For the 25th year in a row, the American Kennel Club has named the Labrador Retriever as America's favorite dog. It’s not hard to see why, either, as Labrador Retrievers are renowned for their loyalty, gorgeous nature, and cuddly personalities. If your Labrador could be deemed as a little too cuddly, though, there may now be an explanation as to why.
A new study by the University of Cambridge has found that Labrador Retrievers are genetically more likely to be obsessed by food, and to over-eat. Eleanor Raffan, a geneticist at the university, explained: “What we've found in the study is that there really is a hard-wired reason for some Labradors to be completely obsessed by food.” Indeed, in a study of Labrador genetics, Raffan and her team discovered that a variant gene named POMC, which can prevent dogs from feeling full after eating, was far more prevalent in the heavier dogs that they looked at, while just two of the eighteen “lean” test subjects displayed the same mutation. Once the study was widened to include more dogs in the UK and the U.S., Raffan noted that the variant gene was far more likely to be present in dogs that could be described as “overweight.”
The results of the study may aid future weight loss treatments for overweight dogs. Raffan explained: "The reason these dogs become overweight is largely because of the amount they eat, not because their metabolism is different. It just means that they are so much more obsessed by food. If you own one of these dogs, you are up against it if you try to keep them slim."
There you have it: some Labradors really can’t recognize when they’re full. Be sure to speak to your veterinarian or one of our experts if you’re in search of advice regarding maintaining a healthy weight in your dog.