Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Where did all the German Shepherd genes come from?


Almost every “village dog” shows a trace of German Shepherd in its DNA. A range of other “breeds” also show up infrequently including Saluki, Basenji, Doberman Pinscher, Pomeranian, Boxer, Collie, Harrier, Labrador Retriever, Dalmatian,  and others. Considering that all of todays human established breeds originally come from the early natural dogs or by mixing other breeds to get a type wanted it is not surprising to find some shared DNA and the more pariahs that are tested the more are likely to be found. Some also have the same haplogroups and haplotypes  that are found in some “pedigree Canaan dogs”. It would be surprising if that was not the case since the Canaan breed is simply a small group, or family, established by taking in some 30 of these pariahs and breeding them for sale then excluding the rest. “The “breed” can be distinguished in much the same way as a human family that has bred in a closed community could be identified from other humans in the same geographic area. Most dogs in todays breeds are as closely related as second cousins. It is rare to find a dog with no genetic structure linking it to other breeds.

When “pedigree” dogs or unknown dogs that turn out to fit the genetic profile of the “pure” breed are tested then any trace breed found does not get reported. When a new “pariah” is added to the “Canaan breed” kennel clubs only require that the offspring breed true for 3 generations with existing registered dogs. That is equivalent to going back as far as great grandparents, each of  which would show up as 12.5% of the dogs genetic makeup. Once a new pariah is introduced to the breeding program and its offspring “breed true” to and is registered and its DNA added to the breed profile then all the related dogs will of course also test as being “pure Canaan”. If the relative finder on Embark tested 100% pure Canaan dogs is used GSD’s do show up as here:
So how do we explain the presence of this connection.
From Grace Gartel: “Since we first started testing dogs at Embark (and even before then, during our village dog research), the Embark team noticed that most village dogs across the globe share some German Shepherd Dog DNA (when it is less than 5% of their DNA, they are a "trace breed"). To be honest, we're not yet sure exactly why this is, but it definitely is a real biological phenomenon and has been noted by other labs (see for example https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5492993/).
The average amount of relatedness varies across the globe, and the exact amount varies between village dogs from the same region. This could relate to German Shepherd Dogs traveling around the world in the World Wars and other times, but we are not certain of that at this time. As we work to understand village dog genetics and history better, we hope to unravel this mystery!”
The suggestion that GSD’s were introduced by military into the area seems unlikely to explain this. Many other dog breeds have also been introduced and there is no reason to believe GSD’s could have bred so widely with pariahs worldwide that close to all pariahs even in remote areas now have some GSD in them. A more likely explanation would be that it is simply a continuation of genetic strains dating back to ancient times and has remained as a stable pattern. 


4 of 67 village dogs from this region had a trace of Gray wolf in their genetic makeup, 2 from Israel, 1 from Jordan and 1 from Kuwait. No doubt there are others not tested and again this is further evidence of the ancient origin of our desert dogs.
Some potential genetic health issues have been found in pariahs. Apart from the more common degenerative myelopathy (DM), which has become a major issue in the pedigree breed due to inbreeding, others already spotted in lower numbers in the pariahs include von Willebrands type II , factor VII deficiency (a blood clotting deficiency) and “Collie eye” Without fully testing any new pariah intended to be added to the breed BEFORE using them breeders could well be creating future problems. Thousands of desert dog pariahs still survive but, sadly, efforts to eliminate them by “rescuing” them or by Trap Neuter and Release (TNR) or worse,  to shoot or poison them if “successful” could lead to the end of these natural dogs while we still have much to learn from them.




Sunday, January 26, 2020

Dogs of ancient Egypt




Dogs have lived in Egypt for thousands of years and there are many artistic depictions of them. These include both carvings and paintings. Thousands of mummified dogs were placed in one tomb that has been known for some time but only recently properly studied. Many of these dogs may have been killed as part of a ritual but some had received better and more careful treatment and were likely to have been loved pets.

