If you ever wondered why there are so many chubby Labradors, science has the answer. It turns out that one of the most popular and human-friendly dogs carry genetics that makes them feel hungry all the time.
Labradors are loyal and energetic dogs and they are also known for their intelligence. Namely, they were ranked 7 in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs. They have an advanced ability to learn and they’re used for detection and therapy work. They like humans and we love them because they’re easy to train, they’re playful, but also because of the way they look, of course.
They have an advanced ability to learn and they’re used for detection and therapy work. They like humans and we love them because they’re easy to train, they’re playful, but also because of the way they look, of course.
If you’ve ever had a Labrador, you know how greedy they are for food. Whenever you come home, they will welcome you at the door just for the food, even if they just ate. But, there is a scientific reason why they’re always hungry.
A new study claims that Labradors carry a special gene which makes them feel hungry all the time. The obsession with food is a result of a genetic variation, scientists discover. Not all Labradors carry this genetic variation, but a significant number does.
The research that was conducted at the University of Cambridge suggests that this genetic variation might be the only reason why Labradors always want more food and it doesn’t have to do with them being spoiled or the quality of the food they eat.
The study included more than 300 Labradors and their owners. The owners had to fill in a questionnaire about the exercise and food routines of their dogs. It was discovered that owners don’t have anything to do with their dogs being overweight.
The main researcher, Dr. Eleanor Raffan, said that the genetic variation is a common occurrence and the dogs who carry it are impacted significantly. As a result, Labradors are more often overweight compared to other breeds. But, one special type of Labradors has even higher chances to carry this genetic variation.
“It’s not a straightforward picture as the variant is even more common among flat coat retrievers, a breed not previously flagged as being prone to obesity,” Dr. Raffan adds.
The scientists discovered that almost 25% of Labradors have this genetic variation. The so-called POMC made dogs weigh approximately 2 kg more than their counterparts without the genetic variation.
Interestingly, researchers suggest that the exact gene that makes Labradors feel hungry also makes them so friendly and compliant. So, it seems that Labradors are perfect since they’re both cute and chubby and loveable.
However, having an overweight dog might not be only fun and games. It can put the animal to many different health risks, so it might be difficult to make sure your Labrador is both happy and healthy.
A research that’s being carried out at the University of Liverpool has the aim to suggest treatments for ligament damage in Labradors, which is a common condition of overweight dogs.
Researchers are analyzing the bone structure of the breed using advanced technology to learn more about the condition and find a way to overcome the problem. Some future treatments might include specialized implants that would help overweight dogs in their walking.
In any case, owners of overweight Labradors can be sure that it’s not their fault that their dog is fat and most probably, their dog is in the one-quarter that has the genetic variation.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.