James A Serpell

James A Serpell
University of Pennsylvania | UP · Clinical Sciences & Advanced Medicine – Philadelphia

PhD

About

208
Publications
315,597
Reads
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Introduction
James A Serpell is Emeritus Professor of Animal Welfare in the Department Clinical Sciences and Advanced Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. James does research in anthrozoology, and on the behavior and welfare of companion animals.

Publications

Publications (208)
Article
Full-text available
Dog ownership contributes positively to physical activity (PA). The impact of different dog breeds and age on PA is less investigated in longitudinal studies. This study aimed to evaluate PA changes in dog owners as their dogs' ages increased and to explore whether there are differences in PA between owners of different breeds over a three-year per...
Article
Full-text available
Millions of animals are adopted from animal shelters in the United States each year, although some are returned post-adoption, which can decrease both the animals’ chances of future adoptions and the owners’ willingness to adopt again. In this study, we investigated the impact of adopter expectations for ownership and animal behavioral problems on...
Article
Full-text available
To date, investigations of the welfare of therapy dogs have focused largely on examining physiological and behavioral measures that could indicate if the animal is experiencing stress or distress. However, this approach does not fully address the definition of welfare which is often described as existing on a continuum from negative (or stressful)...
Article
Full-text available
Background Very little is known about the etiology of personality and psychiatric disorders. Because the core neurobiology of many such traits is evolutionarily conserved, dogs present a powerful model. We previously reported genome scans of breed averages of ten traits related to fear, anxiety, aggression and social behavior in multiple cohorts of...
Article
Full-text available
Unsuccessful animal adoptions are stressful for many owners and may reduce their willingness to adopt again. The goal of this study was to determine the proportion of return owners who adopted post-return and investigate return characteristics that affected the likelihood of post-return adoption. We analyzed adoption records from a South Carolina a...
Article
Shelter medicine appears to be popular among prospective veterinarians, but there is a shortage of veterinarians entering the field to fill available positions. The reasons for this discordance are not well understand. This study describes veterinary students’ interest in shelter medicine, their perceptions of common duties, and their perceptions o...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioral traits like aggression, anxiety, and trainability differ significantly across dog breeds and are highly heritable. However, the neural bases of these differences are unknown. Here we analyzed structural MRI scans of 62 dogs in relation to breed-average scores for the 14 major dimensions in the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Qu...
Article
Full-text available
Undesirable behavior is a leading cause of canine relinquishment. Relinquishing owners could provide valuable information about their dog's behavior, although the reliability of their reports has been questioned by the sheltering community. This study aimed to investigate (a) whether relinquishing owners' reports of dog behavior differed based on t...
Article
The Fe-BARQ is a survey instrument designed to improve understanding of feline behavior that has been validated within a US population but not within a Spanish one. The Spanish version was translated and subjected to the same validation process, replicating the procedure described in the original research. Exploratory Factor Analysis of 816 questio...
Article
Full-text available
Shelter medicine has grown considerably over recent years with many shelters hiring veterinarians for the first time or expanding their veterinary teams. As a result, there is a dearth of shelter veterinarians and retention has become a key concern for the field. The goal of this study was to describe veterinarians' perceptions of shelter medicine,...
Article
Anxiety tends to aggregate in families, and families increasingly include companion animals, such as dogs. Based on previous research pointing to a 'personality fit' between humans and their companion dogs, this study explored the potential association between owners' trait anxiety and dogs' fear and anxiety-related behavior problems, while also te...
Article
Full-text available
Animal shelters commonly experience difficulties finding homes for dogs with pre-existing medical or behavioral issues. The purpose of this study was to investigate the various factors that contribute to people’s willingness to consider adopting dogs with different behavioral and medical needs and backgrounds. A web-based survey was created using t...
Article
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The work of archaeozoologists and molecular geneticists suggests that the domestication of the wolf (Canis lupus)-the ancestor of the domestic dog (C. familiaris)-probably occurred somewhere between 40,000 and 15,000 years ago somewhere on the Eurasian continent, perhaps in more than one location. Wolf domestication was therefore underway many mill...
Article
Full-text available
A considerable number of adopted animals are returned to animal shelters post-adoption which can be stressful for both the animal and the owner. In this retrospective analysis of 23,932 animal records from a US shelter, we identified animal characteristics associated with the likelihood of return, key return reasons, and outcomes post-return for do...
Article
Full-text available
Human and canine parameters can affect the development of canine behavior problems, although their influence on the dog's response to veterinary behavioral treatment remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the possible associations between canine behavior following clinical intervention and canine demographic characteristics, owner persona...
Article
The Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ©) (http://www.cbarq.org) has been used to measure behaviors associated with release or graduation from several assistance dog programs, however it has never been evaluated within a prison environment. This study investigated whether a modified version of the C-BARQ© can be utilized...
Article
