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Topics - lburrell

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I wanted to cross-post this here.  I received the announcement on another dog list I am on and it seemed worthwhile to pass on.

Dear DogPsych list members,

The Canine Behavioral Genetics Project (
K9BehavioralGe netics/) is a joint effort between Dr. Steven Hamilton,
MD, PhD, at UCSF, and Dr. Karen Overall, VMD, PhD, at the University
of Pennsylvania.  I’m writing to introduce the project, and to invite
everyone to join an email list related to the project.

Defined narrowly, the main goal of the Canine Behavioral Genetics
Project is to explore the biological basis of behavioral problems in
dogs, particularly those behaviors associated with panic and
anxiety.  We hope that a better understanding of the genetic
background behind problem behaviors will help design better
treatments and lead to better outcomes for dogs.  Broader goals
include an understanding of the relationship between genes and normal
(including breed specific or working behaviors) as well as
pathological behavior, an assessment of genetic diversity within
domestic dogs as a whole.

We are currently collecting data to add to our sample (at last count,
around 1000 dogs of about 20 different breeds, and also mixes).  In
particular, we are looking for are dogs who either appear or are
known to be (diagnosed as) behaviorally affected -- dogs who suffer
from panic, anxiety, and fear issues (i.e., but not limited to,
separation anxiety, noise phobias, fear aggression), and also (if
available) dogs related to affected dogs (relatives need not be
fearful themselves).  Because it would be so valuable to have data
from families as well as individuals, the ideal subjects for the
project are purebred dogs with known pedigrees (mixed-breed dogs are
also valuable if both parents are of known breeding, or at least of
known breed).

If you have a dog who might be a good candidate for this study, or
know dogs who might be good candidates for this study, please
consider participating -- the process is very simple.  Sample kits
can be requested for free online, at the study website (http://  They consist of
cheek swabs for taking DNA samples (totally non-invasive) and a very
short questionnaire.  If a pedigree is available, we also request a
CONFIDENTIAL.  And if you know people who might be interested, spread
the word.  More data is better than less data!

I have set up a Yahoo! email list dedicated to the project: at http:// om/group/K9BehavioralGenetics/.  On this list, we will
host discussions related to the project, post announcements, and let
interested folks keep up with the latest news.  Questions, comments,
and suggestions regarding the project are very welcome. 
Unfortunately, we will not be able to address questions about
specific behaviors or specific dogs, but luckily there are other
resources for that purpose such as the DogPsych list.  More resources
can be found in the “links” section of the K9BehavioralGe netics
Yahoo! page.

A little bit about me, the list owner: I am a postdoctoral fellow
devoted to this project in Dr. Hamilton's lab at UCSF.  I became
personally interested in canine behavior when I adopted a
behaviorally-challenged adolescent Border Collie in September 2000,
and got to know Dr. Overall rather well as a result.  Solo forced me
to learn, fast, about behavior, and training, and management; he
became my soulmate, my greatest teacher, and the reason I got into
agility, flyball, and sheepdog trialing.  This project is meaningful
to me not only in an academic, but also in a personal sense.

If you have questions you may email me directly at the address in
my .sig.  Please feel free to forward this message to other folks or
email lists.  Thanks very much!

Project website:
To join the Yahoo! list:
K9BehavioralGe netics/join


Melanie Lee Chang, Ph.D. *
Canine Behavioral Genetics Project
University of California, San Francisco

Patt Wiegand

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