Genetic analysis of lifespan in Irish wolfhounds
MetadataShow full item record
- Master’s theses (BioVit) 
Irish Wolfhounds are an ancient and large dog breed. Their lifespan is an average of 7 years only, which is associated with their size. The genetics behind the short lifespan and the combination with different known diseases in this breed is poorly understood. We used data from the Irish wolfhound database (IWDB) on 118095 Irish wolfhounds of which 10122 have a known longevity and with 6057 of these having a known cause of death (COD) and 10144 a known sire and dam. Longevity and COD were analysed separately and together using sex, birthyear, country of origin and inbreeding coefficient in the model, to estimate heritabilities, maternal effects, genetic variances and breeding values. Genetic and residual correlations between longevity and COD were estimated as well. Both longevity (0.27) and COD (0.04-0.16) were moderately heritable. Longevity had a standard deviation of 482 days while the standard deviation of COD ranged from 0.05 to 0.19. However, most COD did not have a genetic or residual correlation to longevity that was significantly different from zero, they are mostly independent traits. Only heart disease, infections and accident/injury/poison/surgery complications were negatively significantly correlated to longevity and old age/weak rear was positively significantly correlated to longevity. These results show that there is a large potential to breed for longevity and against disease occurrence in Irish wolfhounds.