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A cross-cultural comparison of reports by German Shepherd owners in Hungary and the United States of America

By M. Wan, E. Kubinyi, A. Miklosi, F. Champagne

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Cross-cultural comparisons of dog behavior and dog-keeping practices are limited. The current study compared the questionnaire responses of German Shepherd owners in Hungary and the United States of America (USA). Owners provided information about their dog-keeping practices, as well as reports of their own German Shepherds' behavior and temperament. Cross-cultural differences and similarities were revealed using multivariate regression. Owners from the USA were more likely to keep their dogs indoors during the day (OR=29.6, P=0.006) and at night (OR=772, P=0.012), to report that their dogs were kept as pets (OR=2648, P=0.003), and to engage their dogs in a greater number of training varieties (e.g. conformation training, agility training) (b=1.97, P=0.001). However, country was not significantly associated with the duration of daily dog-owner interaction, dog's age at acquisition, and the number of previous dogs owned. Owners from the USA rated their dogs more highly than owners from Hungary on the confidence (b=0.814, P=0.006) and aggressiveness scales (b=0.974, P=0.002) of the Budapest Canine Personality Survey. In contrast, scores on the liveliness and attachment scales of the Budapest Canine Personality Survey, as well as scores on the Dog-ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) Rating Scale, were not predicted by country. Findings for the emotional predisposition questionnaire were similarly mixed. In order to confirm such findings, future cross-cultural studies on dogs should combine the use of surveys with observational methods. Cross-cultural differences like those observed should be considered when interpreting the results of studies on dog cognition and behavior. Researchers may wish to replicate cognitive and behavioral research with dogs from a range of environments around the world before firmly concluding that the findings apply to all dogs.

Date 2009
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 121
Issue 3/4
Pages 206-213
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2009.09.015
Language English
Author Address Department of Psychology, Columbia University, 406 Schermerhorn Hall, 1190 Amsterdam Ave., MC5501, New York, NY 10027, USA.
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Aggression
  2. Animal anatomy
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Animal physiology
  5. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  6. Body condition
  7. Body mass
  8. Buildings
  9. Carnivores
  10. Comparisons
  11. Conformation
  12. Developed countries
  13. Dogs
  14. Education
  15. Europe
  16. Hungary
  17. Mammals
  18. North America
  19. OECD countries
  20. peer-reviewed
  21. Pets and companion animals
  22. predisposition
  23. Primates
  24. Questionnaires
  25. Research
  26. researchers
  27. research personnel
  28. Studies
  29. surveys
  30. temperament
  31. training
  32. United States of America
  33. varieties
  1. peer-reviewed