Don’t Blame the Breed

A new study from the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences confirmed what many of us know: Dog breed is not a reliable predictor of aggression. In a survey conducted among dog owners, it was found aggression can be categorized into three realms, family members, strangers, and in or out of the house.

The research found that a small percentage of dogs are reported as lunging, barking, growing at family members (3%), while about 7% will show aggression towards strangers entering the house, and about 5% will display aggression towards strangers walking by or outside of a house. While some dog breeds may have more of a tendency to be protective or shy, it is the owners who can modify the behavior and teach their dogs what is appropriate behavior. It’s important for owners to acknowledge that any dog can be aggressive in one situation and not in another. It’s important for strangers to understand that dogs aren’t aggressive solely because of their breed.

What was also interesting was the owners, themselves. Female owners were less likely to report aggression from their dogs towards visitors. Older dogs tended to be grumpier and show aggression than younger ones and dogs who had attended training classes did not show aggression as much as dogs who never went to puppy classes.

To read the report (you will have to sign in), check out the abstract and 11 page article here.

Image from Andrea Arden

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