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

September 7, 2015 5 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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