It is a well known phenomenon among owners and breeders that purebred dogs exhibit a decrease in life
expectancy as the breed size increases. Researchers at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary
Medicine believe that this is due in part to underlying genetic factors. The long-term objectives of
their work include assessment of genes most likely to affect the aging process in the dog. These
scientists plan to characterize genes in the dog that appear to be linked to the aging process in an
attempt to increase not only the lifespan of our canine companions, but to also improve the quality
of life for dogs in the geriatric population.
On-going work is focused on defining single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which are single base pair
changes, in 7 genes of interest selected from the previously mentioned set of genes. Analysis of these
SNPs across various breeds has the potential to identify genes that cause larger dogs to experience a
shorter life span in comparison with their smaller counterparts. DNA samples have been collected, in the
form of buccal swabs, from dogs of different sizes and different life expectancies. These samples will
be used to compare the aforementioned genes between these diverse breeds in hopes of discovering genetic
factors that contribute to the aging process in the dog.
By now, you are probably wondering, "What can I do to help?" These scientists are in constant need of
willing participants, and are asking for your help. DNA samples, to be taken in the form of buccal
swabs, are needed from unrelated Giant Schnauzers (for research purposes, dogs are considered unrelated
if they have no common grandparents). Please email Sarah Canterberry to
obtain a collection kit(s) which includes an information form, swabs, and postage paid return envelope.
Please indicate the number of dogs you would like to enroll in the study and include your mailing address.
Your contribution to this on-going research for the improvement of our petsí lives is greatly appreciated.
For additional information on this and many other on-going canine research projects at Texas A&M University
College of Veterinary Medicine see the Canine Genetics Research Laboratory website at
We are particularly interested in the Schnauzers and are in need of DNA samples from Giant Schnauzers that
can be taken in the form of cheek swabs. We would prefer samples from unrelated dogs; however, the only
requirement for participation is that dogs are AKC registered, or were eligible for registration, and have
pedigree information. If you would like to take an in depth look at our study, please visit our
website at http://www.cvm.tamu.edu/cgr/canine_aging.htm.