The further north the more likely a dog will have a limp tail

Posted Aug 13, 2016 by Tim Sandle
According to a new study, dogs are far more likely to develop limp, hard-to-wag tails (erect-tail dysfunction) the further north they live.
A touching moment with a dog.
A touching moment with a dog.
Noël Zia Lee (CC BY 2.0)
The reason why dogs develop tails that are harder to wag and become more limp is linked to the temperature. The colder the climate then the greater the number of cases of erect-tail dysfunction (otherwise known as "limber tail") recorded. This is the outcome of a research project undertaken at Edinburgh University. Remarkably the data correlates symmetrically: the chance of a dog developing limber tail increases by 50 per cent for each additional degree of latitude further north.
Dog DogMag (@DogDogMag) "Dogs:Limber tail - here's what you need to know - New research con =>."
There are variations with the data, with larger dogs like Labrador retrievers affected more often than smaller breeds of dog. There is also a relationship between the condition and the amount of time a dog spends outdoors (which leads to working dogs, like farm dogs, being most greatly affected). With the working dog population, those dogs that are required to go into water have the highest levels of the condition.
It should be noted that the research was based on a small sample: 38 cases of dogs with limber tail were compared with 86 dogs that had no symptoms.
The study was led by Dr. Carys Pugh, of The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. Speaking with The Daily Telegraph, Dr. Pugh said: "We have been able to add evidence to a lot of Internet speculation about risk factors and the new findings relating to geographical region and family links give us avenues to pursue in understanding and avoiding the condition."
While many dog owners have noted the condition over the course of many years, no research paper was written on the subject until 1997 and since then the physical condition has been poorly researched. While thew new research is of interest, further studies will be needed to confirm the pattern. In addition, the British researchers plan to loo to see which genes are affected by the external environment, as part of an epigenetics study.