Phenotypic stereotypes are traits, often polygenic, that have been stringently selected to conform to specific criteria. In dogs, Canis familiaris, stereotypes result from breed standards set for conformation, performance (behaviors), etc. As a consequence, phenotypic values measured on a few individuals are representative of the breed stereotype. We used DNA samples isolated from 148 dog breeds to associate SNP markers with breed stereotypes. Using size as a trait to test the method, we identified six significant quantitative trait loci (QTL) on five chromosomes that include candidate genes appropriate to regulation of size (e.g., IGF1, IGF2BP2 SMAD2, etc.). Analysis of other morphological stereotypes, also under extreme selection, identified many additional significant loci. Less well-documented data for behavioral stereotypes tentatively identified loci for herding, pointing, boldness, and trainability. Four significant loci were identified for longevity, a breed characteristic not under direct selection, but inversely correlated with breed size. The strengths and limitations of the approach are discussed as well as its potential to identify loci regulating the within-breed incidence of specific polygenic diseases.


  • Communicating editor: M. Johnston

  • Received February 5, 2008.
  • Accepted March 12, 2008.
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