Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've asked this question about dogs not so long ago, and the short answer was - dogs are the most diverse looking species of mammals because they got a small number of genes that have a big impact on appearance.

I would like to ask a follow up question- differences in appearance are easy to notice, and I would like to learn about other traits that might be genetically based.

Are there other major differences between dog breeds, like longevity, cognitive performance, friendliness, etc? Or are all dogs more or less the same in traits other than appearance?

Are there plots of traits like these among different dog breeds that identify outliers?

share|improve this question
Since diversity isn't absolute, or doesn't have a maximum, it might be good to compare it to a wild species, like wolves, or something similar with a broader range and larger population. – naught101 Jul 23 '13 at 2:47
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Dogs are highly diverse in their patterns of copy number variation (variation in the number of copies of different genes). This has been shown to be probably related to the diversity in morphology. It would thus presumably also affect other traits such as those that you list, and it seems to at least have been shown for disease susceptibility. Interestingly, wolves have less copy number variation on average than dogs (citation).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.