Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Do good dogs live longer?

Listen up dogs--Staying on your best behavior could allow you to live longer!  At least that is what researcher Vincent Careau of Université de Sherbrooke of Canada has to say.  He is an evolutionary biologist that decided see if their was any link between longevity and behavior in dogs.  Since modern domesticated dogs are mostly the product of artificial selection (as opposed to natural selection), he says we can study this in a way that wouldn't work with wild animals.

Careau's research indicates that "More obedient dogs like German shepherds and bichon frisés live long for their size...Hard-to-train dogs like beagles and Pomeranians generally die earlier than do other, similarly sized breeds."  He found that longevity was related to energy expenditure--for example, Labs tend to expend less energy than other dogs their size.  Franjo Weissing of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands says that this is a little like the live-fast-die-young saying.

What does that mean for mutts like me? Sure we all know a lab that has low-energy expenditure (read:lazy), but what does that mean for poorly behaved german shepherds or well behaved beagles?  I think the research is inconclusive...

Wags to my 12 year old buddy Shep (a perfectly behaved german shepherd) for the tip. [Image courtesy of PhotoBucket]

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1 comment:

  1. My dogs say Vincent Careau is in the pocket of people who like cleanliness and structure in their lives. They also feel there is a conspiracy between dog trainers and companies who make collars, leashes and other restraining devices to oppress the masses and depress the spirit of dogs. They are sure that if they "dig" into Dr. Careau's project, they will find that it was supported by Cat Fancy Magazine and cat lovers from all over the world.

    As their human (and a dog trainer), I told them to go lay down!

    (this was said tongue-in-cheek and was not meant to cast aspersions against Dr. Careau and his reserch).