Metagenomic dissection of the canine gut microbiota: insights into taxonomic, metabolic and nutritional features

Environ Microbiol. 2019 Apr;21(4):1331-1343. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.14540. Epub 2019 Mar 18.


Domestication of dogs from wolves is the oldest known example of ongoing animal selection, responsible for generating more than 300 dog breeds worldwide. In order to investigate the taxonomic and functional evolution of the canine gut microbiota, a multi-omics approach was applied to six wild wolves and 169 dog faecal samples, the latter encompassing 51 breeds, which fully covers currently known canine genetic biodiversity. Specifically, 16S rRNA gene and bifidobacterial Internally Transcribed Spacer (ITS) profiling were employed to reconstruct and then compare the canine core gut microbiota to those of wolves and humans, revealing that artificial selection and subsequent cohabitation of dogs with their owners influenced the microbial population of canine gut through loss and acquisition of specific bacterial taxa. Moreover, comparative analysis of the intestinal bacterial population of dogs fed on Bones and Raw Food (BARF) or commercial food (CF) diet, coupled with shotgun metagenomics, highlighted that both bacterial composition and metabolic repertoire of the canine gut microbiota have evolved to adapt to high-protein or high-carbohydrates intake. Altogether, these data indicate that artificial selection and domestication not only affected the canine genome, but also shaped extensively the bacterial population harboured by the canine gut.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / classification*
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bifidobacterium / genetics
  • Biodiversity*
  • Dogs / microbiology*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / genetics*
  • Metagenome / genetics*
  • Metagenomics
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Wolves / microbiology


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S