A number of distinctly different breeds were recognised. Rosellini attempted to put together a collection of the various dog types found and produced the following 2 plates. Most modern popular breeds have existed for a mere few hundred years but many people try to link them to Egyptian dogs for prestigious reasons but without factual proof. Today’s Pharaoh hound for example has been proven to be a modern mix designed to resemble the original. Africa’s Basenji is more likely to have descended from Egyptian types. Sighthounds were reserved for the elite people and their descendants have continued until today. Today’s Baladi dog in Egypt is another likely survivor from ancient times and is probably related to the desert pariah found throughout the middle-east and which has probably followed Bedouin and earlier hunter gatherers where ever they moved, throughout the Arabian peninsula and perhaps the ancient fertile crescent where man settled and grew crops. These desert dogs have survived in harsh conditions often without help from man and are the natural stock of today’s Canaan breed selected from these pariahs. The popular and intelligent (one has been shown to know over a thousand words) border collie, with known origins in the English/Scottish border area has also been claimed by some to have desert pariah connections.
















Monday, January 6, 2020

Genetics of registered Canaan dogs versus pariahs.


Here is an interesting illustration of just what the difference is between the pure free living pariah dogs and the pure Canaan “breed” established by simply capturing pariahs and breeding them for sale.  Kiva is a dog I saw as a puppy in 2013 in Israel. Her parents were Janey, a freeborn bitch from Jordan, and Tsuk, a freeborn from Israel. She now lives in America. Based on that information only her gDNA results could be expected to show her as a “village dog”. However she comes out as a Canaan. Looking deeper gives the explanation. Unlike most established breeds that have long been totally closed, the Canaan breed still adds new dogs after they have gone through a kennel club process. In simple terms this is based on the new dog coming from the area i.e. not from other continents where similar looking pariahs exist, then by breeding through 3 generations with the offspring breeding true to the look. The 3rd generation can then be registered as a Canaan with the kennel club. When it comes to DNA identification of any breed this is of course based on what kennel clubs deem to be the breed.  At least two maybe three dogs related to Kiva have been incorporated into the breed and have had their DNA checked by Embark so are therefore now part of the Canaan breed profile. At least one of these was descended from a brother of Janey.  Therefore Kiva now fits the updated Canaan profile.  Sadly many of Janey’s pups from her 3 litters were considered “aggressive” and were killed rather than spend the time needed to work on this. This is NOT the way to go if breeders honestly want to preserve this type of dog.  Starting at bringing in more new dogs they should be fully tested with state of the art methods (Embark being the only available one with pariahs in their database). This would firstly ensure that the dog is not a mixture. It would also ensure that no potential genetically associated health issue is added and could become a problem in future.  There is no simple “marker” that says a dog is a Canaan. The only “Canaan” that may be found living free is one related to the few that have been used to create the “breed” or have been added to them.   There is no reason why a pariah or village dog that tests as a pure Arabian or Middle Eastern village dog should not be added to the Canaan breed if it also has no genetic health issue. Ideally it would be preferable to concentrate on allowing these free living dogs to live where they are and as they have done for thousands of years without human interference, provided they are not in unsafe areas where they are at risk of being killed.

Of the pariahs I tested the close relatives were all from the same pack of dogs living together.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


Coefficient of in breeding of Arabian desert dogs

The mean coefficient of inbreeding (COI) of the 47 dogs tested was 6.255. An inbreeding coefficient of 0 indicates a dog that comes from two unrelated parents; 6.25 is equivalent to mating of first cousins; 12.5 equates to the genetic equivalent of a dog produced from a grandfather to granddaughter mating; 25 would equate to the genetic equivalent of a dog produced from a father to daughter mating.


COI
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
9
10
12
14
17
23
24
29
30
Dogs
3
9
4
6
10
1
2
1
1
2
1
1
2
1
1
1
1






Although some inbreeding is probably inevitable this does not show that it is common and in fact is less than in many pedigree dogs.



Wolfiness as measured by Embark:


Embark explains this as:

Your dog’s Wolfiness Score is not a measure of recent dog-wolf hybridization and does not necessarily indicate that your dog has some recent wolf ancestors. (If your dog has recent wolf ancestors, you will see that in the breed mix report.) Instead, the Wolfiness Score is based on the number of ancient genetic variants your dog has in our unique Wolfiness marker panel. Wolfiness scores up to 10% are almost always due to ancient wolf genes that survived many generations, rather than any recent wolf ancestors. These ancient genes may be a few thousand years old, or may even date back to the original domestication event 15,000 years ago. They are bits of a wild past that survive in your dog!

