A survey of behavioural characteristics of pure-bred dogs in Italy

Notari, L. and Goodwin, D. (2007) A survey of behavioural characteristics of pure-bred dogs in Italy Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 103, (1-2), pp. 118-130. (doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2006.03.018).


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The selection of dog breeds for functionality has progressively lost its importance and behavioural attributes originally selected are often now considered problems in household contexts. This study investigated behavioural characteristics of the 49 most popular breeds of dogs in Italy. Questionnaires were sent to 112 Italian veterinarians and 56 non-veterinarians (trainers, behaviour counsellors and animal charity officers) who rated breed behavioural characteristics and compared the behaviour of males and females. Females were considered more trainable for obedience, more demanding of affection and more housetrainable. Males were rated higher than females for all other traits except playfulness and general activity. Principal factor analysis with varimax rotation generated two principal factors (labelled aggressivity and reactivity/immaturity) that accounted for 56% of the total variance. Nine breed groups with different behavioural characteristics were generated by K-means cluster analysis. These groupings had similarities with the groupings presented in the USA and UK, e.g. of the seven breeds rated as high in aggressivity in this study, five were rated high in all three countries, the Miniature Schnauzer was rated high for aggressivity in Italy and the US, but the Yorkshire Terrier was rated high only in Italy. These results provide further evidence of the need for care when transposing breed behavioural advice or treatments between countries.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2006.03.018
ISSNs: 0168-1591 (print)
Keywords: dogs, breed differences, behaviour, domestication
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
ePrint ID: 56828
Date :
Date Event
1 March 2007Published
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2008
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 17:40
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/56828

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