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The use of a behaviour test for selection of dogs for service and breeding. II. Heritability for tested parameters and effect of selection based on service dog characteristics

By E. Wilsson, P. E. Sundgren

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Abstract

1002 German shepherds and 467 Labrador retrievers, bred by the Swedish Dog Training Centre (SDTC) during 1983-91, and 308 German shepherds and 330 Labrador retrievers, from private breeders, were subjectively scored on behavioural traits. The score for each trait were pooled to give an index value for each dog. The heritability for this index value was 0.24. Heritability was also calculated for 4 factors (mental stability, willingness to please, friendliness and ardour) derived from a factor analysis of the test results. Heritability estimates for these 4 factors were 0.15-0.32. From 1986, all breeding animals at the SDTC were recruited from litters where the mean index value was above average. By 1992, the average index value for male German shepherds had increased from about 8 units to 9 units. German shepherds bred by the SDTC had higher index values than privately bred dogs. Ways in which to collect information about dog behaviour are discussed and it is suggested that a subjective evaluation of certain behaviour characteristics is superior to a factual description of reactions. [For Pt. I see pp.279-295 of volume 53 of the same journal].

Date 1997
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 54
Issue 2/3
Pages 235-241
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(96)01175-6
Language English
Author Address Department of Zoology, University of Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal genetics
  3. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  4. Breeding
  5. Carnivores
  6. Developed countries
  7. Dogs
  8. Europe
  9. Genetics
  10. Heritability
  11. Mammals
  12. OECD countries
  13. peer-reviewed
  14. Pets and companion animals
  15. Scandinavia
  16. Selection
  17. Sweden
  18. Working animals
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  1. peer-reviewed