The dog has accompanied humanity for more than 30,000 years. Throughout history it has been used for numerous activities, such as defense or hunting, until it became man’s best friend.
Currently, there are officially recognized more than 343 different breeds of dog, according to the International Cynological Federation. However, this number is higher as it is a dynamic figure that grows every year.
Each breed has its own characteristics and personality, marked by environmental factors and genetics. This has been demonstrated by a study from the University of Helsinki, in which they confirm that not all dogs are the same and that the breed determines their personality.
In the study, carried out with more than 11,000 dogs of 300 different breeds, the canine genetics researchers analyzed different factors about their behavior, such as insecurity, concentration in training, aggressiveness/dominance, energy, canine sociability, human sociability and perseverance. . Thanks to the analysis of the data, they were able to identify which dog breeds are the most “friendly” with humans.
“Dog breed is the most important determinant underlying personality differences. All dogs are individuals, and all breeds have different traits, but breeds differ in personality type,” said researcher Milla Salonen.
According to the research, the ranking of man’s best friends is led by bull terriers, followed by the so-called teacup dogs, including Yorkshire terriers, dwarf poodles, Chihuahuas, Maltese bichons, pugs, Pekingese and other breeds of toy size
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In third position are the golden retrievers, followed by the Jack Russell and the dachshund or dachshund.
On the opposite side of the list are shepherd and livestock guard dogs, primitive Asian breeds, greyhounds or greyhounds and sled dogs, as the least friendly breeds with humans.
Regarding the environmental factors that influence the behavior of a dog towards a human and another animal, socialization in the puppy stage was the most significant. According to the study, putting a dog through a large number of socialization experiences in the puppy stage (between seven weeks and four months of age) is associated with less insecurity and aggressiveness or dominance, as well as greater concentration. in training and sociability with humans.
“Our findings indicate that new owners should familiarize their puppies as much as possible with unfamiliar people, places, and animals. Of course, socialization should always be done on the pup’s terms, which means the pup shouldn’t be forced into frightening situations,” Salonen explains.
On the other hand, the age of the animal is also closely related to its behavior. Thus, in older dogs, the mean concentration trait in training was higher than in young dogs. Furthermore, an opposite link was observed between age and human and canine insecurity, energy, and sociability, as in young dogs, this mean was higher.
Another factor that influences the personality of dogs, although to a lesser extent, is the frequency with which they are played with.
Regarding the differences between the sexes, the study revealed that female dogs were more focused on training and were more insecure than males, while males were more aggressive or dominant, sociable and energetic.
The study also highlights that when incorporating a dog into the family, its personality must be taken into account, since it can influence the relationship between the owner and the pet. In many cases undesirable behavior can lead to abandonment.