Your dog’s Wolfiness Score is based on hundreds of markers across the genome where dogs (or almost all of them) are the same, but wolves tend to be different. These markers are thought to be related to "domestication gene sweeps" where early dogs were selected for some trait. Scientists have known about “domestication gene sweeps” for years, but do not yet know why each sweep occurred. By finding rare dogs carrying an ancient variant at a certain marker, we can make associations with behavior, size, metabolism, and development that likely caused these unique signatures of “doggyness” in the genome.

Most dogs have wolfiness scores of 1% or less. We find populations and breeds with higher scores of 2-4% occasionally, and unique dogs with scores of 5% or above more rarely.

Our results:


Mean:  2.83; Low 0.6; High 11.7.

3 were less than 1% (2% of the total); 35 of the rest were less than 4% (72.9% of the total);  6 were above 5% (12.5% of the total).


Friday, October 25, 2019

The importance of interpreting published work in an unbiased manner.




Recently  (22 August 2019) Dr. Tamas Jakkel of the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) gave a talk “Preserving breeds, debunking myths”. (available on their FB page) In it he referred to a publication that he claimed showed that pedigree dogs are healthier than mixed dogs. In reality the exact opposite was true if anyone looks at the original publication. The publication did find that mixed dogs have more gDNA alleles that are associated with known health issues. This can be expected since the mixed dog may well pick up such a gene from both parents who may have different issues. However what he did not say or recognise or at worst deliberately hid was that the mixed dogs were nonetheless healthy because they only had one copy of these mutant genes so were “carriers” rather than “at risk”.

There have also been talks given and blogs written giving as an example that while boxers have the highest numbers of dogs “at risk” for DM they are not the highest to develop DM. There is of course a simple reason if we look a little bit deeper. DM effects dogs as they mature and sadly many boxers simply die too early for DM to show up. "With a median life span of 10.5 years and an expected range of 9 to 12 years, one does not expect a Boxer dog to live far into his teens. Reasons for this include the quite high cancer rates with this breed and heart issues. "  You can find the factual explanation and link to the actual publication here. https://www.instituteofcaninebiology.org/blog/why-do-mixed-breed-dogs-have-so-many-mutations?fbclid=IwAR0TnE_0x7btOwYfS1PFY57W7P6gspw05Fp6bdFe3WXhyEovSvkjF8QfxOg

DM is a big problem in many dogs with Canaan pedigree dogs being among the most effected – certainly in the USA. I have yet to see figures for Canaan dogs in Europe but do know that a number of breeders have experienced this problem.  We have to remember that being at risk ie. 2 copies of the gene,  to quote Embark DNA testing (run by Boyko of Cornell University), “Testing positive is predictive of your dog being affected by this condition, but it is not a final diagnosis nor does it predict when symptoms may occur or the severity of a condition in your dog.”  DM has no cure and is a nasty way for a dog to die so breeders really need to avoid producing at risk dogs. We also need to realise that having only one copy nor indeed none, of some of these health  issues does not mean a dog may not develop a problem since outside factors also have a role to play.

The ONLY way to know the health status of a dog to be used for breeding is to have it tested and not only for issues known to exist but for all, unless of course both parents are known to have been affected, or all dogs in a breed have been previously tested clear. For most breeds of dogs breeders have to work around this. Simply not using any dog with any of the known genetic health problems could lead to the loss of other valuable (to breeders) genes.  So what to do?

If a dog is at risk (2 copies) if bred with a dog known to be clear (0 copies) then ALL the pups will be carriers, fine if they are never bred but important to know if down the line an owner decides to breed. If an at risk dog is bred with a carrier (1 copy) then for each individual puppy born there is a 50/50 chance it will be at risk or a carrier. It is possible all will be at risk or all will be carriers. Not worth the risk.

If a both dogs bred are carriers (1 copy of the gene) then each pup may have a 25% chance of being clear, a 50% chance of being a carrier, or a 25% chance of being at risk. Yes once more it is possible all will be clear, all will be carriers or all will be at risk. There is no way to predict.  Again not worth the gamble if we don’t want to be guilty of producing dogs that will suffer.

If a dog that is a carrier is bred to a dog that is clear then each pup has a 50/50 chance of being clear or a carrier. Again not a problem but needs to be understood and tested if used for breeding.

For most breeds that’s about all that can be done without some form of out breeding.

In the case of the Canaan pedigree dog there remains a chance of bringing in more freeborn dogs, however it is vital that in doing so they should be genetically tested FIRST and not used if they have any genetic health issue. Why go to the trouble and cost of bringing in more problems.  Embark them first!

Breeders also need to accept that the type of pariah dogs that were used to establish the human controlled breed are wide spread and plentiful as genetic evidence shows. Do they test as “Canaan dogs”? No of course not because the pedigree dogs come from little over 30 from a relatively small area, with a few added more recently, so are all now more closely related and we cannot expect  to find those close relatives in the wild, although not impossible. Some of these dogs end up in shelters where they are invariably neutered but if the desire to preserve an ancient type was properly explained I believe there could be co-operation set up to introduce some to the pedigree breeders. This is a unique opportunity for Canaan breeders and could even be used if handled properly in the long term to total phase out even carriers of DM and other genetic issues.

Genetic health issues in free born  “village dogs” versus “Canaan dogs”.




Looking at a greater number of these freeborn dogs than was used to establish the Canaan pedigree breed, none of these dogs were at risk for any of the genetic health problems tested by Embark.

9 of 47 (19%) dogs carried one copy of the allele coding for Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) so 81% were normal. The Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) in USA figures for 1918 show Canaan dogs, a pedigree breed established in the 1930s from village dogs show an alarming rate of 6.4% abnormal (at risk) for DM with 38.2% carriers with only 55.4% normal. Compared to other breeds Canaan dogs ranked a high 22nd. No figures were available for Canaan dogs in Europe but it is known that DM has been a problem in them.


Canaan dogs
Village dogs
Degenerative Myelopathy


At risk
6.40%
0%
Carrier
38.20%
19%
Clear
55.40%
81%





Choroidal hypoplasia, (Collie eye anomaly) was carried by 2 “village dogs”. These 2 dogs from Umm al Quwain, UAE were closely related, sharing 40% of their DNA (half siblings). This does not seem to have been reported in Canaan dogs but surely any new freeborn dogs added should be tested for all known health issues so as not to inadvertently create a problem.

von Willebrand type 1 a bleeding disorder was carried in 1 dog from Sohar, Oman with 1 copy of the allele. Again a reason to fully test all new freeborn dogs before adding them to the pedigree Canaan dogs.

Low normal ALT 25 of 47 dogs (53%) had one copy of the allele coding for low normal ALT and 1 had 2 copies. This does not effect the health of dogs but is important to know since a dog having this, when suspected of having liver problems, could give an ALT result generally considered normal but could in fact be raised for that dog. With a high percentage of this being present at a carrier level. Without testing pedigree Canaan dogs we simply do not know if it is present in the breed or not.




Saturday, September 21, 2019

Some interesting haplotypes found in Arabian village/desert dogs.




Some of the interesting haplotypes found in these dogs with notes from Embark.


H8.1 found in Max from al Khobar and Pavlova from Dubai. H8.1 - Part of the E haplogroup, this haplotype has been spotted in Basenjis, Canaan Dogs, and village dogs spanning from Africa into the Middle East.








H8.4 found in Jimmy from Um al Quwain. H8.4 is found in dogs from the south and east of India.








H9 found in Wiley from Egypt and in Basenjis and African village dogs. Part of the F haplogroup F is the odd duck in the family of domestic dog male lineages. This paternal lineage is genetically closer to wolves, foxes, and jackals than to other dogs. This indicates that it came into the dog population after dogs were originally domesticated, when one particularly attractive male wolf mated with a female dog, over 6,000 years ago. Since then, these dogs found their way into Africa and Mongolia. It hasn't been found outside those areas except in Basenjis.  Basenjis are an iconic African breed, that first made its way to the USA in the early 20th century when a handful of individuals were imported from the Congo. The Basenji is an ancient breed which is distantly related to other dog breeds (most of which are European or Asian), and it has the earliest separation date from all other breed populations. Unsurprisingly, the F lineage has also been found in African village dogs, as well as, surprisingly, some samples from Mongolia. The fact the lineage is found in two very distant places is evidence that it entered the dog population many thousands of years ago.









C1 found in Pack leader, Jenny and Jimmy from um al Quwain. Jenny and Jimmy are siblings and are related to Pack leader.  C1 - Congratulations, C1 is a very exotic female lineage! It is more closely associated with maternal lineages found in wolves, foxes and jackals than with other dog lineages. So it seems dogs in this are group have a common male dog ancestor who, many thousands of years ago, mated with a female wolf!









A158 found in Robin from Dubai. A158 - Part of the large A1e haplogroup, we have detected this haplotype in village dogs in India.











A264 found in Cookie from Jeddah. A264 - Part of the large A1e haplogroup, this haplotype occurs in Irish Wolfhounds and village dogs from Iraq and Lebanon.











B105 found in Honey from Fujairah B105 - Part of the B2 haplogroup, the B105 haplotype occurs most commonly in Middle Eastern Village Dogs. It's a rare find!











B77 found in Tess from Fujairah.  B77 - Part of the B1 haplogroup, this haplotype occurs most frequently in Japanese Chins.



Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Arabian village dogs


ARABIAN VILLAGE DOGS




We now have a separate group listed by Embark as Arabian village dogs, closely related to the earlier single umbrella of Middle-east village dogs.

It is widely accepted at present that domestic dogs originated in south east Asia and that they spread from there in all directions including through the middle east into Europe and Africa. It is only the last couple of hundred years that humans created all the hundreds of breeds we have today by selecting for various traits such as size, temperament etc. In doing so many genetic material was also lost from these so called pure breeds, either deliberately or as a consequence of controlled breeding. Today there are still far more free living dogs in the world than there are these breeds. In much of the western developed world humans have virtually eliminated these real dogs by removing them as undesired vermin. Wherever European colonialist went they considered their breeds as superior to any local dogs and often passed on that idea. Many so called pure breeds are increasingly having genetic health issues and some of these problems are particularly associated with particular breeds. A recent publication looking at genetic health issues in breeds versus mongrels showed that while the mongrels had more of these genes coding for health issues than did breeds they were nonetheless healthier. This is because the mongrels mostly had only one copy of the gene, inherited from one parent while 2 are required to put the dog at risk. Mongrels by definition being dogs born of mixed breed parentage and are not the free living pariahs or village dogs that have never been bred by humans.

The oldest known petroglyphs of dogs working with humans in Saudi Arabia show two morphological types, the well-known Saluki sighthound and the desert pariah as is still to be found throughout the Arabian Peninsula and middle-east. Many of the papers published refer to middle-east dogs but a closer look at them also shows that often the bulk of dogs looked at were from further north.

Following are some facts drawn from studying the DNA of some of the free born dogs in the Arabian Peninsula performed by Embark.

Overall predicted Weight: 12.7 to 25.9 mean 19.1 kilograms, Males mean  20.8 kg, Females mean  18.2kg

Wolfiness is described by Embark as “Most dogs have wolfiness scores of 1% or less. We find populations and breeds with higher scores of 2-4% occasionally, and unique dogs with scores of 5% or above more rarely.” Results for the 47 dogs studied here varied from 0.6 to 25.9 mean 2.86 and only 3 dogs below 1% and 6 dogs above 5%.

Haplogroups and haplotypes: As expected there was considerable diversity and there are probably others since it is impossible to sample every dog .   Notes on their significance copied from Embark.

Paternal haplogroups , A1b=1, D=11, E=3, F=1

The D paternal lineage is very common in well-known populations of dogs. Breeds belonging to the D lineage likely have direct male ancestors that can be traced all the way back to the origin of domestic dogs themselves! One popular breed that commonly sports a D lineage is the Boxer. Boxers were developed in the late 19th century from Mastiff dogs, so it is no surprise that D is well represented among Mastiffs, Bulldogs, as well as Terriers. Intriguingly, D is also found among Lhasa Apsos, an ancient Tibetan breed, and Afghan Hounds. While the presence of this lineage in Polynesia or the New World can be chalked up to interbreeding with European dogs brought during voyages of discovery or later settlement, D is also well represented among village dog populations in the Middle East and Africa. If the fact that we find dogs bearing a D lineage in the Middle East (not to mention the large amount of diversity among Middle Eastern D lineage males) is any indication of ancient residence in that region, then the presence among Oceanian village dogs is peculiar. Rather, it may be that D is part of a broader Eurasian group of ancient paternal lineages which disappeared from the eastern portion of its original range, persisting in the island of New Guinea as well as West Asia and Africa. With the rise of Mastiff breeds, the D lineage received a new life as it became common among many types of working dogs.

