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Investigation into owner-reported differences between dogs born in versus imported into Canada

By K. A. von Rentzell, K. van Haaften, A. Morris, A. Protopopova

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Over 1 million dogs are imported into the United States and roughly 340,000 dogs into the United Kingdom yearly. Although the official number of dogs arriving to Canada is currently unknown, local animal professionals estimate that thousands of dogs are imported into Canada each year. Dog importation may be increasing globally while regulation and surveillance are still limited, resulting in concerns for the health and welfare of imported dogs. To date, few studies have investigated how the source location of dogs influences the owner-dog relationship. The current report presents two independent studies that were conducted to assess whether owners of imported dogs reported a poorer owner-dog relationships compared to owners of Canadian-born dogs. In both studies, an online survey was distributed to dog owners (Study 1: n = 803; Study 2: n = 878) in British Columbia, Canada, containing questions on various aspects of the owner-dog relationship. The first study included questions from the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale, Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire, Human-Animal Bond questionnaire, Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale, and constructed questions about training methods, expectations, and health. The second study was comprised of original questions assessing difficult behaviour, training practices, health, attachment, and perceived level of burden of owning a dog. Both studies found no evidence of a poorer owner-dog relationship in non-Canadian-sourced dogs. In fact, owners of Canadian-sourced dogs used harsh training methods more frequently and had higher expectations for their dog. While no signs of poorer owner-dog relationship in non-Canadian-sourced dogs were found, future research should continue the investigation of age, health, and backgrounds of incoming dogs.

Date 2022
Publication Title PLoS One
Volume 17
Issue 6
Pages e0268885
ISBN/ISSN 1932-6203
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0268885
Author Address The Animal Welfare Program, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Vancouver, Canada.
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animals
  2. Canada
  3. Dogs
  4. Human-animal bond
  5. open access
  6. peer-reviewed
  7. surveys
  8. United Kingdom
  1. open access
  2. peer-reviewed