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A refinement and validation of the Monash Canine Personality Questionnaire (MCPQ)

By J. M. Ley, P. C. Bennett, G. J. Coleman

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The investigation of canine personality has failed to find strong agreement between studies as to its structure. The area has been hampered by a reliance on human personality models and by a tendency to limit the types of dogs used as subjects. These problems were recently addressed during the development of the Monash Canine Personality Questionnaire (MCPQ). In this follow-up study, over 450 participants provided demographic information about themselves and their dog and completed the MCPQ for their dog. Structural Equation Modelling results necessitated reassessing the original data and reanalysis suggested a more succinct questionnaire, the MCPQ-R, to measure five dimensions of canine personality very similar to those revealed in earlier work (extraversion, motivation, training focus, amicability and neuroticism). Owner reports of personality were generally consistent across demographic variables for all five canine personality subscales. There was no association between any subscale score and owner gender or education level, or dog sex or sexual status (desexed or not desexed). Significant, but generally weak associations were found for owner age and Extraversion (r=0.17, P<0.001), owner knowledge of their dog and Training Focus (r=0.22, P<0.001), time spent inside and Extraversion (r=-0.13, P=0.007), dog age and Extraversion (r=0.14, P=0.004), Training Focus and Extraversion (r=0.13, P=0.007), dog height and Neuroticism (r=-0.20, P<0.001) and dog height and Amicability (r=0.2, P<0.001), dog weight and Neuroticism (r=-0.17, P<0.01) and dog weight and Amicability (r=0.19, P<0.01). There were also few differences in personality ratings across recognised purebred dog breed groups, although Working Dogs and Terriers scored significantly more highly on the Extraverted subscale than other groups (P<0.001) and Working Dogs and Gundogs scored more highly on the Training Focus subscale (P<0.001). These results are consistent with the view that the MCPQ-R assesses a construct, canine personality, which is relatively stable and comprised of five dimensions.

Date 2009
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 116
Issue 2/4
Pages 220-227
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2008.09.009
Language English
Author Address Animal Welfare Science Centre, Psychology, Monash University, P.O. Box 197, Caulfield East, Vic. 3145, Australia.
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal health and hygiene
  3. Animal reproduction
  4. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  5. Carnivores
  6. Demography
  7. Dog Breeds
  8. Dogs
  9. Education
  10. Follow-up studies
  11. Mammals
  12. models
  13. peer-reviewed
  14. Pets and companion animals
  15. Questionnaires
  16. Research
  17. Sexual behavior
  18. sexuality
  19. Sexual practices
  20. Studies
  21. training
  1. peer-reviewed