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Golden Retrievers Defined Scientifically

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Golden Retrievers Defined Scientifically

I know that everyone who reads the Golden Retriever Wire loves Golden Retrievers with passion.

What if science could explain what makes Golden Retrievers so irresistible and different from the other breeds…

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Veterinarian Jessica Perry Hekman, who’s also a PhD student in a genomics lab at the the University of Illinois, recently published a piece on dog breeds and genetics on her terrific blog, Dog Zombie. Though it focuses primarily on what happened when Victorians became obsessed with breedings dogs for looks rather than function (spoiler: bad diseases), Hekman also hinted at the relationship between genetics and personality, writing that she “can own a series of golden retrievers and predict with fair accuracy how each of them will look and act.”

Intriguing, no? The Huffington Post caught up with Hekman to find out more.

The Huffington Post: What makes a golden retriever a golden retriever? Is it looks, or genetics, or…?

Jessica Perry Hekman: Genetics. They are all genetically similar. This makes them look similar — and, to some extent, act similar.

Does being a purebred golden retriever guarantee that a dog will have certain personality traits? How much of a dog’s personality is determined or influenced by breed?

Nothing guarantees certain personality traits, unfortunately. Breed and personality are certainly related, as anyone knows who knows dogs. But there are always exceptions.

Goldens are known as personable and biddable, but there are goldens out there who aren’t particularly friendly and goldens who aren’t particularly trainable.

Go to the next page to read the rest of the article!

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