The current study investigated associations between behavioral problems in Brazilian dogs and the demographic characteristics of both the dogs and their owners, as well as the quality of owner-dog relationship. Although Brazil has a large population of dogs, little is known about their behavioral profiles and to what extent they are comparable to t...
Article
Full-text available
The Equine Behaviour Assessment and Research Questionnaire (E-BARQ) was developed to obtain quantitative data on the domestic equine triad: training, management and behaviour. It can be taken repeatedly, thus collecting longitudinal data to enable evaluation of how changes in a horse's training and management are reflected in that horse's behaviour...
Article
Full-text available
The Equine Behaviour Assessment and Research Questionnaire (E-BARQ) is a questionnaire instrument developed to obtain quantitative data on the domestic equine triad of training, management, and behaviour of horses. The E-BARQ was developed to identify how changes in training and management impact behaviour over time, to define normal behaviour in h...
Article
Full-text available
Over the last decade, equitation scientists have increasingly relied on online survey tools to gather information on horse training, management, behaviour and other equine-related subjects. With a detailed knowledge of their animals, horse owners and riders are ideally placed to contribute to research but are sometimes reluctant to engage with and...
Preprint
Full-text available
Very little is known about the etiology of personality and psychiatric disorders. Because the core neurobiology of many such traits is evolutionarily conserved, dogs present a powerful model. We previously reported genome scans of breed averages of ten traits related to fear, anxiety, aggression and social behavior in multiple cohorts of pedigree d...
Preprint
Full-text available
Genetic studies show a general factor associated with all human psychopathology and strongly correlated with personality and intelligence, but its basis is unknown. We performed genome scans of 17 normal and problem behaviors in three multi-breed dog cohorts. 21 of 90 mapped loci were supported for the same, or a related, trait in a second cohort....
Article
The benefits of animal-assisted interventions (AAI), to utilize companion animals as an adjunctive treatment modality, is well-established and a burgeoning research field. However, few studies have evaluated the potential hazards of these programs, such as the potential for therapy animals to transfer hospital-associated pathogens between individua...
Article
Full-text available
Organizations that deliver animal-assisted interventions (AAIs), as well as those that train, evaluate, and register therapy dogs, have proliferated in recent decades in the United States (U.S.). Each of these organizations has its own policies and procedures for screening, evaluating, and instructing dogs and their owners/handlers, but little is c...
Article
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As crossbred dogs gain in popularity, how they express inherited behaviour traits in comparison to their purebred constituent breeds is of interest. We investigated behaviours exhibited by crossbred dogs by focusing on the popular Goldendoodle and Labradoodle crossbreds and comparing them to their corresponding constituent breeds: Standard and Mini...
Article
Full-text available
Spaying of female dogs is a widespread practice, performed primarily for population control. While the consequences of early spaying for health are still being debated, the consequences for behaviour are believed to be negligible. The current study focused on the reported behaviour of 8981 female dogs spayed before 520 weeks (ten years) of life for...
Article
Variation across dog breeds presents a unique opportunity to investigate the evolution and biological basis of complex behavioural traits. We integrated behavioural data from more than 14 000 dogs from 101 breeds with breed-averaged genotypic data (n = 5697 dogs) from over 100 000 loci in the dog genome. We found high levels of among-breed heritabi...
Article
Full-text available
Attending the veterinary clinic is an integral part of the physical welfare of every companion dog. However, some dogs experience their veterinary visits negatively, which poses a risk of injury to the veterinary staff, their guardian (owner) and themselves. It may also influence the regularity of non-urgent veterinary appointments. To date there h...
Article
Full-text available
There is a well-established relationship between joint hypermobility and anxiety in humans, that has not previously been investigated in other species. A population of 5575 assistance dogs were scored for both hip hypermobility and 13 behaviour characteristics using previously validated methods. Our results suggest a positive association between hi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Attending the veterinary clinic is an integral part of the physical welfare of every companion dog. However, some dogs experience their veterinary visits negatively, which poses a risk of injury to the veterinary staff, their guardian (owner) and themselves during veterinary examinations. It may also influence the regularity of non-urgent veterinar...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to evaluate the welfare of non-human animals accurately and objectively is influenced by a variety of factors including the nature of our relationships with them. Subjective biases in the perception of an animal’s quality of life can have either positive or negative consequences for its welfare and are likely to be particularly exaggera...
Article
Full-text available
Assistance dogs can greatly improve the lives of people with disabilities. However, a large proportion of dogs bred and trained for this purpose are deemed unable to successfully fulfill the behavioral demands of this role. Often, this determination is not finalized until weeks or even months into training, when the dog is close to 2 years old. Thu...
Preprint
Full-text available
Variation across dog breeds presents a unique opportunity for investigating the evolution and biological basis of complex behavioral traits. We integrated behavioral data from more than 17,000 dogs from 101 breeds with breed-averaged genotypic data (N = 5,697 dogs) from over 100,000 loci in the dog genome. Across 14 traits, we found that breed diff...
Article
Full-text available
