Image of Kennel Club logo

Understanding canine genetics


The sum of a dog’s genetic material can be thought of as a cook book which is split into chapters containing recipes. These recipes are the dog's genes and the letters that make up each recipe is its DNA. Just as a recipe can be used to make a dish of food, a gene can be used to make a protein, a building block of a dog's body. Read the following information to find out what DNA is, how a gene is made and how these translate into a dog’s body. This section will provide you with what happens when genes, or translation goes wrong and how this can impact on a dogs health.

DNA, Genes and Chromosomes
Learn about the basic units of inheritance.
Traits and inheritance
Find out how a dogs genes relate to what they look and act like.
From DNA to protein
Discover how DNA produces the building blocks of life.
Mutations and disease
Understand how and why errors occur with DNA and what the consequences can be.
Breeds and their gene pool
What effects the size of a breed’s gene pool and what are the consequences of a shrinking gene pool.
Inbreeding and health
What is inbreeding and how is it linked to health?
The impact of popular sires
Why can the number of times a stud is used have an impact on the health of a breed?
Join the Kennel Club Academy for FREE
Watch a number of FREE short films on the science behind dog breeding and how to breed responsibly.