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Breed, age, and social environment are associated with personality traits in dogs

By M. Salonen, S. Mikkola, J. E. Niskanen, E. Hakanen, S. Sulkama, J. Puurunen, H. Lohi

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Personality in pets and other domesticated animals is important for their well-being and it can also influence human-animal relationships. Genetic and environmental factors influencing unwanted behavior in dogs are somewhat well known, but the factors influencing dog personality remain understudied. Here we examined environmental and demographic factors associated with seven broad personality traits in a survey of over 11,000 dogs. We utilized linear models and extensive model validation to examine the factors that have the most significant influences on personality and calculated effect sizes to assess the importance of these variables. Breed and age had the strongest associations with dog personality traits. Some environmental factors, especially puppyhood socialization, were also associated with personality. All factors had small effect sizes, highlighting that a lot of variation in personality remains unexplained. Our results indicate that personality traits are complex and strikingly similar in dogs, humans, and other nonhuman animals.

Date 2023
Publication Title iScience
Volume 26
Issue 5
Pages 106691
ISBN/ISSN 2589-0042
DOI 10.1016/j.isci.2023.106691
Author Address Department of Medical and Clinical Genetics, University of Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00014 Helsinki, Finland.Department of Veterinary Biosciences, University of Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00014 Helsinki, Finland.Folkhälsan Research Center, Uusimaa, 00290 Helsinki, Finland.Department of Biology, University of Turku, Turku, 20014 Southwest Finland, Finland.
Additional Language English
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Interests
  3. Neurosciences
  4. open access
  5. Zoology
  1. open access