Canine Behavioral Genetics Project


The Canine Behavioral Genetics Project is a collaboration between Dr. Steven Hamilton of UCSF and Dr. Karen Overall of the University of Pennsylvania.

Study Design

The primary purpose of the project is to identify and understand the genetic background of panic, anxiety related disorders, compulsive disorders, and aggression in dogs. Our project is currently recruiting participants and collecting DNA samples from both purebred and mixed-breed dogs.

DNA kits containing cheek (buccal) swabs will be sent to you upon request.

Principal Investigators

Participant Requirements

We are looking for:

  • Behaviorally affected dogs: Dogs that suffer or appear to suffer from panic, fear, anxiety, compulsive behaviors, and aggression. Examples of such behaviors include (but are not limited to) separation anxiety, noise phobias, fears of people, places, or other dogs, and aggression toward people or other dogs.
  • Family members of behaviorally affected dogs: Members of a known, accessible family (including siblings, parents, grandparents, etc.) related to one or more behaviorally affected dogs. Pedigrees, if available, are highly useful to this research, although not necessary for participation.
  • Non-behaviorally affected dogs: Dogs that do not display any anxiety related behaviors are welcome to participate in this study. These dogs are necessary for a comparative sample, as well as to assess diversity and population structure both within and between breeds.

Contact Info

Melanie Chang - Contact Information


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