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HomeScienceThe Canine Character is Influenced by Breed, Age and Socialization During Puppyhood.

The Canine Character is Influenced by Breed, Age and Socialization During Puppyhood.


graphic abstract. credit: iScience (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2023.106691

The dog, man’s best friend, is a popular pet. There are hundreds of different dog breeds, and each one is said to have its own personality. A recent study at the University of Helsinki confirmed the idea of ​​personality differences between dog breeds. Publication of the research in the journal iScience.

“The dog’s breed is the most important factor in determining personality differences. All dogs are individuals, and all breeds have different traits, but breeds differ in the type of personality most dogs in each breed have,” says postdoctoral researcher Mila Salonen. While conducting this study, Salone worked as a researcher at the University of Helsinki School of Medicine. She is currently working in the Department of Biology at the University of Turku.

Researchers from the Canine Genetics Research Group at the University of Helsinki collected a huge behavioral survey data set of more than 11,000 dogs, investigating environmental factors and other factors related to personality. The dataset included more than 300 different strains, grouped into 52 strain groups. To date, differences between strains have not been investigated in such a comprehensive manner. In fact, many breeds and breed combinations have not been studied before.

“This study provides a topical update on the effect of breed on a dog’s personality, since in a US study published last year, this effect was considered to be very small. While breed is the most important underlying factor in personality, many genetic and non-genetic factors have an influence.” complex on personality,” notes Professor Hans Lohe of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

The study investigated the associations between different factors for seven personality traits: insecurity, training focus, aggressiveness/dominance, energy, canine sociability, human sociability, and perseverance.

Puppy socialization is important

Of the environmental factors examined in the study, socialization in the pups was the most important. A large number of socialization experiences in pups (between seven weeks and four months of age) were associated with insecurity and aggressiveness/dominance traits, as well as a high emphasis on training and human-dog socialization.

“Our findings suggest that new owners should introduce their dogs as much as possible to people, places, and animals that are unfamiliar to them. Of course, socialization should always be done on the puppy’s terms, which means that the puppy should not be forced into fearful situations,” says Salon.

Age had a strong connection to the behavior of dogs. In older dogs, the average training focus trait was higher than in younger dogs. An inverse association was observed between age and insecurity, energy as well as human-dog sociability: in young dogs, the average was higher.

Complex personality traits

The primary factors investigated were responsible for only a small part of the variance in personality traits between individuals. This and the substantial differences observed between breeds indicate that personality is also strongly hereditary. Most likely, the environment of the early pups, including the care provided by the mother, is also of great importance, but this could not be determined in the study.

“Based on our research, personality traits are very complex and have striking similarities between dogs, humans and other animals,” says Salonen.

more information:
Milla Salonen et al, Breed, age, and social environment are associated with personality traits in dogs, iScience (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2023.106691

Provided by the University of Helsinki

the quote: Breed, Age, and Socialization of Puppies Linked to Canine Personality (2023, May 25) Retrieved May 25, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-age-puppyhood-socialization-linked-canine.html

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