Morris Animal Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study celebrates 10 years

DENVER, August 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifespan Study has reached its 10-year milestone – a decade of collecting data and biological samples to inform canine health studies for decades. many years to come.

The Golden Retriever lifespan study is one of the most comprehensive studies of its type ever undertaken in veterinary medicine. The longitudinal study, which follows the lives of more than 3,000 golden retrievers, is the largest study funded by the Foundation in its mission to improve the health and welfare of animals around the world.

“We are proud of the Golden Retriever Lifespan Study and how it is advancing canine health,” said Tiffany Grünert, President and CEO. “It took incredible commitment from our study families, partner veterinarians, and of course, our hero dogs. Without their dedication, this study simply wouldn’t be possible.”

Owners and veterinarians complete comprehensive questionnaires each year, and veterinarians also take biological samples during each dog’s annual visit. Additionally, all dogs were genotyped, providing valuable data to better understand genetic associations with disease and health. The engagement of study participants provides researchers with valuable data and samples, leading to expanded research opportunities in cancer and other fields, including:

  • Identify molecular signatures to detect lymphoma earlier
  • Exploring variations in the microbiome of dogs with and without a diagnosis of cancer
  • Genetic factors that influence weight gain and obesity
  • The association between DNA damage and canine lymphoma in relation to environmental chemical exposures
  • Understanding human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 in the cohort

Seven scientific articles have been published since the start of the study, focusing on topics such as study design and a more in-depth examination of basic cohort demographics. A 2019 article from Embark Inc. used study data to show the effect of inbreeding on fertility. Another article investigated the relationship between the timing of sterilization and the development of obesity and non-traumatic orthopedic injuries. The most recent paper, published in Canine Medicine and Genetics, reports on environmental exposures and lymphoma risk in dogs using study data.

Currently, cancer is the leading cause of death among dogs in the study, accounting for 75% of all deaths. Among the primary cancer endpoints, the major contributor to these deaths is hemangiosarcoma. Based on findings to date, the Morris Animal Foundation will fund future work to develop diagnostics and therapies, and to identify genetic contributors to hemangiosarcoma. Researchers will be able to use samples taken from dogs diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma to possibly develop early screening and/or diagnostic tests as well as to understand possible genetic links.

The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study Team promotes collaborative research using study data and specimens with scientists around the world to advance the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer and other major health issues in dogs.

“The Golden Retriever lifespan study is such a rich source of scientific data,” Grunert said. “We are encouraged by what we have achieved so far, but know that this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we can learn.”

About the Morris Foundation for Animals

Founded in 1948, the Morris Animal Foundation is one of the world’s largest nonprofit animal health research organizations, funding more than $149 million in critical studies on a wide range of species. Learn more at

SOURCE Morris Animal Foundation