UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
Canine Genetic Heritage Projects
Understanding the biology of the domestic dog
Project Title
  • The Silken Windhound Genome Project
  • We are requesting cheek swabs samples from all Silken Windhounds. You may request a kit here. Please enter "SW Genome Project" in the comments box when requesting a kit to ensure that you receive four swabs per dog. If you are a designated Regional Director of sample collection, please indicate this in the comments box as well (we will not be providing postage-paid envelopes with regional collection kits -- these will be submitted to our laboratory by using our Federal Express account number).
  • Joyce Chin is our liason to the Silken Windhound community.
  • There are unique attributes of the Silken Windhound breed population that make it particularly attractive for genetic study. The breed was constructed relatively recently from several progenitor breeds, which implies that there is interesting variation segregating among these dogs that will be genetically tractable. The relatively small population and the seemingly tight-knit breeding community offers an opportunity to include every dog in a comprehensive study.
Project Goals
  • To create a digitized genealogical database for the entire breed, tracing back to the original founding dogs
  • To assemble a DNA bank composed of 4 cheek swab samples from every Silken Windhound
  • To construct a breed ‘phenome’ database that lists the standard traits that are uniformly fixed within the breed, and the traits that vary among individual Silken Windhounds
  • To generate DNA profiles for each animal in the DNA bank that can be used to map genes of interest
Research Findings
  • The Silken Windhound would become the first breed to have a digitized whole-breed genealogy that documents all dogs from the time of the breed’s inception. This resource can be built upon with each successive generation. It will provide a statistical foundation for every future genetic study in the breed.
  • The breed would be the first to construct a complete list of the biological traits that make this breed unique. In human and mouse genetics, this catalog of traits is called the ‘phenome’. This is an enormous undertaking, but it recognizes that breeders and owners are the best canine biologists – they know and understand the biology of their dogs better than anyone else. This part of the project would probably be the most interesting and the most rewarding.
Future Direction
  • We hope to offer the following soon:
    • A pedigree portal site for collecting genealogical information through the internet so that we can construct the digitized whole-breed genealogy
    • An online survey site so that owners can enter information on their dog's biology, enabling us to describe this breed's "phenome"
  • We thank all the breeders and owners who have already submitted samples for this project. We also thank Joyce Chin who has been extraordinarily helpful in setting up this project.

We welcome critical comments and suggestions on how to refine the project’s design and implementation. These comments can be sent to Dr. Mark Neff.
Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, Tel 530-752-2211, Email VGL