While we know that our relationship with dogs is truly the world’s oldest friendship, researchers are still trying to determine how it started, and, in some cases, who domesticated whom. Regardless, it’s clear that our two species have had profound effects on one another.
The connections between us feel bone deep, and now, it seems, science is validating that perception. The results of a new study, “Evidence of large genetic influences on dog ownership in the Swedish Twin Registry has implications for understanding domestication and health associations,” suggest that an affinity for dogs has a genetic basis.
The team, which included researchers from Uppsala University and the University of Liverpool, was led by Swedish molecular epidemiologist Tove Fall, famous for the 2015 study demonstrating that the risk of childhood asthma is reduced by early contact with dogs.