OMIA:001258-9615 : Obesity in Canis lupus familiaris (dog)

In other species: crab-eating macaque , domestic cat , horse , pig , rabbit

Categories: Adipose tissue phene

Links to possible relevant human trait(s) and/or gene(s) in OMIM: 164160 (gene) , 614962 (trait)

Mendelian trait/disorder: no

Mode of inheritance: Multifactorial

Considered a defect: yes

Key variant known: yes

Year key variant first reported: 2016

Markers: Having conducted a case-control study involving 57 Labrador Retrievers affected with diabetes mellitus and 61 controls, Davison et al. (2017) reported that "There was no association between the presence of the POMC deletion mutation and DM in this population of Labrador retriever dogs", leading them to conclude that "This study adds to the existing scientific literature indicating that there is little evidence for a direct link between obesity and DM in dogs". Sypniewski and Szydlowski (2023) analysed "41 canine orthologues of human genes linked to monogenic obesity in humans to identify genes associated with body weight in Labrador Retriever dogs. we analysed 11,520 variants from 50 dogs using a linear mixed model with sex, age, and sterilization as covariates and population structure as a random effect. ... Only the ADCY3 gene showed statistically significant association: TA>T deletion located at 17:19,222,459 in 1/20 intron (per allele effect of 5.56 kg, SE 0.018, p-value = 5.83 × 10-5, TA/TA: 11 dogs; TA/T: 32 dogs; T/T: 7 dogs)."

Molecular basis: Raffan et al. (2016) reported that "Sequencing of candidate genes for obesity in Labrador retriever dogs identified a 14 bp deletion in pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) with an allele frequency of 12%. The deletion disrupts the β-MSH and β-endorphin coding sequences and is associated with body weight (per allele effect of 0.33 SD), adiposity, and greater food motivation. Among other dog breeds, the deletion was only found in the closely related flat-coat retriever (FCR), where it is similarly associated with body weight and food motivation"

Clinical features: Obesity is a common condition that affects a large percentage of our companion animals (Raffan et al., 2016). Though a high calory diet and a lack of exercise may be at the base, a genetic component to obesity has been investigated (Raffan et al., 2016; Mankowska et al., 2017). A 14bp deletion in the proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene was found in some Labrador retrievers and Flat-coated retrievers (Raffan et al., 2016). This mutation is predicted to disrupts the action of two peptides (β-MSH and β-endorphin), which are potent appetite and energy metabolism regulators. Due to a disrupted control of appetite, dogs with this mutation are more prone to overfeeding and hence gaining weight and adiposity (Raffan et al., 2016). An increased incidence of this mutation has been reported in assistance dogs, suggesting that selection of food-driven dogs for better trainability purposes inadvertently lead to the selection for this mutation . This mutation has not yet been identified in other breeds and doesn’t seem to have any correlation with diabetes mellitus to date (Davison et al., 2017). IT thanks DVM student Martina Zanin, who provided the basis of this contribution in May 2023.

Prevalence: Intriguingly, Raffan et al. (2016) reported that the frequency of the POMC deletion was 45% "in a group of 81 Labrador retrievers used as assistance dog breeding stock" compared with a frequency of around 12% in random samples of Labrador Retrievers. As the authors explain, "Temperament and ‘‘trainability’’ are the main drivers for selection of assistance dogs, and ‘‘positive reinforcement’’ with food reward is a mainstay of puppy training. We therefore hypothesize that dogs carrying the POMC deletion may be more likely to be selected as assistance dogs. The fact that the allelic frequency at this locus is significantly out of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in assistance dog breeding stock could be seen as support for the notion that selection has occurred at this locus."

Breeds: Flat-Coated Retriever (Dog) (VBO_0200528), Labrador Retriever (Dog) (VBO_0200800).
Breeds in which the phene has been documented. (If a likely causal variant has been documented for the phene, see the variant table breeds in which the variant has been reported).

Associated genes:

Symbol Description Species Chr Location OMIA gene details page Other Links
POMC proopiomelanocortin Canis lupus familiaris 17 NC_051821.1 (19713398..19706608) POMC Homologene, Ensembl , NCBI gene
ADCY3 adenylate cyclase 3 Canis lupus familiaris 17 NC_051821.1 (19505567..19426953) ADCY3 Homologene, Ensembl , NCBI gene


By default, variants are sorted chronologically by year of publication, to provide a historical perspective. Readers can re-sort on any column by clicking on the column header. Click it again to sort in a descending order. To create a multiple-field sort, hold down Shift while clicking on the second, third etc relevant column headers.

WARNING! Inclusion of a variant in this table does not automatically mean that it should be used for DNA testing. Anyone contemplating the use of any of these variants for DNA testing should examine critically the relevant evidence (especially in breeds other than the breed in which the variant was first described). If it is decided to proceed, the location and orientation of the variant sequence should be checked very carefully.

Since October 2021, OMIA includes a semiautomated lift-over pipeline to facilitate updates of genomic positions to a recent reference genome position. These changes to genomic positions are not always reflected in the ‘acknowledgements’ or ‘verbal description’ fields in this table.

