Your labrador can’t help but beg for food. Really, it’s in his genes.
When your dog looks up at you hopefully with big, sad eyes, begging for a treat, it can be hard to say no — in spite of your best intentions for restricting your pet to a healthier diet.
And one dog breed tests their owners more frequently, with more persistent begging than other breeds, according to a new study.
Labrador retrievers were found to be more inclined than other dog breeds to beg for treats, and to generally engage in behaviors related to getting more food. And the reason lies in their DNA, researchers found.
The study’s lead author, Eleanor Raffan — a veterinary surgeon and geneticist at the University of Cambridge in England — told Live Science that she was inspired to explore labrador obesity because she was seeing an unusually high number of overweight labs in her veterinary clinic.
“When I speak to their owners, everybody says, ‘My dog is really obsessed with food,'” Raffan said. “And whenever we see something that is more common in one breed of dog than another, genetics are implicated as a possible factor.”
So Raffan set out to learn more about labrador biology and to see if there was a genetic explanation.