The E lineage is sticking around to remind dog lovers of a truly ancient ancestor among all modern domestic dogs. Males with this Y chromosome type are reminiscent of dog-like canids reaching deep into the most recent ice age (the Pleistocene). E is much more common among village dogs than breeds. However, it is found as a minor lineage among the Basenji breed, as well as the ancient dog, which has been present in the Middle East for thousands of years. E is present widely among African village dog populations, as well as among some Mongolian dogs. With its greatest diversity and most frequent occurrences popping up in the Middle East, this lineage extends all the way over into India. Thus, African, South Asian, and Central Asian populations may descend from founders in this region, perhaps somehow tied to the spread of agriculture.

A1b - For most of dog history, this haplogroup was probably quite rare. However, a couple hundred years ago it seems to have found its way into a prized male guard dog in Europe who had many offspring, including the ancestors of many European guard breeds such as Doberman Pinchers, St. Bernards, and Great Danes. Despite being rare, many of the most imposing dogs on Earth have it; strangely, so do many Pomeranians! Perhaps this explains why some Poms are so tough, acting like they're ten times their actual size! This lineage is most commonly found in working dogs, in particular guard dogs. With origins in Europe, it spread widely across other regions as Europeans took their dogs across the world.

F - F is the odd duck in the family of domestic dog male lineages. This paternal lineage is genetically closer to wolves, foxes, and jackals than to other dogs. This indicates that it came into the dog population after dogs were originally domesticated, when one particularly attractive male wolf mated with a female dog, over 6,000 years ago. Since then, these dogs found their way into Africa and Mongolia. It hasn't been found outside those areas except in Basenjis. Basenjis are an iconic African breed, that first made its way to the USA in the early 20th century when a handful of individuals were imported from the Congo. The Basenji is an ancient breed which is distantly related to other dog breeds (most of which are European or Asian), and it has the earliest separation date from all other breed populations. Unsurprisingly, the F lineage has also been found in African village dogs, as well as, surprisingly, some samples from Mongolia. The fact the lineage is found in two very distant places is evidence that it entered the dog population many thousands of years ago.



Paternal haplotype Ha.4/11=1, H7=6, H7.2=5, H8.1=2, H8.4=1, H9=1

 H7 - Part of the D haplogroup, this common haplotype has been found in French Bulldogs, Afghan Hounds, Bull Terriers, and village dogs spanning from South America to Africa and into the South Pacific.

H7.2 - Part of the D haplogroup, the H7.2 haplotype occurs most commonly in Sarplaninacs. We've also spotted it in Middle Eastern Village Dogs and European Village Dogs.

H8.1 - Part of the E haplogroup, this haplotype has been spotted in Basenjis, Canaan Dogs, and village dogs spanning from Africa into the Middle East.

H8.4 - Part of the E haplogroup, we have spotted this rare haplotype in village dogs in southern and eastern India.

Ha.4/11 - Part of the A1b haplogroup, this haplotype occurs most frequently in mixed breed dogs.

H9 - A member of the F haplogroup, this haplotype is found in Basenjis and village dogs throughout Africa.

MATERNAL haplogroups.  A1a = 3, A1d = 5, A1e = 13, B1 = 15, B2 = 3, C1 = 3

A1a is the most common maternal lineage among Western dogs. This lineage traveled from the site of dog domestication in Central Asia to Europe along with an early dog expansion perhaps 10,000 years ago. It hung around in European village dogs for many millennia. Then, about 300 years ago, some of the prized females in the line were chosen as the founding dogs for several dog breeds. That set in motion a huge expansion of this lineage. It's now the maternal lineage of the overwhelming majority of Mastiffs, Labrador Retrievers and Gordon Setters. About half of Boxers and less than half of Shar-Pei dogs descend from the A1a line. It is also common across the world among village dogs, a legacy of European colonialism.

A1d This female lineage can be traced back about 15,000 years to some of the original Central Asian wolves that were domesticated into modern dogs. The early females that represent this lineage were likely taken into Eurasia, where they spread rapidly. As a result, many modern breed and village dogs from the Americas, Africa, through Asia and down into Oceania belong to this group! This widespread lineage is not limited to a select few breeds, but the majority of Rottweilers, Afghan Hounds and Wirehaired Pointing Griffons belong to it. It is also the most common female lineage among Papillons, Samoyeds and Jack Russell Terriers. Considering its occurrence in breeds as diverse as Afghan Hounds and Samoyeds, some of this is likely ancient variation. But because of its presence in many modern European breeds, much of its diversity likely can be attributed to much more recent breeding.

