Thursday, November 4, 2010

Book of the Month

My pick for Book of the Month for November is "Genetics of the Dog" by Malcolm B. Willis. Just based on the title alone I'm sure that you're thinking this book would be rather dry. I am happy to say that the author does an excellent job of making a potentially mind boggling topic pretty easy for the layman to understand and makes it interesting to boot!

This book gives a general insight into the variety of dog attributes that are genetically linked, and generally how they are. Less tangible things such as temperament and more tangible aspects such as coat color are all discussed. While there are sometimes complicated equations that go along with figuring out the heritability of some things, huge chunks of the book are not devoted to this. The author was well aware that the majority of people looking to gain information from this book were not likely to have an extensive background in genetics. Therefore, the equations are more of a passing interest in the book. Because they are part of figuring out the genetic likelihood of some things, they are included. Otherwise, they are skimmed over.

I found the information quite interesting and Willis brought up topics of interest to dog breeders that I hadn't really considered as potentially genetically linked. Things such as litter size or fertility. While a lot of these aspects have environmental factors that play a large part, the genetic possibilities are also discussed. It also gives valuable insight into why some breed standards are written the way they are.

Overall, I thought it was a very interesting book for anyone who is looking to get their hands wet in the sometimes pretty complex world of dog genetics. As a caveat I will say that the topic of coat color inheritance is generally discussed with the understanding that there are other authors who have devoted entire books to that specific topic. I would most definitely recommend this book!

1 comment:

Amy / Layla the Malamute said...

Very interesting. I'm very interested in genetics so I'll make sure to check it out.