**Your Dog’s Personality Isn’t Dictated by Breed, Study Says**
**Breed determined less than one-tenth of differences in behavior among thousands of dogs**
**By Renée Onque, The Wall Street Journal, Apr. 28, 2022**
**...Breed was responsible for less than one-tenth of differences in behavior among thousands of dogs, the researchers said in a study published Thursday in the journal Science. Based on a survey of more than 18,000 owners and genetic sequencing from more than 2,000 of their dogs, breed ancestry wasn’t a very accurate indicator of traits such as how easily dogs are provoked by uncomfortable situations. ...**
**Dr. Karlsson’s team examined the correlation of breed and traits including how comfortable dogs were around humans, the way they interacted with toys, whether they liked to cuddle with their owners and how well they obeyed commands....Genes shared within a breed were also somewhat predictive of how likely a purebred dog was to listen to its owner’s instructions, especially in border collies....**
**The results affirm the role that socialization and experience play in dictating behavior...** [end quote]
I’m a strong believer in rescuing dogs instead of buying a small puppy from a breeder. Many good dogs are placed in rescue for no fault of their own. (e.g. the owner becomes sick or moves to an apartment where pets aren’t allowed.)
Whether rescuing a dog or buying from a breeder, it’s important to test the dog’s personality since individuals can differ dramatically even in one litter. I know a woman who bought her first dog from a breeder (without doing any previous research on dogs) and deliberately chose the most stand-offish, least social pup. She didn’t realize what a big mistake she made. The pup grew into a horror of a dog, aggressive and resistant to training. Other pups from the same litter were probably different.
I tested all my dogs from rescue, using the personality and intelligence test in the book, “The Intelligence of Dogs.”
Dogs are highly influenced by experience. The woman who rescued my border collie/ German Shepherd mix told us that he had no issues. We discovered that was true with women, probably because all the rescuers were women. He had clearly been abused by a man, which we only discovered when he reacted to DH at home. He eventually learned to love DH but is still suspicious of men in a way that he isn’t of women. As for personality stereotypes, neither the border collie nor the GSD is known as a particularly affectionate breed, but this dog is passionately loving toward me. (Maybe because he was half-starved when I got him and gave him a job as “kitchen dog” who cleans all the plates and pots before washing them.) He is also very smart and very cooperative.
It’s interesting to see the statistics that show that dog personalities are more shaped by socialization, training and experience than by breed.
Life expectancy is a different matter. Life expectancy is strongly affected by physical characteristics of breeds. Flat-faced breeds have shorter life spans. Large dogs have shorter life spans than smaller dogs. Overweight dogs have shorter life spans than physically fit dogs.