The human-dog relationship is thought to be the oldest domestic animal partnership. These relationships are complex and can become problematic when they become dysfunctional. The most common signs of dysfunctional human-dog partnerships are behaviour problems that, when unidentified and uncorrected, can be a clear danger to both species and the pub...
Data
Original responses to European Portuguese C-Barq. (DOCX)
Chapter
Companion animals (or pets) form a distinctive category of domestic animals defined by their primary use as nonhuman social support providers. Companion animals have an ancient history that may precede and anticipate the original domestication of animals. Currently, more than 60% of European and American households keep pets, and their numbers are...
Article
Full-text available
The popularity of various breeds of dog and, by extension, the ancestors of at least a portion of the crossbred population varies over time. As pedigree dogs tend to exhibit breed-specific behaviour, the loads of both adaptive and less adaptive canine behaviours within society might also be expected to vary with trends in popularity, assuming that...
Article
Understanding fear behavior in puppies is important for dog welfare, prevention of behavioral issues, and ensuring research assessments are accurate. Further research is necessary to determine which specific behaviors puppies show when they are fearful and whether these behaviors are similar to those seen in older dogs. We assessed which puppy beha...
Article
Full text of this article is available at: https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1XqTrcF2OWoJx
Article
Full-text available
Cook et al. (2018) provide a fascinating demonstration of amygdala activation in dogs when they witnessed their owners giving food to another (fake) dog, but not when they placed food in a bucket. Dogs' neurological responses were positively correlated with their reported levels of 'dog-directed aggression' as measured by the C-BARQ, and dogs with...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioral traits such as trainability, fearlessness, and energy are required for dogs to succeed as search-and-rescue (SAR) dogs. Certification by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) ensures that dogs and handlers have extensive training and have demonstrated specific skills in the field. To determine whether behavioral differences exis...
Article
Full-text available
Castration of dogs is a widespread practise with clear justification in population control and knock-on benefits for animal welfare. Deleterious behavioural consequences of castration are believed to be negligible. Gonadectomy is widely recommended as part of a multi-facto-rial approach to prevent problems including aggression in dogs. However, the...
Data
C-BARQ attributes showing percentage differences of high C-BARQ item scores between entire and castrated male dogs. A negative valence in the % difference column indicates that entire dogs show high levels of the behaviour less frequently than castrated dogs. (DOCX)
Data
Numbers of dogs of the 27 breeds and crosses tested in the current study. (DOCX)
Data
The distribution of lifetime exposure to gonadal hormones in the castrated male dogs (n = 6235) in the current study. (DOCX)
Article
Free-roaming dogs (FRDs) pose a significant health threat to humans, other animals and the environment. Yet, the effects of their movements and habitat use within cities and adjacent rural areas are poorly known, especially in relation to predation and the transmission of diseases that can impact human health (i.e., cystic echinococcosis and rabies...
Article
Full-text available
Gonadectomy is widely used to treat and prevent behavior problems including the aggressive behavior of dogs. The aim of this study was to determine whether aggressive behavior toward familiar people, strangers, or other dogs was significantly different in dogs gonadectomized at various ages vs. intact dogs using the Canine Behavioral Assessment Res...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioral problems are a major source of poor welfare and premature mortality in companion dogs. Previous studies have demonstrated associations between owners’ personality and psychological status and the prevalence and/or severity of their dogs’ behavior problems. However, the mechanisms responsible for these associations are currently unknown....
Data
Attitude to Training questionnaire. (DOCX)
Article
Full-text available
It is often assumed that measures of temperament within individuals are more correlated to one another than to measures of problem solving. However, the exact relationship between temperament and problem-solving tasks remains unclear because large-scale studies have typically focused on each independently. To explore this relationship, we tested 11...
Article
Full-text available
A continuing debate in studies of social development in both humans and other animals is the extent to which early life experiences affect adult behavior. Also unclear are the relative contributions of cognitive skills (“intelligence”) and temperament for successful outcomes. Guide dogs are particularly suited to research on these questions. To suc...
Article
Aggression in dogs is a safety concern both for humans and animals, and can lead to decreased animal welfare in affected dogs due to potential abuse, neglect, relinquishment or euthanasia. We examined risk factors associated with stranger-directed aggression in dogs using the previously validated, Canine Behavioural Assessment and Research Question...
Article
Full-text available
A number of dog breeds suffer from welfare problems due to extreme phenotypes and high levels of inherited diseases but the popularity of such breeds is not declining. Using a survey of owners of two popular breeds with extreme physical features (French Bulldog and Chi-huahua), one with a high load of inherited diseases not directly related to conf...
Article
Full-text available
Studies of the effects of animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) face a number of theoretical and practical challenges. Proposed theoretical processes for the effects of AAIs include those that address primarily the animal’s ability to facilitate human–human social engagement, those that emphasize animals’ apparent capacity to trigger social attachme...
Article
Full-text available
A questionnaire instrument for obtaining quantitative behavioral evaluations of pet cats from cat owners was developed and validated. Exploratory Factor Analysis of 2608 questionnaire responses to 149 behavioral questions/items extracted a total of 23 distinct factors that measured most of the more common dimensions of cat behavior. Seventeen of th...