The breed does not affect the dog’s personality

A study of more than 18,000 dog owners in the United States found that dog breeds do not affect the behavior of individual specimens, as opposed to what common sense estimates over time; The study has aroused much interest among experts, who have nevertheless indicated the need for new insights. However, the research group found some effects on the behavior of individual dogs associated with their pedigree, concluding that a large part of each dog’s habits and attitudes largely depended on the way it was reared.

While many people pay close attention to the breed when it comes to choosing a dog for size and physical appearance, their breeders often suggest behavioral and sometimes character traits according to the breed. Dogs are often described as more obedient, dynamic, calm, or restless, just to name a few, based on their association with different species.

Eleanor Carlson is one of the researchers working on a new study, recently published in the journal ScienceSays that such approaches should be viewed with some skepticism: “When you adopt a dog based on its pedigree, you get a dog with a certain physical appearance. But as far as behavior is concerned, it is practically a matter of luck: how to throw a coin. Goes 6.

The study involved more than 18,000 dog owners who were asked to answer a variety of questions about not only their dog traits, but also their origins and the characteristics of their ancestors. The questionnaires ranged from requests for information about a dog’s physical characteristics to their habits, such as chasing a ball, the way they eat, and their needs.

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Carlson and colleagues selected a subgroup of dogs whose owners participated in the questionnaire, collecting samples to run a genetic test to get a clear idea of ​​any effect of their breeding behavior. Data collection allows for a more accurate assessment, and above all to find an analysis method that other research groups may repeat in the future to search for topics or compete with test results. The research led to the publication of a site to better visualize the results and effects.

Analysis has shown that certain behavioral traits occur more frequently in some species, but not in such a distinct and meaningful way. German Shepherds are a bit easier to train than other breeds, and things get complicated when mixed breeds of dogs are considered. Such examples, with a pedigree from a St. Bernard dog, have been shown to be more affectionate than others, for example.

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The research team then calculates how much the breed can affect dog behavior, estimating about 9 percent, the result is much lower than what the study authors and authors expected, accurately based on common sense and what breeders and dog owners often say. .

From the analyzes, even a strong link between reproductive and aggressive behavior traits was not found, which confirms how much aggression has been attributed to certain species only perceived or derived from the way individual specimens were bred.

From a genetic point of view, some traits have been identified that can be traced back to certain behaviors. An area of ​​the genome (all of a person’s genetic information) helps predict a specific barking trait, with some similarities to the field of the human genome related to the ability to speak. Other points of the genome have been traced back to cognitive abilities, but there are also some similarities with humans.

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However, these genetic traits have a much older history than dog breeds as we know them today and this is probably one of the keys to explaining the weak relationship between breed and behavior, the research team says.

Dogs by humans are relatively recent. It is estimated that this occurred 20,000 to 10,000 years ago, when some wolves became more flexible than others, gradually incorporating it into daily practice, which proved to be particularly useful in assisting prey. The use of the most humble and obedient specimens meant that, from generation to generation, certain genetic traits related to behavior were selected in comparison to others, which laid the foundation for the subsequent evolution of these animals.

For millennia, existing dog breeds have not been defined because what was important to form was their job: to help herdsmen keep cattle, to protect camps, and to help hunters in their activities. Things changed in the Victorian era in the first half of the nineteenth century: societies changed with the events of urbanization and new needs arose, including animals whose main purpose was to provide companionship.

So different breeders worked hard to select new breeds, thus obtaining new crosses with certain sizes and having different trends and behaviors as expected. In the nineteenth century the concept of dog breeds took on a new meaning, very different from those used in the more practical sense in the past.

In the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe, dog competitions began to be a resounding success, with exhibitors trying to win prizes and other prizes by displaying purebred dogs of various selections. In order to precisely define the characteristics of individual breeds, real values ​​were set, which were, above all, connected with physical appearance and in a more marginal way with the functionality of each dog breed.

One of the main points of reference for breeders and owners in the second half of the nineteenth century was the United Kingdom Kennel Club, founded in 1873 specifically to keep track of a variety of species. The International Synological Federation (FCI) was established in the early twentieth century, bringing together the most important associations of dog breeders. Over time, the FCI has recognized more than 340 distinct breeds, divided into ten groups ranging from shepherd dogs to greyhounds, which pass through the Dutchund.

For a single species, Introduction to Canis lupus, The process of differentiation that has taken place over the last two centuries has been significantly and firmly managed by human selection. Each breed has its own point of view, probably because selecting and breeding aesthetically pleasing dogs in a certain way is easier than working on any genetic traits related to their behavior. Cognitive differences are more subtle and difficult to comprehend, such as the results of combining different dog breeds.

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