dogs have a tendency to learn the ability to follow human gestures. That is, it can be easy and natural for them to learn. In fact, it can be so simple and natural that it can be difficult to find dogs who have not yet learned how to do it. The current study provides evidence that even young puppies who have not had extensive experience with humans can perform this task and – equally interesting and important – that there is a genetic basis for this behavior. However, dogs have not been shown to have this ability in the absence of experience with humans.

The researchers say it fairly in their work: “Taken together, our results show that the social skills of dogs are very important in early development and that the variation in these traits is strongly influenced by genetic factors.”

Source * thebark.com – * https://thebark.com/content/even-puppies-get-point

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Dog Breeds

How to Tell if Your Dog is a Genius

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Anyone who has lived with a dog knows their ability to learn the meanings of words, even those you wouldn’t want them to know. How many times did you have to spell the words “going” or “dinner” to avoid an explosion of excitement?

Previous studies have looked at how non-human animals, including chimpanzees, sea lions, and rhesus monkeys, learn words. But now, a paper published in Nature shows that some dogs learn the name of a new object after hearing it just four times, a skill previously believed to be limited to humans.

The researchers found that this skill was not common in all dogs studied, but may be limited to a few “talented” or well-trained individuals. So how do you know if your own dog is a genius or not?

The study was simple and easy to repeat at home. Just follow the researchers’ steps to see if your dog can learn the names of objects that quickly. But don’t worry if your dog doesn’t have this ability. This can only be due to his race or previous experience.

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Whiskey and Vicky Nina

The new study included a collie named Whiskey who knew 59 objects by name and a Yorkshire terrier named Vicky Nina who knew 42 toys.

The researchers tested each dog’s knowledge of their toy by asking them to bring each toy in turn. Neither the owners nor the experimenters could see the toys so as not to influence the choice of dogs.

Once it was determined that the dogs knew the names of all of their toys, the researchers introduced two new objects, each placed one at a time in a group of familiar toys. In this test, Whiskey chose the new toy every time. Vicky Nina got the right one in 52.5% of the attempts, which is a bit more than chance.

Learn new names

For the next part of the study, the dog was shown a toy, given its name, and then allowed to play with it. After repeating the name of two different new toys four times, the dog was asked to choose one of the two new toys.

No known toys were included in this part of the experiment in order to prevent the dog from choosing the right toy through exclusion. Knowing the name of all the other toys, the dog may choose the right toy, guessing that the unfamiliar word must indicate the unfamiliar toy.

Both dogs opted for the new toy more often than chance would predict, suggesting that they actually learned the name of a new object very quickly. However, her memory deteriorated significantly after 10 minutes and almost completely after an hour. This shows that the new learning needs more reinforcement if it is to be maintained.

Read More: Six Tips For Grooming Your New Puppy According To Science

The test with the new toy was also done by 20 volunteers with their own dogs, but these dogs did not show the ability to learn new names after a few hearings.

The authors suggested that the difference between the performance of the two dogs in their test and the volunteer dogs means that the dog may need to be unusually intelligent or have a lot of name learning experience in order to learn new names quickly.

A dog surrounded by toys.

Clever dogs

It is likely that a combination of factors are at work in these experiments. It is significant that the most common breed used in studies of this species is a border collie, specifically bred to perform audible commands and very highly motivated to perform tasks and please the handler. Yorkshire terriers also enjoy mental and physical stimulation.

Similar tests have been carried out by other research groups, usually using border collies. In 2004, a dog named Rico was found to know the names of 200 different objects, and in 2011 Chaser learned 1,022 unique objects.

Other breeds may be less interested in playing with or fetching toys. For example, greyhounds such as salukis and greyhounds are primarily bred for hunting or racing and are therefore generally more difficult to train. They may not show any interest in toys at all and be far less motivated to please the handler.

Smart dogs can learn new names quickly.

Both test dogs in this study received extensive training through play and social interaction to pay attention to the names and characteristics of the toys. This could make them more likely to notice the differences between new and familiar toys and to care about the verbal cues associated with them.

While their training was not formal, it was nonetheless positive reinforcement training, a powerful method of teaching animals and people. The dogs have undoubtedly learned their skills to a great extent.

It is entirely possible to train all dogs to perform tasks, including learning the names of objects. However, the degree to which they are willing and able to learn and perform the task depends heavily on the breed of dog and the motivation of the individual dog.

If your pet is an Afghan or Saint Bernard, don’t expect them to be interested in spending hours getting toys for you. On the other hand, if you have a border collie or poodle, their abilities can only be limited by your imagination and commitment to playing with them.The conversation

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Dog Breeds

10 Most Challenging Dog Breeds That Are Full Of Love

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All dogs need love, attention, and training – but some dog breeds need a little more than others. Every dog breed has its strengths and weaknesses. That doesn’t make any particular breed less loveable, but these 10 dog breeds may need a lot more patience and obedience training than others.
These breeds tend to be intelligent, independent, and stubborn, making then the least obedient dog breeds. Successfully training one of these breeds should win you an award!

00:00​ – Intro
00:30​ – Afghan Hound
01:19​ – Chow Chow
02:04​ – Basenji
02:45​ – Bulldog
03:24​ – Bloodhound
04:08​ – Pekingese
04:45​ – Dachshund
05:22​ – Welsh Terrier
06:03​ – Beagle
06:37​ – Borzoi
07:10​ – Outro

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