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The English Cocker Spaniel: Preliminary findings on aggressive behaviour

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Abstract

Two thousand questionnaires were distributed randomly via the Kennel Club (UK) to owners of purebred English Cocker Spaniels (ECSs). Owners were asked to give details about the ECSs they owned: age, sex, neuter status, coat colour. They were also asked to indicate whether their dog showed aggression (on a 1–5 scale; 1, never or almost never; 5, always or almost always) in any of 13 situations. These were: aggression towards strange dogs (A1), towards strangers approaching the dog (A2), towards persons approaching/visiting the home (A3), towards persons approaching the owner away from home (A4), towards children in the household (A5), towards other dogs in the household (A6), when the owner gives attention to other person or animal (A7), toward owner or member of owner's family (A8), when disciplined (A9), when reached for or handled (A10), when in restricted spaces (A11), at meal times/ defending food (A12) and, suddenly and without apparent reason (A13).
... Accounting for the reason for neutering when investigating the impacts of neutering on behaviour is important. Podberscek and Serpell (73) reported that the increased aggression identified in neutered dogs compared to entire dogs disappeared when dogs that were neutered because of aggression were removed from the analysis. In the current study, no bitches were neutered for aggression, or other behavioural reasons, and so this contributes data to the small number of studies where neutering for behavioural reasons was considered. ...
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There are few studies that investigate the effect of neutering bitches before or after puberty. The majority of current literature examining the impact of the timing of neutering on health and behaviour has used age rather than the onset of puberty as the key variable. The aim of this prospective cohort study was to investigate the effects of timing of neutering in relation to puberty on behaviour in female dogs reared and trained in an assistance dog programme. The study examined data for bitches neutered before or after puberty to compare scores for six behavioural factors (training and obedience, aggression, fear and anxiety, excitability, attachment and attention-seeking, and social behaviour) measured at 1 and 3 years of age. Labrador and Golden Retriever crossbreed bitches were neutered before (n = 155) or after (n = 151) puberty. Neutering before or after puberty had no impact on mean scores for the six behavioural factors at 1 or 3 years of age. When examining the change in behavioural factor scores between 1 and 3 years of age, only aggression behavioural factor scores were influenced by neutering before or after puberty. Bitches neutered after puberty were less likely to have aggression factor scores that increased between 1 and 3 years of age (OR = 0.959, 90% CI = 0.924 to 0.995, p = 0.06). However, the majority of bitches scored “0” for aggression at both time points (indicating no aggression behaviours were observed), and the number of bitches for which scores increased between 1 and 3 years of age was low (before puberty = 20, after puberty = 9). This is consistent with very mild aggressive behaviours being observed in a small number of animals and is, therefore, of questionable concern. The results suggest that, for Labrador and Golden Retriever crossbreed bitches, neutering before or after puberty has little to no effect on future behaviour. It is recommended that decisions about the timing of neutering are not informed solely by impacts on behaviour, but that they also consider evidence relating to the impacts on bitch health and well-being.
... Physiological aspects must be considered in the study of the variables related to the cat's personality. As mentioned above, different studies have showed evidence of the relationship between the physical appearance of mammals and personality traits [7,8], which is based on the fact that the pigment melanin shares a synthesis pathway with a group of catecholamines and neurotransmitters [9], such as dopamine, which may lead to associations between pigmentation and personality traits [8]. Personality trait is a multidetermined variable. ...
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Studies regarding the cat-owner bond are quite rare, and several aspects merit more research, including personality trait differences in cats related to coat color and the cat-owner relationship. The objectives of the study were to describe, from the perspective of their owners, the personality traits of cats based on their coat colors and to evaluate the relationships among the Cat Owner Relationship Scale (CORS), its subscales and the traits of cats. Therefore, the CORS was translated into Spanish, and its psychometric properties were assessed. For the personality traits of cats, participants answered a 7-point Likert scale indicating the extent to which they agreed with the following characteristics in describing their cats: active, aloof, bold, calm, friendly, intolerant, shy, stubborn, tolerant and trainable. 211 cat owners living in Mexico participated. Owners perceived their cats as being bold and friendly. Gray cats had the highest score for being as shy, aloof and intolerant, while orange cats had the highest scores for being trainable, friendly and calm. Tabbies the highest for bold and active, tricolor cats for stubborn, and bicolor cats for tolerant. The 3 CORS subscales had adequate psychometric properties when evaluated separately. Cat-owner interaction was positively correlated with an active and friendly personality and negatively correlated with aloofness. Emotional closeness was positively correlated with an active, bold and friendly personality, and perceived cost was negatively correlated with boldness.
