close
15M Shelter Meals Donated 151K Toys Donated $302K Funded for Service Dogs $35K Disaster Relief Funds Raised 181K Rescue Miles Funded

Does Your Dog’s Breed Determine Their Temperament? Penn Study Finds Out

Though we will pick a breed because we like the looks of them, most of us choose “our breed” based on their behavior – a friend had a great family dog that was a lab or you heard about a devoted German Shepherd Dog saving someone’s life and you decide to get one based on the temperament you are looking for.

But does the breed really decide the temperament? I own four Shetland sheepdogs, two related to each other, but all with very different personalities. In fact, the two related are almost night day – the father is an easy going, friendly dog that loves kids. His son is wary of everyone, reactive to other dogs and doesn’t really like to be touched.

They definitely have different personalities.

In the video, Dr. James Serpell, an animal behaviorist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Interaction of Animals & Society explains that, “There is no other breed or species of animal with such a wide variety of appearance and behavior.”

Though we will pick a breed because we like the looks of them, most of us choose “our breed” based on their behavior – a friend had a great family dog that was a lab or you heard about a devoted German Shepherd Dog saving someone’s life and you decide to get one based on the temperament you are looking for.

But does the breed really decide the temperament? I own four Shetland sheepdogs, two related to each other, but all with very different personalities. In fact, the two related are almost night day – the father is an easy going, friendly dog that loves kids. His son is wary of everyone, reactive to other dogs and doesn’t really like to be touched.

They definitely have different personalities.

In the video, Dr. James Serpell, an animal behaviorist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Interaction of Animals & Society explains that, “There is no other breed or species of animal with such a wide variety of appearance and behavior.”

Dogs – Past and Present

Of course, we know that originally, certain breeds were bred for certain jobs like hunting, guarding or herding. Today, however, most dogs are not used for these jobs.

“The fundamental purpose of dogs now is just to provide people with companionship,” Serpell says in the video. “But then, a lot of these breeds still show those original behavioral predispositions to do particular things.”

Serpell’s study of more than 80,000 individual dogs, through the use of his C-BARQ online survey database, showed some interesting results when it came to dogs, their breeds, and their behavior.

The Results

According the video, the most aggressive dogs, overall, are Dachshunds. They showed the highest aggression toward both dogs and their owners. Surprised?

breedtemperment1

But before you decided you will never own a doxie, hear Dr. Serpell out.

What he mainly found in his study was that while there maybe 10-15 percent of one that breed that has aggression, you may also have 20-30 percent that show zero aggression.

What does this mean? Don’t judge a dog solely by his breed, he says.

The Other Factor

What factor plays a huge role in how our dog’s behave? Dr. Serpell believes it’s the owner and environment that affects how a dog behaves.

breedtemperment2

“There’s a tremendous effect of owners on dogs. They perceive signals from us that we’re not even aware we’re giving,” he says. “Little attributes of personality we may have, probably change the way they typically behave.”

 

(H/T: PRI.org)

Do you want a healthier & happier dog? Join our email list & we'll donate 1 meal to a shelter dog in need!

Written by Kristina Lotz
Story Page