A1e - This female lineage likely stems from some of the original Central Asian wolves that were domesticated into modern dogs starting about 15,000 years ago. It seemed to be a fairly rare dog line for most of dog history until the past 300 years, when the lineage seemed to “explode” out and spread quickly. What really separates this group from the pack is its presence in Alaskan village dogs and Samoyeds. It is possible that this was an indigenous lineage brought to the Americas from Siberia when people were first starting to make that trip themselves! We see this lineage pop up in overwhelming numbers of Irish Wolfhounds, and it also occurs frequently in popular large breeds like Bernese Mountain Dogs, Saint Bernards and Great Danes. Shetland Sheepdogs are also common members of this maternal line, and we see it a lot in Boxers, too. Though it may be all mixed up with European dogs thanks to recent breeding events, its origins in the Americas makes it a very exciting lineage for sure!

B1 - B1 is the second most common maternal lineage in breeds of European or American origin. It is the female line of the majority of Golden Retrievers, Basset Hounds, and Shih Tzus, and about half of Beagles, Pekingese and Toy Poodles. This lineage is also somewhat common among village dogs that carry distinct ancestry from these breeds. We know this is a result of B1 dogs being common amongst the European dogs that their conquering owners brought around the world, because nowhere on earth is it a very common lineage in village dogs. It even enables us to trace the path of (human) colonization: Because most Bichons are B1 and Bichons are popular in Spanish culture, B1 is now fairly common among village dogs in Latin America.

C1 - Congratulations, C1 is a very exotic female lineage! It is more closely associated with maternal lineages found in wolves, foxes and jackals than with other dog lineages. So it seems dogs in this group have a common male dog ancestor who, many thousands of years ago, mated with a female wolf! This is not a common lineage in any breed, though a good number of German Shepherds and Doberman Pinchers are C1. It is also found in breeds as diverse as Peruvian Inca Orchids and Pekingese; it is rarely found amongst Labrador Retrievers, Border Collies, Siberian Huskies, or Cocker Spaniels. Despite its fascinating origins, it is widely distributed around the globe, and even shows up frequently among Peruvian village dogs. It almost certainly survived at low frequency in Europe for millennia and then was dispersed outside of Europe by colonialism, though not as successfully as some other lineages.



Haplotype: A158 = 1, A16/17/99/100 = 1, A233 = 3, A247 = 4, A264 = 2, A228 = 1, A2a = 1, A361/409/611 = 3, A293 = 1, A414/643 = 1, A424 = 1, A435 = 1, A437 = 4, A494 = 1, B105 = 3, B2a=12, B77 = 1, C1/2 = 1, C34 = 2.

A158 - Part of the large A1e haplogroup, we have detected this haplotype in village dogs in India.

A16/17/99/100 - Part of the large A1a haplogroup, this common haplotype is found in village dogs across the globe. Among breed dogs, we find it most frequently in Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundlands, German Shepherd Dogs, and Golden Retrievers.

A233 - Part of the large A1e haplogroup, we see this haplotype in village dogs across Central Africa through the Middle East and into South Asia. As for breeds, we see it in the highest frequency among Irish Wolfhounds, with some detections in Greyhounds, Posavac Hounds, and Beagles as well.

A247 - Part of the large A1d haplogroup, this common haplotype occurs in village dogs all over the world. Among the 32 breeds we have sampled it in, the most common occurrences include Boxers, Labrador Retrievers, and Papillons.

A264 - Part of the large A1e haplogroup, this haplotype occurs in Irish Wolfhounds and village dogs from Iraq and Lebanon.

A228 – Part of the large A1e haplogroup, we have spotted this haplotype in village dogs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in the Dominican Republic. Among breeds, we see it frequently in big dogs like Saint Bernards, Leonbergers, and Great Danes. However, we also see it in small breeds including wire Fox Terriers and Rat Terriers. That’s a pretty wide size range!

A2a - Part of the large A1e haplogroup, we see this haplotype in village dogs up and down the Americas as well as French Polynesia. Among the breed dogs we have detected it in, we see it most frequently in English Springer Spaniels, Papillons, and Collies.

