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Influence of breed, handler appearance and people's experience of dogs on their perception of the temperament of a breed of dog in Ireland

Influence of breed, handler appearance and people's experience of dogs on their perception of the temperament of a breed of dog in Ireland
Influence of breed, handler appearance and people's experience of dogs on their perception of the temperament of a breed of dog in Ireland
Introduction: Human attitudes to and perception of dogs vary both between and within societies and cultures and are influenced by many factors including factors unrelated to the dog such as it’s environment. These include cultural factors, personal knowledge, the function of the animal, the perceived intelligence and the appearance of the dog. It is known that the presence of a dog can influence perceptions of the handler but it has not been established whether the characteristics of the handler can influence the perception of the dog. This is especially pertinent to the area of working dogs. German shepherd dogs tend to have a negative image and may be under utilized in assistance dog work due to concerns regarding the public perception of this breed.
Methodology: The research was by a questionnaire survey of students at Cork Institute of Technology. Respondents were asked to rate photographs of three breeds of dog alone and to then rate the same dogs with three of fifteen possible categories of “owner”, prior to completing the questionnaire. 463 questionnaires were completed.
Results: There was a difference in mean rating for temperament for a dog alone and for the same dog with a handler, and there were between breed differences. Different dog breeds were rated significantly differently (Wilkes Lambda = 0.187, F (13,374) = 125.053 P = .000). There was a significant effect of handler on the perception of the Labrador (LR)(F (14,462) = 8.589 P = .000), of the German shepherd (GSD)(14,462) = 6.513 P = .000) and of the Airedale terrier (AT)(F (14,461) = 7.587 P = .000) The handler categories, which appeared to influence perception most, were the Garda (Police)(male(m) and female(f)); rough male; wheel chair user (m and f); blind person (m and f). Pearson’s correlations revealed consistency in ratings throughout the questionnaire, with or without a visual representation for the LR and for the GSD but not for the AT. The LR has a positive image. The GSD while perceived as having a negative image, appears to have an altered image when seen in a working context, where people described it inferring intelligence and admirable character. The AT is uncommon in Ireland and without media association. This may explain the inconsistencies in ratings when presented either with or without a visual image.
Conclusions: People’s perception of the temperament of a breed of dog may be influenced by the breed, by the appearance of the handler and by their experience and knowledge of dogs. The results appear consistent, that is, respondents perceived that the three breeds of dog were either more friendly or less friendly, when presented with certain differing categories of handler.
dog, temperament, breed, people, perception, handler appearance
Walsh, E.A.
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McBride, E.A.
8f13b829-a141-4b67-b2d7-08f839972646
Bishop, F.
1f5429c5-325f-4ac4-aae3-6ba85d079928
Muser Leyvraz, A.
dbedb9a8-6cee-4606-90ad-e23eea3014ed
Walsh, E.A.
3e06099c-f0fd-4e89-8358-c6c79a230069
McBride, E.A.
8f13b829-a141-4b67-b2d7-08f839972646
Bishop, F.
1f5429c5-325f-4ac4-aae3-6ba85d079928
Muser Leyvraz, A.
dbedb9a8-6cee-4606-90ad-e23eea3014ed

Walsh, E.A., McBride, E.A., Bishop, F. and Muser Leyvraz, A. (2007) Influence of breed, handler appearance and people's experience of dogs on their perception of the temperament of a breed of dog in Ireland. 16th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology. 04 - 05 Oct 2007.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

Introduction: Human attitudes to and perception of dogs vary both between and within societies and cultures and are influenced by many factors including factors unrelated to the dog such as it’s environment. These include cultural factors, personal knowledge, the function of the animal, the perceived intelligence and the appearance of the dog. It is known that the presence of a dog can influence perceptions of the handler but it has not been established whether the characteristics of the handler can influence the perception of the dog. This is especially pertinent to the area of working dogs. German shepherd dogs tend to have a negative image and may be under utilized in assistance dog work due to concerns regarding the public perception of this breed.
Methodology: The research was by a questionnaire survey of students at Cork Institute of Technology. Respondents were asked to rate photographs of three breeds of dog alone and to then rate the same dogs with three of fifteen possible categories of “owner”, prior to completing the questionnaire. 463 questionnaires were completed.
Results: There was a difference in mean rating for temperament for a dog alone and for the same dog with a handler, and there were between breed differences. Different dog breeds were rated significantly differently (Wilkes Lambda = 0.187, F (13,374) = 125.053 P = .000). There was a significant effect of handler on the perception of the Labrador (LR)(F (14,462) = 8.589 P = .000), of the German shepherd (GSD)(14,462) = 6.513 P = .000) and of the Airedale terrier (AT)(F (14,461) = 7.587 P = .000) The handler categories, which appeared to influence perception most, were the Garda (Police)(male(m) and female(f)); rough male; wheel chair user (m and f); blind person (m and f). Pearson’s correlations revealed consistency in ratings throughout the questionnaire, with or without a visual representation for the LR and for the GSD but not for the AT. The LR has a positive image. The GSD while perceived as having a negative image, appears to have an altered image when seen in a working context, where people described it inferring intelligence and admirable character. The AT is uncommon in Ireland and without media association. This may explain the inconsistencies in ratings when presented either with or without a visual image.
Conclusions: People’s perception of the temperament of a breed of dog may be influenced by the breed, by the appearance of the handler and by their experience and knowledge of dogs. The results appear consistent, that is, respondents perceived that the three breeds of dog were either more friendly or less friendly, when presented with certain differing categories of handler.

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Isaz_2007_abstract_EW.doc - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Submitted date: March 2007
Published date: October 2007
Venue - Dates: 16th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, 2007-10-04 - 2007-10-05
Keywords: dog, temperament, breed, people, perception, handler appearance

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 54849
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/54849
PURE UUID: 015209d5-5c46-43a2-af37-baa02d414bf7
ORCID for F. Bishop: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8737-6662

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 28 Jul 2008
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 01:44

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