Decoding Your Dog’s Personality

Sparky Steps - Decoding Your Dogs Personality

Decoding Your Dog’s Personality

People have distinct personalities, and it is obvious to any pet owner that our dogs also have individual personalities. We can take the Myers-Briggs test to gain insight into how we interact with others and make decisions, but understanding canine characteristics can be trickier. Thankfully, researchers have done a lot of work to understand what is going on behind those soulful eyes.

Personality in the DNA

German Shepherds are loyal, vizslas stick to their people like Velcro, and cocker spaniels are playful. Dog breeds are often associated with their behavior as much as their physical appearance. Using genetic data and results from the Canine Behavioral Assessment & Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ), researchers have been able to find 131 spots in dog DNA that could be responsible for 14 different dog personality traits, according to Science Magazine. While a big step forward in understanding the heritability of personality traits in dogs, more research is still needed. So far, no single gene can be linked to behavior in a specific breed, according to the report.

Like Dog, Like Owner

Domestication of modern dogs happened somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago, according to Science Daily. Since that time, dogs have lived closely with humans as working animals and companions. Dogs are so in tune with us they can even read our facial expressions. Research has shown that dogs react to different to human emotions such as happiness and anger, according to the American Animal Hospital Association. They may not always correctly interpret the face you’re making, but they are watching and responding. With dogs so inextricably linked to humans, it may not come as a surprise that new research suggests that owners play a role in shaping their dogs’ personalities. A study published in the Journal of Research in Personality shows that dog personalities can change over time, according to Science Daily. The researchers found that those changes can occur due to how dogs interact with their owners. "Say you adopt a dog from a shelter. Some traits are likely tied to biology and resistant to change, but you then put it in a new environment where it's loved, walked and entertained often. The dog then might become a little more relaxed and sociable," said the study’s lead author William Chopik, according to the Science Daily report. It seems that nature and nurture come into play when shaping a dog’s personality, much the same as human personalities.

Do you know some dogs with strong personalities? Share this article to shed some light on what makes each of our four-footed friends unique.

 

Written by Carrie Pallardy

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