8 Traits Babies Inherit From Their Father

Updated: October 27, 2021
Do you ever wonder what traits kids get from which parent? Here are eight traits your baby will inherit from their dad.
traits babies can inherit from father

"He's tall like his father." "She has brown eyes like her father." "He gets his blue eyes from his dad." These are just a few things you hear people say about kids and the inherited traits that kids get from their fathers.

Whether it's genetic traits or physical traits like hairline, eye color, hair color, or a specific personality trait, parents are always looking for what traits their baby boy or baby girl has that resemble their own. We're going to take a look at eight traits babies inherit from their father, so dad can proudly say his kiddo is just like him!

More: 8 Traits Babies Inherit From Their Mother

A Quick Look at Sex Chromosomes

We all have 46 chromosomes and those chromosomes make up 23 pairs. These pairs are called DNA. They are made up of four letters: T, C, G, and A. They look like a twisted ladder with mom and dad each responsible for one side. The very last pair (pair 23) is the sex chromosome, and it can be XX or XY. Other chromosomes can have mutations that are expressed as various conditions like Down syndrome, sickle-cell disease, or Fragile X syndrome.

Some genes are found on the X chromosome, while others are found on the Y chromosome. Since females are XX and boys are XY, girls have two alleles for X-linked genes because they have two X chromosomes, while boys only have one X chromosome.  

Are Mom and Dad Equal with The Traits They Give Their Child?

Many of us think everything is 50/50, with each parent giving an equal amount of physical traits and genetic traits to their child. But, that's not the way things work. The truth is things are a bit unfairly swayed to the dad’s side. You are 60% more likely to have traits that are “active” from your dad simply because nature has a natural preference to express those genes. That's what it means to have strong genes.

This is due to complex epigenetics or the way your DNA is expressed. Epigenetics plays a role, of course, in your eye color and the way you look physically, but it also impacts your health and wellness. 

For example, a parent’s genes and the strength of those genes can influence the severity of a health condition in your child. If you inherit the condition from your mom, it’s likely to show up in a less severe version than if you had inherited it from your dad. So it’s true that someone can inherit “good” or “bad” traits from a specific side of the family. 

Dominant Genes vs. Recessive Genes

When you're talking about traits that babies inherit from their fathers, it's important to understand dominant and recessive genes. Different versions of a gene are called alleles. Alleles are either dominant or recessive depending on their associated traits. 

Dominant genes let their presence be known even if it comes from only one parent. For example, having dark eyes is a dominant trait. So, even if only one parent carries two dark-eyed genes, the baby is going to have dark eyes. Recessive genes, like blue eye color, would have to be present in both parents for the baby to end up with that eye color. 

Here are eight traits that your baby is likely to inherit from their father

1. Height

Physical appearance as a whole is heavily biased towards the father's genes and not the mom's genes.

There are at least 700 genetic variations that are responsible for determining height. While this trait comes from both mom and dad's genes, there is evidence to show that a dad's genes play a greater role in the height department.

Researchers look at the insulin-like growth factor (IGF protein) when talking about height. This is the genetic trait that is responsible for promoting growth. A woman's genes have a contradictory receptor called IGF2R. The imprinted gene is marked by the origin parent from the beginning. It marks mom's copy and dad's copy of the allele. The stamped gene and inherited trait are expressed differently. It depends on which parent they came from, or if they're only inherited from one parent and not the other. The father's IGF genes can help a child grow tall while the mother's IGFR2 genes can stunt growth.

2. Crooked Teeth

Want to know how often you’ll be bringing your child to the dentist? Check out dad’s mouth! If your child grows up to have crooked teeth or cavities, that may have come from dad’s genes. Even if mom had some great-looking teeth, dad may cancel that physical trait out with poor dental health.

3. Dimples

If you want your baby to have dad’s sweet smile, you’re in luck! Cheek dimples are a dominant trait and more commonly passed down on the father’s side. Most parents can’t get enough of their baby’s adorable dimples, so if dad has that facial feature, you’ll both have something to smile about! 

4. Mental Disorders and Mental Health

If a man becomes a father later in life, there is less quality sperm. This is one of the reasons why older fathers can pass on mutant genes to their children which can lead to mental illnesses or mental health issues. This means children can develop conditions such as hyperactivity or bipolar disorder. Children born to parents over 45 can also be more likely to have learning difficulties and perhaps suicidal tendencies.

5. Certain Health Conditions

While children can't blame every health condition on their father, coronary heart disease is one health condition that is inherited from dad. If a father suffers from heart disease, their child can develop a similar condition. Infertility is also something that can be linked back to a father's DNA.

6. Fingerprints

While no two fingerprints are the same, a baby’s fingerprints may look a lot like their dad’s! Fingerprint patterns are genetically inherited traits. If you want to check for yourself, look at your baby’s and the father’s fingertips up close, and see if you can make out any similar grooves and line patterns in their fingertips! 

7. Dark Eye Color

Dark eye colors, like brown, are considered a dominant gene. So if dad has dark eyes, and mom has blue eyes or green eyes, then your baby boy or baby girl is also going to have a dark eye color. 

Blue and green eye colors are considered to be recessive genes. So, both parents would need to have blue and green eyes for that eye color to manifest itself.

8. Sneezing

Do you ever wonder why some people sneeze when looking at the sun or other bright lights? That little sneezing quirk is also inherited from fathers! Having a sneeze reflex around bright lights is a genetic condition called autosomal dominant compelling helio-ophthalmic outburst—ACHOO syndrome for short. If you find yourself saying “bless you!” at the beach to frequent sun sneezes, that’s all dad! 

The Bottom Line

The next time you look into your baby's dark eyes or wonder how they got so tall, you can thank their father! There are many traits babies inherit from their fathers as well as many traits they can thank their mothers for. There are also many personality traits that babies will develop as they go along in life. Whether your baby is the spitting image of dad, just like mom, or a mix of both parents, the important thing is to embrace all sides because every trait makes up the little person that is your baby girl or baby boy.

Wondering what type of personality your baby will have? You or your partner's? Check out this genetic explanation of how personality is determined.