The present study investigates how characteristics of both the dog, Canis familiaris, and their owner influence the quality of life (QoL) of the pet dog. The investigation was carried out using a multiple approach: (1) three questionnaires which investigated characteristics of the dog and their owner and care given to the dog, (2) simple physical examination of the dog, (3) the Strange Situation Test to investigate the dog's attachment to their owner and (4) the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale (LAPS) test.
A sample of 104 dog–owner dyads participated in the study. The level of care was found to be positively influenced by marital status (single) and negatively by the age of the dog, length of the dog–owner relationship and neutering. The best physical condition was found for pure breed dogs belonging to men and to people who prefer dogs among pets while physical condition decreases for aging dogs or those with a long relationship with their owner. Attachment to the owner was stronger for dogs with a long relationship and those belonging to people who had had previous experience with pets and those with many emotional bonds. Conversely, the attachment level was lower for pure breed dogs and those whose owners shared the property with other people. LAPS was influenced only by owner features: people more attached to their dogs are those who do not live with children and who do have many emotional bonds. Finally, the majority of dogs had a high level of QoL which was influenced positively by the number of emotional bonds of the owner and negatively by the dog's age and length of the dog–owner relationship.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Notes||This article was used with permission by Elsevier|