Metabolite fingerprinting of urine suggests breed-specific dietary metabolism differences in domestic dogs

Manfred Beckmann, David Pierre Louis Enot, David Patrick Overy, Ian Morris Scott, Paul G. Jones, David Allaway, John Draper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (SciVal)


Selective breeding of dogs has culminated in a large number of modern breeds distinctive in terms of size, shape and behaviour. Inadvertently, a range of breed-specific genetic disorders have become fixed in some pure-bred populations. Several inherited conditions confer chronic metabolic defects that are influenced strongly by diet, but it is likely that many less obvious breed-specific differences in physiology exist. Using Labrador retrievers and miniature Schnauzers maintained in a simulated domestic setting on a controlled diet, an experimental design was validated in relation to husbandry, sampling and sample processing for metabolomics. Metabolite fingerprints were generated from ‘spot’ urine samples using flow injection electrospray MS (FIE-MS). With class based on breed, urine chemical fingerprints were modelled using Random Forest (a supervised data classification technique), and metabolite features (m/z) explanatory of breed-specific differences were putatively annotated using the ARMeC database ( GC-MS profiling to confirm FIE-MS predictions indicated major breed-specific differences centred on the metabolism of diet-related polyphenols. Metabolism of further diet components, including potentially prebiotic oligosaccharides, animal-derived fats and glycerol, appeared significantly different between the two breeds. Analysis of the urinary metabolome of young male dogs representative of a wider range of breeds from animals maintained under domestic conditions on unknown diets provided preliminary evidence that many breeds may indeed have distinctive metabolic differences, with significant differences particularly apparent in comparisons between large and smaller breeds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1127-1138
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number8
Early online date15 Dec 2009
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • Dog breeds
  • Metabolomics
  • Random Forest
  • Urine


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