... A wealth of information can be found in the scientific literature on the pleiotropic effects of the genes responsible for phaneroptical characters such as coat and eye color on the development and function of neural structures [73][74][75]. In this context, temperament features such as calmness and nervousness were reported to be quantitatively differentiated on the basis of coat color among individuals of the same species [76][77][78][79] and thus further drive the selection criteria for breeding purposes. ...
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Several idiosyncratic and genetically correlated traits are known to extensively influence leadership in both domestic and wild species. For minor livestock such as camels, however, this type of behavior remains loosely defined and approached only for sex-mixed herds. The interest in knowing those animal-dependent variables that make an individual more likely to emerge as a leader in a single-sex camel herd has its basis in the sex-separated breeding of Canarian dromedary camels for utilitarian purposes. By means of an ordinal logistic regression, it was found that younger, gelded animals may perform better when eliciting the joining of mates, assuming that they were castrated just before reaching sexual maturity and once they were initiated in the pertinent domestication protocol for their lifetime functionality. The higher the body weight, the significantly (p < 0.05) higher the score in the hierarchical rank when leading group movements, although this relationship appeared to be inverse for the other considered zoometric indexes. Camels with darker and substantially depigmented coats were also significantly (p < 0.05) found to be the main initiators. Routine intraherd management and leisure tourism will be thus improved in efficiency and security through the identification and selection of the best leader camels.
... The incidence of aggression was highest in dogs kept outdoors without confinement and in dogs kept indoors with backyard access. These behaviors indicate territorial aggression, which is a natural canine instinct resulting from the need to guard own territory against other dogs and animals [49]. Dogs naturally protect their territory where they feel safe and where their basic needs are met. ...
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Abnormal repetitive behaviors often pose problems for dog owners. Such behaviors are considered undesirable if they pose a nuisance or a danger to humans. Ancient dog breeds are intelligent, sociable, active, boisterous and need regular outdoor exercise, but are also independent and reluctant to follow commands. This study aimed to identify factors (breed, sex, origin, housing conditions) and situations that contribute to undesirable behaviors, such as aggression towards humans and other dogs/animals, separation anxiety, excessive vocalization, and oral and locomotion behaviors in Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Basenji, Samoyed and Siberian husky. Undesirable behaviors in dogs were analyzed based on the results of 897 questionnaires. Breed influenced aggressive behavior towards other dogs/animals, aggression towards humans, undesirable oral and locomotion behaviors, and excessive vocalization. Aggressive behaviors were more prevalent in females than in males. Housing conditions were linked with aggression towards other dogs/animals, aggression at mealtime, and excessive vocalization. Undesirable behaviors were most frequently reported in Akitas, Siberian huskies and Samoyeds, and they were more prevalent in males than in females and dogs living indoors with or without access to a backyard. Aggressive behaviors towards other dogs and animals, excessive vocalization and undesirable motor activities posed the greatest problems in ancient dog breeds.
... This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0) Uncastrated male dogs are calmer and more pleasant than neutered dogs [16][17][18]. ...
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Objective: This study was carried out to study the influence of gender, neuter status, and training method on police dog narcotics olfaction performance, behavior, and welfare. Materials and methods: A total of 120 German Shepherds aged 1-3 years were used for this study. The dogs were separated into two experiments. The first experiment (32 dogs and 28 bitches) was used to study the influence of gender on olfaction and smell to narcotics in police dog performance and training methods with behavioral problems and welfare. The second experiment (30 dogs and 30 bitches) was used to study the influence of sexual status (entire or neutered) on the smelling of narcotics in police dog performance by comparing with intact dogs and bitches. Results: We found that there were significant differences in sex in training to detect narcotics. Male German Shepherds were found to be significantly more trainable than females. Neutering causes a difference in trainability in male and female dogs. Gonadectomy had adverse effects on training. The intact male and female German Shepherds were found to be significantly more trainable than the neutered ones, and the reward-based method was found to be significantly more trainable than punishment. Dog training methods incorporated by punishment result in pain, suffering, emotional instability, symptoms of depression, aggression, unwanted barking, growling at other people, not under control all time, less trainability, increased problematic behavior, and decreased dog welfare. Conclusion: Reward-based method is associated with lower lousy behavior and dogs with good behavior, such as, attachment attention behavior, dogs under the control of handler all times, higher trainability, less problematic behavior, and increased dog welfare.
