Pugs turn out to be small-dog catalysts
April 27, 2017 7:14 AM   Subscribe

From the 80-kilogram Great Dane to the 1-kilogram tiny teacup poodle, there seems to be a dog for everyone. Now, the largest genetic analysis to date has figured out how those breeds came to be, which ones are really closely related, and what makes some dogs more susceptible to certain diseases.
posted by Etrigan (18 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Like dogs, don't have one, came to ask about what looks to be the most distant on the chart, is there a Basenji/Boxer? Not common but it seems there are a few.

Wondering if good science will resolve some issue of overbreeding.
posted by sammyo at 7:42 AM on April 27, 2017

Sammyo, from my understanding science has that at least largely figured out already - it's (some) breeders who refuse to recognize non-'pure' breeds who continue to perpetuate that stuff. There's an increasing movement against that among other breeders though.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:53 AM on April 27, 2017

Direct link to primary result chart. The article is available in full text and includes some downloadable Excel spreadsheets but Google Sheets couldn't view them.
posted by Nelson at 7:56 AM on April 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

Bulldogs are about as far out on the spectrum as I expected. Although I'm not sure this one isn't part harp seal.
posted by azpenguin at 8:15 AM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

I find it fascinating that German Shepherds are more closely related to Peruvian Hairless dogs than they are to Belgian Malinois and other shepherding breeds...
posted by suelac at 8:18 AM on April 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

Darn, no Carolina dogs!
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:19 AM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Carolina dogs are best dogs.

That said, they're all good dogs, laz.
posted by The otter lady at 8:23 AM on April 27, 2017 [11 favorites]

Fascinating. So my mini schnauzer is related to standard schnauzers, yet giant schnauzers are miles away and related to rottweilers and dobermans?
posted by dowcrag at 8:26 AM on April 27, 2017

Interesting to see Poodles and Portuguese Water Dogs so far away from retrievers, given how they make such good bird dogs.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:44 AM on April 27, 2017

Am I correct in saying this is a parsimony tree, not an ancestry tree? It looks like cross-breeding has done a number on the new world dogs, for example nestling the Chihuahua in amongst a bunch of Terriers (probably due to the Toy Fox Terrier's ancestry).
posted by Leon at 8:45 AM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Is there a convenient guide for how to read cladograms? Because a naive reading, which is all I can do now, says that the chart says that corgis (around a thousand years old) are somehow "newer" than Australian cattle dogs, which were developed in the 19th century. And I'm sure the creators of the chart don't intend it to be read with what would be obvious impossibilities like that.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:04 AM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think it's that they were bred from an older category of dogs, not that they as a specific breed are older.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:18 AM on April 27, 2017

We recently adopted a sort of spaniel-looking rescue dog, and my wife got a DNA test done. Turns out one parent was half chihuahua, half shih-tzu mix, and the other parent was half chihuahua, half miniature pinscher mix. (I don't know of that makes our dog half chihuahua, or maybe two quarters chihuahua.) It's interesting to note on this how closely related the min-pin and chihuahua parts of his ancestry are related, versus the shih-tzu, and I wonder how he ended up looking like a small spaniel.
posted by curiousgene at 9:42 AM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

12/10 excellent chart, would learn about dogs again.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 11:33 AM on April 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

One day science will unmask the Ur-dog. 16ft tall, covered in scales, nuclear powered, and constantly screaming.

Then the world will end.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:40 AM on April 27, 2017 [5 favorites]

Could somebody please explain or point me to an explanation on how to read circular graphs like that? Thanks.
posted by Mesaverdian at 6:24 PM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think you start in the middle and spiral counterclockwise out. The various color branches show where one line of dogs begat others.
posted by The otter lady at 9:44 PM on April 29, 2017

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