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Puppy temperament assessments predict breed and American Kennel Club group but not adult temperament

By L. M. Robinson, R. S. Thompson, J. C. Ha

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Puppy assessments for companion dogs have shown mixed long-term reliability. Temperament is cited among the reasons for surrendering dogs to shelters. A puppy temperament test that reliably predicts adult behavior is one potential way to lower the number of dogs given to shelters. This study used a longitudinal design to assess temperament in puppies from 8 different breeds at 7 weeks old ( n=52) and 6 years old ( n=34) using modified temperament tests, physiological measures, and a follow-up questionnaire. For 7-week-old puppies, results revealed (a) puppy breed was predictable using 3 variables, (b) 4 American Kennel Club breed groups had some validity based on temperament, (c) temperament was variable within litters of puppies, and (d) certain measures of temperament were related to physiological measures (heart rate). Finally, puppy temperament assessments were reliable in predicting the scores of 2 of the 8 adult dog temperament measures. However, overall, the puppy temperament scores were unreliable in predicting adult temperament.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 19
Issue 2
Pages 101-114
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2015.1127765
Language English
Author Address Department of Psychology, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh, 7 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JZ,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animals
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Breeds
  4. Canidae
  5. Canine
  6. Carnivores
  7. Dogs
  8. Follow-up studies
  9. Heart
  10. Heart rate
  11. Litters
  12. Mammals
  13. peer-reviewed
  14. Questionnaires
  15. shelters
  16. temperament
  17. vertebrates
  18. young animals
  1. peer-reviewed