Home > Dog Behavior, Dog Breed Information, Pet News > Does the breed make the dog? Or, is there more to the story?

Does the breed make the dog? Or, is there more to the story?

September 7, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

Sad Looking Chocolate LabSpend any time at all at a dog park or dog-centric event and you will find yourself starting to form opinions about dogs (and their owners). How a dog behaves may be a reflection of the owner, but often we assume a dog’s behavior is based on their breed.

For example, we might say the following:

  • Labrador Retrievers are great family dogs and love kids.
  • Golden Retrievers are friendly with everyone.
  • Terriers like to dig.
  • Hunting dogs, like German Shorthair Pointers and Vizslas, love to go hunting.

But, are these assumptions correct?

Science Friday, often heard on National Public Friday (NPR), explored this very topic this past February. Animal behaviorist James Serpell, was their guest. He discussed our common assumptions on dog breeds and how much of our dog’s behavior is dependent on us, their owners.

He also discussed C-BARQ, a Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire, designed to provide dog owners and professionals with standardized evaluations of canine temperament and behavior.

Take a listen. I think you will learn that breed is only part of the equation.

You can listen to the podcast here:

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  1. September 8, 2015 at 6:18 AM

    maybe the breed makes the dog from the outside :o) but what kind of dogs we will have is in our hands too :o)

  2. September 8, 2015 at 10:39 AM

    I think any dog will be an unhappy, badly behaved animal without good training and plenty of exercise, regardless of breed.

  3. jan
    September 8, 2015 at 11:57 AM

    My Poodles could not be more different in spite of breeding.

  4. September 8, 2015 at 5:22 PM

    I’ve been thinking about doing a post on this subject, about beagles in particular. Our beagle Cricket is very opposite of our late beagle Kobi, and she does a lot of things I don’t think are typical of her breed.
    Plus, our Lab mix Luke does not love kids, or anyone for that matter, other than his immediate family.

  5. September 8, 2015 at 7:13 PM

    I think it is like humans a combo of genes and environment!

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