A361/409/611 -  Part of the A1b haplogroup, this haplotype occurs most frequently in German Shepherd Dogs, Poodles, and Shiloh Shepherds.

A393 - Part of the large A1a haplogroup, this haplotype occurs most frequently in Yorkshire Terriers, Russel-type Terriers, and Tibetan Terriers.

A414/643 - Part of the A1b haplogroup, this haplotype occurs most frequently in the English Springer Spaniels.

A424 - Part of the A1d haplogroup, this haplotype occurs most frequently in American Pit Bull Terriers, Barbets, and Staffordshire Terriers.

A435 - Part of the A1d haplogroup, this haplotype occurs most frequently in American Pit Bull Terriers, Barbets, and Staffordshire Terriers.

A437 - Part of the A1e haplogroup, the A437 haplotype occurs most commonly in Brussels Griffons, Armenian Gamprs and Russell-type Terriers. We've also spotted it in East Asian Village Dogs, Middle Eastern Village Dogs and American Village Dogs.

B105 - Part of the B2 haplogroup, the B105 haplotype occurs most commonly in Middle Eastern Village Dogs. It's a rare find!

B2a - Part of the large B1 haplogroup, we primarily see this haplotype in Salukis and village dogs in and around the Fertile Crescent (Egypt through the Middle East).

B77 - Part of the B1 haplogroup, this haplotype occurs most frequently in Japanese Chins.

C1/2 - Part of the C1 haplogroup, this haplotype occurs most frequently in Bouvier des Flandres, Collies, and Yorkshire Terriers.

C34 - Part of the C1 haplogroup, the C34 haplotype occurs most commonly in Collies, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs and Teddy Roosevelt Terriers. We've also spotted it in European Village Dogs and American Village Dogs.

Genetic health issues

None of these dogs were at risk for any of the genetic health problems tested by Embark.

Carriers:

9 of 47 (19%) dogs carried one copy of the allele coding for Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) so 81% were normal. The Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) in USA figures for 1918 show Canaan dogs, a pedigree breed established in the 1930s from village dogs show an alarming rate of 6.4% abnormal (at risk) for DM with 38.2% carriers with only 55.4% normal. Compared to other breeds Canaan dogs ranked a high 22nd.

2 carried one copy of the allele coding for choroidal hypoplasia, (Collie eye anomaly) . These 2 dogs from Umm al Quwain, UAE were closely related, sharing 40% of their DNA (half siblings).

1 dog from Sohar, Oman carried 1 copy of the allele for von Willebrand type 1 a bleeding disorder.

25 of 47 dogs (53%) had one copy of the allele coding for low normal ALT and 1 had 2 copies. This is important to know since a dog having this when suspected of having liver problems could give an ALT result generally considered normal but could in fact be raised for that dog.

Sadly the European idea of dog breeds and their “purity” is still wide spread in thinking. Right now there is a push in the emirate of Umm al Quwain to remove all of the several hundred free roaming dogs and neuter them. This may be done with the best intention but ultimately will lead to the destruction these ancient types that have survived for thousands of years without human intervention.

The Canaan dog breed is an attempt to preserve this ancient type but sadly fails to recognise, even today with DNA testing available, that there are potential health problems. The breed is based on around 30 dogs selected mainly on looks and already DM has shown up, particularly in some breeders who have been inbreeding, something breeders prefer to call line breeding. While not all the free living dogs have the Canaan look, many do and there is still a golden opportunity for breeders worldwide to throw out the outdated kennel club ideas and concentrate on developing one of the healthiest breeds in the world, which it is not at present. This could be done by selecting the required look from these dogs wherever they are found and testing their DNA first to ensure only dogs that do not carry any known genetic problem are used. It is highly unlikely that any matching the Canaan registered dogs DNA will be found because all the registered breed dogs are by now probably already related closely, in human terms as second cousins or closer. Instead efforts to introduce new blood continue to look for dogs with the “correct” look only without checking their DNA to check that they are not mixed and that they carry no mutant genes.

Since many of todays breeds would have come from the early dogs it is no surprise to see some uncommon or even rare haplotypes associated with other dogs turn up. All of these dogs show a trace of German shepherd in them as well as a smattering of other breeds. This is not an indication of recent mixed breeding but an indication of the presence of ancient ancestral connection of all dogs.