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Genotypes of Italian free-ranging dogs

Cite this dataset

Natoli, Eugenia et al. (2021). Genotypes of Italian free-ranging dogs [Dataset]. Dryad.


Domestication has greatly changed the social and reproductive behavior of dogs relative to that of wild members of the genus Canis, which typically exhibit social monogamy and extended parental care. Unlike a typical grey wolf pack that consists of a single breeding pair and their offspring from multiple seasons, a group of free-ranging dogs (FRDs) can include multiple breeding individuals of both sexes. To understand the consequences of this shift in reproductive behavior, we reconstructed the genetic pedigree of an FRD population and assessed the kinship patterns in social groups, based on genome-wide SNP genotypes. Consistent with behavioral observations, the mating system of the study population was characterized by polygynandry. Instead of the discreet family units observed in wolves, FRDs were linked by a network of kinship relationships that spread across packs. However, we also observed reproduction of the same male-female pairs in multiple seasons, retention of adult offspring in natal packs and dispersal between neighboring packs – patterns in common with wolves. Although monogamy is the predominant mating system in wolves, polygyny and polyandry are occasionally observed in response to increased food availability. Thus, polygynandry of domestic dogs was likely influenced by the shift in ecological niche from an apex predator to a human commensal.


The samples were genotyped at 360K SNP (single nucleotide polymorphisms) loci, using Axiom Canine HD Genotyping Array (Thermo Scientific). We used Plink1.9 software for the filtering of the SNP loci. We removed loci that were invariable for the analyzed population or showed very low variability (Minor Allele Frequency <0.01), as well as loci having more than 20% missing data for the study population. We removed from the analysis two individuals with more than 10% missing data.

The data can be open using Plink software or a text editor.

Usage notes

Missing values are marked as 0.


University of Lincoln, UK, Award: Pump-Priming Grant

Narodowa Agencja Wymiany Akademickiej, Award: Polish Returns Fellowship PPN/PPO/2018/1/00037

Polish National Science Centre, Award: 2019/34/E/NZ8/00246

University of Lincoln, UK, Award: Pump-Priming Grant

Jagiellonian University, Award: 2019/34/E/NZ8/00246