What influences a dog's character: intriguing facts revealed

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Age, breed, and gender turned out to be key factors in shaping a dog's character

Raising a dog is an important and responsible process that affects the animal's well-being and its mutual understanding with the owner. But how a pet's personality is formed is still a mystery to scientists.

However, a team of researchers from the University of Helsinki, the Folkhalsan Research Center, and the University of Turku has managed to lift the veil of secrecy over what factors influence a dog's personality. They published the results of their work in iScience.

According to scientists, studying dog behavior will help them better understand other animals in the future. It will also make it easier for people to communicate with their pets.

The researchers found that about half of a dog's character is a product of its genetic heritage. But the other half is explained by the influence of the environment, especially the conditions in the animal's early childhood.

To reach their conclusions, the scientists surveyed 11,418 dogs. They took into account the 12 most important variables that affect the personality of pets: gender, age, breed, level of socialization, cohabitation with other dogs, average time alone, reasons why a person got a dog, and more. The sample included representatives of more than 50 breeds aged from a few months to 17 years.

It turned out that breed and age have a significant impact on the formation of a dog's personality. Also, the level of socialization in childhood, how often the dog was offered games, and the reasons for getting a dog had some influence. However, these effects were less significant. Therefore, the scientists suggested that the connection between the dog's character and the influence of the environment is limited.

At the same time, the researchers found that the most important variable that influenced the formation of a dog's personality at every moment of its life was age. The older an animal is, the higher its concentration during training, while indicators of vulnerability, energy, and friendliness, on the contrary, decrease over time.

At the same time, females on average showed higher scores in vulnerability, concentration on training, and friendliness. Males were more energetic, aggressive (dominant), and friendly to other dogs.

The breed also had a significant impact on the dog's character. Thus, Scottish sheepdogs were the most vulnerable, and the lowest score was for bull terriers.

Parson Russell Terriers demonstrated the maximum energy, and miniature pinschers were the most persistent. Dogs of fighting breeds were the most aggressive and dominant, while golden retrievers were the least aggressive.

Bull terriers were the most inclined to communicate with people, and shepherd dogs showed the least need for it. At the same time, Finnish Lapphunds most often showed friendliness to their relatives, and Border Collies, on the contrary, were not eager to communicate with other dogs.

If a dog was raised as a pet, it was more likely to grow up insecure. While animals that were considered family members were much more confident. However, the highest confidence was shown by dogs purchased for hobbies and work. Dogs that were the first to meet their owners were also insecure. If the dog was the fifth or more, its confidence was maximized.

Animals that lived in the same territory as other dogs showed a higher level of energy. But their persistence was lower.

Dogs that were left alone for less than an hour during the working day were more focused on training. And those who were left without an owner for 8 hours or more had worse performance on this criterion.

Earlier, OBOZREVATEL told me how to teach a dog not to be afraid to stay home alone.

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