Is A Dog’s Nature Only Influenced By Breed? Not completely. New Study Points To 1 Non-Obvious Factor

dog nature only influenced by breed new study
PawsitivelySpoiled5 from Pixabay

While a major factor in a dog’s character is thought to be its breed, new research is shedding light on other previously unexplored components. Scientists have analyzed no less than 300 different breeds of dogs and checked what the behavior of our pets depends on.

A dog’s disposition is a mixture of various factors. As previously thought, the main thing is race. The character of our pet is shaped from an early age, but it is subject to change even in adult dogs. The social environment in which our dog is raised and elements such as age are of great importance.

What does a dog’s character depend on? A dog’s disposition is a component of many elements

Recent research conducted in Finland by the University of Helsinki examined how various factors influence the character of dogs. Over 300 dog breeds were considered in the in-depth analysis. Some of them got their start because previous studies had ignored them and only focused on a few popular breeds. No less than 11,000 dogs were taken into account, grouped into 52 categories.

“This study updates knowledge on the influence of breed on a dog’s personality, because in the American study published last year, this influence was considered to be very insignificant”, specifies Prof. Hannes Lohi , author of this publication.

Scientists have distinguished several main elements of the arrangement of animals. They grouped them into 7 pet personality traits:

  • Feeling threatened;
  • Focus on training;
  • Aggressiveness/dominance;
  • Energy;
  • Ability to socialize with other dogs;
  • Ability to socialize with people;
  • Resilience.

The character of the dog also depends on the owner

It turned out that the breed contributes the most to the character of the quadruped. Genetic factors have the greatest influence on a dog’s disposition. Traits are estimated to be hereditary in about 40-50%. Social factors explain the remaining percentage. In the non-breed study, the following were considered:

  • The sex of the dog;
  • Age ;
  • Level of socialization;
  • State of sterilization;
  • The reason the owner has the dog;
  • Previous experience with a pet;
  • Daily exercise;
  • Alone time;
  • The presence of other dogs in the household.

Although none of these factors have as much influence on a dog’s character as breed, it has been shown that the timing of early socialization during youth is very important. The period from 7 weeks to 4 months was the most important.

How Does Puppy Socialization Affect a Dog?

Dogs that had spent a lot of time with people or other dogs as puppies felt less threat and were less aggressive. They were easier to train and were better at socializing.

“Our results indicate that new dog owners should introduce their puppies to unfamiliar people, places and animals as much as possible,” says Milla Salonen from the University of Helsinki. “Of course, socialization should always be on the puppy’s terms, which means he shouldn’t be forced into situations that scare him.

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