Dog Diseases Treatment

How Many Chromosomes Do Dogs Have?

Every living creature in this universe, whether plant or animals, is based on one unit known as “Cell.” A cell has many components, but the nucleus is the most prominent component of the cell.

It controls all the activities of the cell.In the nucleus, besides other nucleic components, it contains thread-like structures known as chromosomes. Before going any further, we must know what chromosomes are?

What are Chromosomes?

Chromosomes are the thread-like structure, coiled together with each other. They are responsible for genetic inheritance from parents to their offspring as they contain genetic material known as DNA. There are two types of chromosomes autosomesand sex chromosomes.

Apart from one pair of chromosomes, all other chromosomes are autosomes. In simple words, in humans, 46 chromosomes, outof which 2 (a pair) are sex chromosomes, while the rest are autosomes.

Every specie has a certain number of chromosomeswhich helps them to continue their lineage like Human has 46 number of chromosomes (23 pairs).

How many chromosomes do dogs have?

Just like all other species, Dogs also have a certain number of chromosomes. Dogs contain 76 autosomes and two sex chromosomes, a total of 78 chromosomes.

Dogs have more number of chromosomes than humans. However, it is not a big deal; what matters is the number of genes a chromosome carry.

Dogs have the same number of chromosomes as few other animals like wolves, dingoes, and coyotes. Species with the same number of chromosomes can interbreed so that dogs can interbreed with wolves, dingoes, and coyotes.

Dogs have round about 400 different breeds genetically.

Structure of chromosomes in Dogs:

The number of chromosomes I have mentioned above are found in both male and female. However, females and males differ in sex chromosomes.

Females have two x chromosomes as sex chromosomes, while males have x and y chromosomes as sex chromosomes. Autosomes contain centromere, located at the end of chromosomes, and in some cases, in the center of the cell.

It is responsible for the attachment of sister chromatids during cell division. The chromosomes’ ends are known as their arms. The nature of chromosomes ends is still unknown.

Chromosomes In Dogs

Importance of chromosomes for dogs:

Chromosomes are possiblyan essential component of the nucleus. Chromosomes are critical to carrying the information from parents to offspring, which is also the primary function.

These chromosomes protect the genetic material (as histones are tightly wrapped around the DNA) from harmful chemicals. In dogs, cells are continually dividing, and it is a difficult job to distribute the DNA equally to each copy of the cell, but chromosomes do it quite easily.

Can the number of chromosomes change in dogs?

Because dogs have almost 400 breeds, it isquitesurprising that dogs have the same number of chromosomes in all their breeds.

All the breed from huge dogs like husky and German shepherd to tiny dogs like beagle share the same number of chromosomes.

Because all dogs have very similar genes, just a few dissimilarities in genes cause these differences in size, fur, and color. However, the number of chromosomes can increase or decrease due to mutation accidentally, but they are sporadic cases.

What is Mutation in Dogs?

The mutation is the mistake in the DNA sequence. It can be natural (by birth) or by environmental factors like (radiation, smoking, etc.)  Naturally, mutation occurs at the time of DNA replication.

Most of the time, cells detect the mutation and fix them before becoming a potential eternal mutation. MDR1 and hemoglobin are a common example of mutation in dogs.

How do chromosomes work in Dogs?

Like all other multicellular organisms, dogs have trillions of cells, and each cell has a certain number of chromosomes, which are 78. But the dog’s sperm will have half of these chromosomes.

These half chromosomes will pair up with other half chromosomes of the female during intercourse. That is the reason the offspring has both types ofgenes from their parents.

There are two types of genes dominant and recessive. If a dog has both genes, it will show the gene, which is evident. Most of the time, the dominant gene is evident.

For instance, if a dog has “DD” gene, it means he has two dominant genes, and the dominant gene is evident. He will show the characteristics of the dominant gene.

In the case of “Dr” the dog will show the characteristics of the dominant gene as the dominant gene is evident over a recessive gene (in some instances the recessive gene is evident)

If a dog has both recessive gene “rr” he will show the characteristics of the recessive gene as it is evident.

Sex chromosomes in Dogs:

Like all other multicellular organisms, dogs also have sex chromosomes to continue their lineage. Dogs have X and y chromosomes as sex chromosomes.

Not only X and Y, but other genes are also responsible for sex-linked behavior.In males, they have X and Y, while in females, they have two X chromosomes. Females can tackle mutations like hemoglobin as they have two X, and that is why hemoglobin is common in males.

However, dogs don’t have distinctive sexual characteristics or special features. Still, they have a sex-linked lineage. They are likely to inherit information from parents to their offspring.


In a nutshell, it can be concluded that every multicellular living organism needs to have chromosomes (a thread-like structure) to continue their lineage, byinheriting their information or character from parents to their offspring.

Because chromosomes have genetic material known as DNA, which contains all the information of the organism. Every living organism has a certain number of chromosomes like humans have 46 chromosomes.

In the same way, dogs also have 78 chromosomes, including two sex chromosomes. Chromosomes identify the specie and tell us with whom this specie can interbreed like dogs can interbreed with wolves due to having the same number of chromosomes.

Dogs have nearly 400 breeds genetically, but the surprising fact is all the breeds have the same number of chromosomes, from giant dogs to tiny dogs, either bulldog or German shepherd, all share the same number of chromosomes.

Johni Barresto

Johni Barresto Is a father and animal lover. With a range of expertise in animal health, he decided to start Animal Heed. His passion is to share his knowledge to help animal owners worldwide. When not in front of his computer, he's out with his kids, teaching them the importance of animal care.

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