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?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Jul 23, 2013 at 2:47

1 Answer 1


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).


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .