Table of Contents
ISRN Evolutionary Biology
Volume 2013, Article ID 621836, 8 pages
Research Article

Extensive Phenotypic Diversity among South Chinese Dogs

1College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Iowa, 143 Biology Building, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
2Division of Gene Technology, School of Biotechnology, Science for Life Laboratory, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 171 65 Solna, Sweden

Received 2 June 2012; Accepted 20 June 2012

Academic Editors: J. M. Eirin-Lopez, G. Glöckner, M. L. Hale, and J. Trueman

Copyright © 2013 Marie-Dominique Crapon de Caprona and Peter Savolainen. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We describe here a broad diversity in phenotype among dogs in southern China’s rural areas, previously relatively unknown outside of China. These dogs display a much broader spectrum of diversity than is observed for the Indian Pariah Dog and the Australian Dingo, which are of a more uniform type and popularly thought to be typical for South Asian dogs and to represent the primitive morphology of the earliest domestic dogs. We show here that the village dog population of southern China harbors a broad diversity of morphological features, for color, body structure and size, coat texture, ear, and tail set, that are otherwise typically associated with the wide variety of Western dog breeds and assumed to be the result of intense selective breeding. The diversity of southern China’s dogs is cast in the light of mtDNA and Y-chromosome DNA studies showing that the genetic diversity is distinctly higher in southern East Asia than in the rest of the world, indicating that this was the geographical origins of today’s dog. These data suggest that the diverse morphologies of European dogs may have been formed from genetic “building blocks" still present in the dog population of rural southern China.