Some dogs can lose the ability to wag their tails because of an often painful issue called limber tail.
While it is known to typically affect larger working dog breeds like Labrador retrievers, researchers at the University of Edinburgh set out to determine why it appears to develop in certain members and not others.
The team assessed 38 canines with limber tail reported by their owners and 86 dogs with no apparent symptoms.
The researchers found that "dogs with the condition were more likely to live in northern areas, lending support to anecdotal reports that limber tail is associated with exposure to the cold."
They also identified a higher incidence rate among working dogs but only found a mild correlation with swimming, which some had considered to be a contributing factor.
However, as a press release issued by the university states, "Labradors that had suffered limber tail were more likely to be related to each other than unaffected dogs, which may indicate an underlying genetic risk. Experts hope that further studies will identify genes associated with the condition, which could one day help breeders to identify animals that are likely to be affected."
RELATED: See images of cute rescued dogs
Cute Rescue dogs
Cute Rescue dogs
A Dutch rescue specialist holds a dog after arriving at Eindhoven Air Base, The Netherlands, on May 6, 2015, after assisting with the search for victims of the earthquake that struck Nepal. A unit of 62 people and eight dogs from the Dutch Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) was mobilized for the mission. AFP PHOTO / ANP / ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN
--NETHERLANDS OUT-- (Photo credit should read ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
A Border Collie named 'Spring' soars as he attempts to catch a frisbee during a competition at the annual 'Woofstock 90210' dog show in Beverly Hills, California on March 8, 2015. The annual event is held to raise money for animal welfare as well as find homes for rescue dogs. AFP PHOTO/ MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
SOUTH PORTLAND, ME - FEBRUARY 2: Sally, a mutt rescue dog owned by Andy Parker and Margie Kendrick of South Portland, tears across Willard Beach Sunday, February 1, 2015. (Photo by Jill Brady/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
Customers Yvette El Sayad (L) and Jasmin Camarena hold rescue dogs inside the temporary Pup Up Dog Cafe during their fund raising event to raise money for a permanent dog cafe in Los Angeles, California on January 23, 2015. The organizers say this will be Americas first dog cafe where owners can bring their dogs to socialize as well as adopt rescue dogs. AFP PHOTO/MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEXANDRIA, VA - JANUARY 6: Deirdre Hyde with 'Thel', one of about two dozen dogs rescued from South Korea by the Humane Society International group and taken to the Alexandria Animal Welfare League in Alexandria, VA on January 6, 2015. The Washington-based Humane Society International reports that 23 dogs were taken from a meat farmer and 12 were flown to the DC area yesterday. The rest are expected to arrive today, Tuesday. Dog will eventually be placed in approved home thru the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, the
Fairfax County Animal Shelter, The Loudoun County Animal Services, the City of Manassas Animal Control and Adoption Center and the Washington Animal Rescue League. The farmer raised the dogs for human consumption and accepted compensation to stop farming dogs for meat but will grow bluberries instead. (Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WITH AFP STORY BY ROBERT MACPHERSON: LIFESTYLE-US-SKOREA-ANIMALS
A dog called Snowball rescued from a dog meat farm in South Korea settles into the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria shelter January 5, 2015. A total of 23 dogs destined to be killed for human consumption in South Korea are being imported into the United States this week to be put up for adoption as pets, in the first such dog rescue of its kind. AFP PHOTO / ROBERT MACPHERSON (Photo credit should read Robert MacPherson/AFP/Getty Images)
Kyra was thrown out to die in Northern Greece and rescued. Roosevelt Island in the Manhattan Borough of New York, New York, USA. Manhattan Borough of New York, New York, USA.