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Keywords:

  • Aggression;
  • candidate genes;
  • canine;
  • dopamine;
  • serotonin;
  • SNP association

Human-directed canine aggression was studied using 50 aggressive and 81 non-aggressive dogs. We examined 62 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) occurring in or in the close vicinity of 16 neurotransmitter-related genes. Allelic associations with aggression were identified for DRD1, HTR1D, HTR2C and SLC6A1. Risk or protective haplotypes for aggressive behaviour based on 2–5 SNPs were identified. The frequency of aggressive dogs varied significantly between the haplotypes within loci and the odds ratios of aggression in dogs with risk haplotypes compared with protective haplotypes varied from 4.4 (HTR2C) to 9.0 (SLC6A1). A risk haplotype across the neurotransmitter receptor gene HTR1D harboured a non-synonymous SNP with a potential effect on protein function. We identified no haplotypes in complete association with the recorded phenotypes, supporting a complex inheritance of aggression.