Origins and wanderings of the Finnish hunting spitzes
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CitationPohjoismäki, Jaakko LO. Lampi, Sara. Donner, Jonas. Anderson, Heidi. (2018). Origins and wanderings of the Finnish hunting spitzes. PLoS ONE, 13 (6) , e0199992. 10.1371/journal.pone.0199992.
Deducing the evolutionary histories of dog breeds can be challenging due to convergent traits and frequent admixture. In this report, we have explored the relationships of indigenous Finnish hunting spitz breeds among other northern Eurasian hunting breeds using commercially available SNP analysis (the MyDogDNA panel test). We find that Nordic hunting breeds Finnish Spitz, Nordic Spitz and the Karelian Bear Dog, as well as the reindeer herding Lapphund and Lapponian herder are all closely related and have common origins with the northeastern Eurasian Laika breeds, rather than with other Scandinavian Spitz breeds, such as Elkhounds and Swedish Vallhund. By tracing admixture events and direction of gene flow, we also elucidate the complex interactions between the breeds and provide new insight into the history of Swedish Elkhound and Russian-European Laika. The findings, together with an analysis of genetic differentiation between the populations, not only help to understand the origins of the breeds but also provide interesting possibilities to revive genetic diversity, lost during the breeding history, by backcrossing breeds to their hypothetical ancestry.