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The use of a behaviour test for the selection of dogs for service and breeding, I: Method of testing and evaluating test results in the adult dog, demands on different kinds of service dogs, sex and breed differences

By E. Wilsson, P. Sundgren

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Abstract

Results of 1310 German Shepherds and 797 Labrador Retrievers, 450-600 days of age, were evaluated to investigate whether the tests could be used to select dogs for different kinds of work and for breeding. Ten behavioural characteristics were scored based on the dogs' reactions in 7 test situations. Marked differences in mental characters were found between breeds and sexes, and between various categories of service dogs. Regardless of differences in the behaviour profiles of each service category, there were marked similarities between service dogs compared with dogs found to be unsuitable for training as service dogs. To interpret the data, an index value was created, based on the test results for each dog. In both breeds males scored significantly higher than females for courage, prey drive and defence drive. In German Shepherds, males scored higher than females for nerve stability and ability to cooperate. However, in Labradors, females had higher scores for ability to cooperate and there was no difference in nerve stability between the sexes. In general German Shepherds scored significantly higher for sharpness and defence drive and Labradors scored significantly higher for courage, nerve stability and reacted less to gunfire.

Date 1997
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 53
Issue 4
Pages 279-295
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(96)01174-4
Language English
Author Address Department of Zoology, University of Stockholm, S-106 91, Stockholm, Sweden.
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  3. Breed differences
  4. Breeding
  5. Carnivores
  6. Dogs
  7. Guide dogs
  8. Mammals
  9. peer-reviewed
  10. Selection
  11. sex differences
  12. testing
  13. Working animals
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed