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A dog’s behavior does not depend on its breed according to a study

A dog’s breed does not define its behavior. This is the finding of a recent scientific study which could well dispel the prejudices suffered by certain animals. A wish shared by specialists – veterinarian, behaviorist and ethologist – consulted by

The character of a dog does not depend on its breed! ” Almost none of the behaviors commonly associated with a dog breed are truly innateobserve US researchers (Science, 04/29/2022). The environment seems to play a much more important role than the pedigree “. To reach this conclusion, the scientists analyzed the results of surveys carried out with the owners of 18,385 dogs as well as the genetic data of 2,155 of them.

A dog’s behavior depends on his life experiences

Certainly, genetics plays a role in the character of animals in general (and people), and therefore of dogs; but their upbringing plays a huge part in how they behaveconfirms the French ethologist Fleur Daugey, contacted by For example, an abused dog may be fearful and more likely to bite “.

The same goes for humans (but aren’t they animals like any other?): We know that identical twins who have the same genetic background have different characters and behaviors; because each individual has different experiences and influences that will shape their character and therefore their behavioranalyzes veterinarian Dr. Brigitte Leblanc. Why, then, should the genetic makeup of a breed of dog alone be responsible for the character and behavior of each of its members? In short, the behavior of dogs is influenced by factors linked to their life experiences: the environment, socialization and above all, education.

Overcome prejudices about certain races

By showing that the character of a dog is not linked to its breed, this study should thus make it possible to fight against certain prejudices likely to harm certain doggies, pointed out by the legislator himself. ” The 2008 law which established in France the categories of so-called dangerous dogs – and the obligations for their detention – led to a kind of psychosis in front of certain breedslaments the veterinarian. This stigma has hindered the adoption of many animals »… who nevertheless have a lot of love to give!

I personally knew a pitbull named Cordero (which means lamb in Spanish) and who bore his name very well: he was gentle as a lamb because his master had never encouraged him to be aggressive, quite the contrary.specifies F. Daugey. Such a study is therefore a step in the right direction to change mentalities! In 2019, paid tribute to Zeus, a poor 8-month-old pit bull who had saved children from a poisonous snake, risking his own life. ” Pit bulls are the most loyal dogs I knowhad then entrusted the parents. If you find one that’s aggressive, it’s probably because it’s been abused.. If you treat them right, they lay down their lives for you “.

Vic, a Staff cross, has found peaceful happiness with his new family. ©DR

“Consider animals for what they are: individuals, not a race or a species”

The breed of a dog necessarily establishes what is commonly called its instinctnuance a dog trainer-behaviourist who practices in the Paris region. A hunting dog has hunting instincts; a guardian guard dog; a ‘consolidator’ sheepdog “… So many dogs selected over time by our ancestors according to the criteria that interested them. ” These acquired behaviors are old and therefore quite often still found in our current breeds, confirms veterinarian Dr. B. Leblanc. But individual exceptions are frequent: who has never heard of a hunting dog “reformed” because frightened by gunshots? »

In reality, ” what harms the dogs the most is the poor training of some breeders and the ignorance of masters as to the needs of their companion”, deplores the behaviorist. ” If the dogs keep the characteristics specific to their breed, the fact of making them live without meeting these needs can lead to real psychological suffering and behavioral problems.adds Dr. Leblanc. This would be the case of a border collie or a husky who would only go out on weekends… Also, when a behavioral disorder appears in a dog, his master should ask himself if the living conditions of his companion correspond well to his physiological, biological, behavioral needs and to his individuality. ” It is important to promote the well-being of this dog, as an individualrecommends the veterinarian. More generally, we need to review our relationship with animals by considering them as what they are: individuals, not a race or a species. “.

Don’t give in to fashion

And don’t give in to fads! In 2016, the Belgian Shepherd became, according to the French Book of Origins (LOF), the favorite dog of the French, thus dethroning the German Shepherd. ” Many masters were touched by the death of Diesel, this police dog killed during the Paris attacksexplains a canine behavior professional. Result: today, shelters abound with Malinois “. Other breeds of dogs have also suffered from a massive infatuation which has resulted in equally substantial abandonments: huskies, border-collies, Pyrenees mountain, etc.

It therefore remains to be hoped that this study will ultimately contribute to rehabilitate certain breeds to the point of materializing in the adoption of neglected and too often unfairly unloved dogs, like Chaina who is still waiting for an adoptive family at the 30 Millions d’Amis de la Tuilerie shelter. ” Why ? Because she belongs to the category of so-called dangerous dogsdeplore the healers. What is dangerous about it? Her very playful, dynamic, kind side or this too much love that she distributes to anyone who pays attention to her? »

The story of Chaina is unfortunately far from being isolated…. ” Let’s learn to see them for what they are: dogs with a past and life experiences. All different. Like us ! concludes Dr. Leblanc.


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