Individual signatures define canine skin microbiota composition and variability

Anna Cuscó, Armand Sánchez, Laura Altet, Lluís Ferrer, Olga Francino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 Cuscó, Sánchez, Altet, Ferrer and Francino. Dogs present almost all their skin sites covered by hair, but canine skin disorders are more common in certain skin sites and breeds. The goal of our study is to characterize the composition and variability of the skin microbiota in healthy dogs and to evaluate the effect of the breed, the skin site, and the individual. We have analyzed eight skin sites of nine healthy dogs from three different breeds by massive sequencing of 16S rRNA gene V1-V2 hypervariable regions. The main phyla inhabiting the skin microbiota in healthy dogs are Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Fusobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Bacteroidetes. Our results suggest that skin microbiota composition pattern is individual specific, with some dogs presenting an even representation of the main phyla and other dogs with only a major phylum. The individual is the main force driving skin microbiota composition and diversity rather than the skin site or the breed. The individual is explaining 45% of the distances among samples, whereas skin site explains 19% and breed 9%. Moreover, analysis of similarities suggests a strong dissimilarity among individuals (R = 0.79, P = 0.001) that is mainly explained by low-abundant species in each dog. Skin site also plays a role: inner pinna presents the highest diversity value, whereas perianal region presents the lowest one and the most differentiated microbiota composition.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalFrontiers in veterinary science
Issue numberFEB
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2017


  • 16S
  • Canine
  • Coat
  • Dog
  • Microbiome
  • Microbiota
  • Skin
  • Skin site


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