OMIA Variant ID Breed(s) Variant Phenotype Gene Allele Type of Variant Source of Genetic Variant Reference Sequence Chr. g. or m. c. or n. p. Verbal Description EVA ID Year Published PubMed ID(s) Acknowledgements
809 Flat-Coated Retriever (Dog) Labrador Retriever (Dog) Obesity POMC deletion, small (<=20) Naturally occurring variant CanFam3.1 17 g.19431807_19431821del c.561_575del p.(E188fs) XM_844370.3; variant is associated with body weight 2016 27157046

Cite this entry

Nicholas, F. W., Tammen, I., & Sydney Informatics Hub. (2023). OMIA:001258-9615: Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals (OMIA) [dataset].


Note: the references are listed in reverse chronological order (from the most recent year to the earliest year), and alphabetically by first author within a year.

2024 Dittmann, M.T., Lakatos, G., Wainwright, J.F., Mokrosinski, J., Cross, E., Farooqi, I.S., Wallis, N.J., Halsey, L.G., Wilson, R., O'Rahilly, S., Yeo, G.S.H., Raffan, E. :
Low resting metabolic rate and increased hunger due to β-MSH and β-endorphin deletion in a canine model. Sci Adv 10:eadj3823, 2024. Pubmed reference: 38446876. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.adj3823.
Kieler, I.N., Persson, S.M., Hagman, R., Marinescu, V.D., Hedhammar, Å., Strandberg, E., Lindblad-Toh, K., Arendt, M.L. :
Genome wide association study in Swedish Labrador retrievers identifies genetic loci associated with hip dysplasia and body weight. Sci Rep 14:6090, 2024. Pubmed reference: 38480780. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-024-56060-y.
2023 Antkowiak, M., Szydlowski, M. :
Uncovering structural variants associated with body weight and obesity risk in labrador retrievers: a genome-wide study. Front Genet 14:1235821, 2023. Pubmed reference: 37799139. DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2023.1235821.
Sypniewski, M., Szydlowski, M. :
A study of 41 canine orthologues of human genes involved in monogenic obesity reveals marker in the ADCY3 for body weight in Labrador Retrievers. Vet Sci 10:390, 2023. Pubmed reference: 37368776. DOI: 10.3390/vetsci10060390.
Wallis, N.J., Sumanasekera, N.T., Raffan, E. :
Obesity risk factors in British Labrador retrievers: Effect of sex, neuter status, age, chocolate coat colour and food motivation. Vet Rec 194:e3410, 2023. Pubmed reference: 37747436. DOI: 10.1002/vetr.3410.
2022 Szydlowski, M., Antkowiak, M. :
No evidence that long runs of homozygosity tend to harbor risk variants for polygenic obesity in Labrador retriever dogs. J Appl Genet 63:557-561, 2022. Pubmed reference: 35471496. DOI: 10.1007/s13353-022-00693-0.
2021 Ronja, N., Kölle, P. :
Adipositas beim Hund – ein Überblick zu den Ursachen [Obesity in dogs - A review of underlying reasons]. Tierarztl Prax Ausg K Kleintiere Heimtiere 49:284-293, 2021. Pubmed reference: 34425607. DOI: 10.1055/a-1548-2293.
2020 Wallis, N., Raffan, E. :
The genetic basis of obesity and related metabolic diseases in humans and companion animals. Genes 11:1378, 2020. Pubmed reference: 33233816. DOI: 10.3390/genes11111378.
2017 Davison, L.J., Holder, A., Catchpole, B., O'Callaghan, C.A. :
The canine POMC gene, obesity in Labrador Retrievers and susceptibility to diabetes mellitus. J Vet Intern Med 31:343-348, 2017. Pubmed reference: 28176381. DOI: 10.1111/jvim.14636.
Mankowska, M., Krzeminska, P., Graczyk, M., Switonski, M. :
Confirmation that a deletion in the POMC gene is associated with body weight of Labrador Retriever dogs. Res Vet Sci 112:116-118, 2017. Pubmed reference: 28235700. DOI: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2017.02.014.
Mankowska, M., Nowacka-Woszuk, J., Graczyk, A., Ciazynska, P., Stachowiak, M., Switonski, M. :
Polymorphism and methylation of the MC4R gene in obese and non-obese dogs. Mol Biol Rep 44:333-339, 2017. Pubmed reference: 28755272. DOI: 10.1007/s11033-017-4114-3.
2016 Raffan, E., Dennis, R.J., O'Donovan, C.J., Becker, J.M., Scott, R.A., Smith, S.P., Withers, D.J., Wood, C.J., Conci, E., Clements, D.N., Summers, K.M., German, A.J., Mellersh, C.S., Arendt, M.L., Iyemere, V.P., Withers, E., Söder, J., Wernersson, S., Andersson, G., Lindblad-Toh, K., Yeo, G.S., O'Rahilly, S. :
A deletion in the canine POMC gene is associated with weight and appetite in obesity-prone Labrador Retriever dogs. Cell Metab 23:893-900, 2016. Pubmed reference: 27157046. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.04.012.

Edit History

  • Created by Frank Nicholas on 19 May 2016
  • Changed by Frank Nicholas on 19 May 2016
  • Changed by Frank Nicholas on 19 Dec 2017
  • Changed by Frank Nicholas on 04 Mar 2020
  • Changed by Frank Nicholas on 27 Jan 2021
  • Changed by Imke Tammen2 on 26 Aug 2021
  • Changed by Imke Tammen2 on 13 Sep 2022
  • Changed by Imke Tammen2 on 13 Jun 2023
  • Changed by Imke Tammen2 on 06 Jul 2023