As we know, not all dogs are alike. When it comes to how much hair they shed, the same is also very true! In certain dogs, the amount of shedding is far greater than in others. In fact, some breeds like Poodles shed very little, if at all. Research has identified a particular variant in a gene (MC5R) that can impact the degree of shedding in various breeds.
As is the case with many traits, the degree of shedding is not strictly regulated by a single gene, but rather by a combination of genes functioning together. Further research has identified a link between shedding (SD locus) and furnishings or improper coats (F locus). Thus, understanding the dog's furnishings and shedding genotype will help determine the dog’s overall degree of shedding (or lack thereof).
The SD locus determines the scale of how much shedding there will be. It is closely tied to the furnishings gene. One copy of the SD variant (SD/n) results in low to moderate shedding. Meanwhile, two copies of the variant (SD/SD) results in the higher propensity to shed. Dogs that are negative for furnishings (n/n) also have a higher propensity to shed, while dogs that are F/F for furnishings are considered to be less prone to shedding. Dogs that are both SD/SD (high shedding) for shedding and negative (n/n) for furnishings are the most prone to shedding while dogs that are n/n for shedding and F/F for furnishings are the least prone to shedding of any genotype. Different combinations of genotypes will result in varying amounts of shedding.
|Dog has two copies of the shedding allele. The dog will have a higher propensity towards shedding.
|Dog carries one copy of the shedding allele. The dog will have an average propensity towards shedding.
|Dog has no copies of the shedding allele. The dog will have a low propensity towards shedding.
Hayward JJ, Castelhano MG, Oliveira KC, Corey E, Balkman C, Baxter TL, Casal ML, Center SA, Fang M, Garrison SJ, Kalla SE, Korniliev P, Kotlikoff MI, Moise NS, Shannon LM, Simpson KW, Sutter NB, Todhunter RJ, Boyko AR. Complex disease and phenotype mapping in the domestic dog. Nat Commun 2016 Jan; 7:10460. [PubMed: 26795439]