... Al discutir el SPN conviene también considerar la posibilidad de que efectivamente existan características conductuales asociadas con el color del pelaje de los perros, el cual en animales domésticos ha sido asociado al temperamento del animal. Esta hipótesis se basa en el hecho de que el pigmento melanina comparte una vía de síntesis con el grupo de catecolaminas y algunos neurotransmisores como la dopamina, lo que podría dar lugar a asociaciones entre pigmentación y características conductuales resultantes de variaciones bioquímicas (Podberscek & Serpell, 1996). Sorprendentemente, las investigaciones encontraron características conductuales que contradecían la percepción general; es decir, los perros de colores más claros mostraban conductas consideradas no deseables por sus tenedores en mayor medida que los perros negros (Voslarova et al., 2019). ...
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La superpoblación de mascotas en refugios demanda la implementación de estrategias efectivas para incrementar las adopciones. El personal de refugios frecuentemente refiere la subadopción de perros de pelaje negro, denominada el Síndrome del Perro Negro (SPN); sin embargo, su existencia parece basarse más bien en material anecdótico. Para evaluarlo, se realizó a una revisión sistemática de estudios que estimarán el efecto del color del pelaje canino en diversas conductas humanas, incluyendo las adopciones. Las investigaciones evidencian que el SPN no se manifiesta de manera universal y directa, sino más bien, de manera regional y secundaria. El color del pelaje no funciona como un predictor particularmente útil sobre el destino de los perros de refugio, como sí lo hacen su edad y pureza de raza. Fomentar las adopciones de perros adultos y mestizos permitiría incrementarlas en número por sobre otras formas de adquisición, beneficiando a un mayor número de animales. Black dog syndrome: Review of studies on the influence of dark fur on dog adoption. The overpopulation of pets in shelters requires the implementation of effective strategies to increase the adoption rate. Shelters' staff usually reports lower adoption rate in dogs of black color fur, what is known as Black Dog Syndrome (BDS). However, its existence seems to be based on anecdotal data. In order to assess this, a systematic review of studies evaluating the effect of dogs' fur color on different aspects of human behavior, including adoption, was conducted. The investigations show that the BDS does not appear in a universal and direct fashion, but rather, in a regional and secondary manner. Fur color does not work as a particularly useful predictor for shelter dogs' destination, unlike their age and breed. Encouraging the adoption of adult and crossbred dogs would lead to an increase in the number of this kind of acquisition over others, benefiting a greater number of animals.
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Vocalization may transmit information from the emitting animal, including information about his or her emotional state. This study aimed to compare the vocal and behavioral responses of domestic cats during an aversive and a pleasant situation. A total of 74 cats (29 males and 45 females) in the city of Curitiba, Southern Brazil, participated in the study; 68 (26 males and 42 females) were divided into two treatments: an aversive situation (AS), which was a car transport event where the cat was in a crate, or a pleasant situation (PS), where the cat was were offered a snack. The other animals (three males and three females) participated in both situations. Behavioral signals and individual vocalizations were registered through video recordings and further evaluated in each scenario. Cats in the PS had a higher fundamental frequency of vocalizations (10.1%), a lower range of pitches (tessitura) (33.9%) and twice the rate of head movement rates as compared to AS. For call duration there was significant interaction between treatment and sex. Additionally, there were differences in vocal parameters and behavioral signals due to sex, age and coat color. Females and kittens have higher fundamental frequencies may be due to anatomical characteristics. Solid-colored coated cats presented higher fundamental frequency than other coat colors. Overall, vocal parameters and behavioral signals seem useful indicators for studying the emotions of cats in different situations. Further studies are warranted to understand the subtleties of cat vocalization across sex, age and coat color.
Thesis
p>The behavioural patterns of a clinical population of 82 dogs diagnosed with a behaviour disorder were measured in both familiar and unfamiliar environments in order to establish a representative record of their behavioural repertoire. The observed behaviour patterns and clinical diagnoses were then compared to the dogs' thyroid status. In a separate study, the behaviour, thyroid hormones and plasma cortisol titres of 11 dogs with problematic behaviour was monitored for a six-week period during the implementation of behaviour modification programmes. Lastly, the incidence of behaviour disorders in a population of 218 dogs with different profiles of thyroid function was also examined. A relationship was found between thyroxine and the incidence of aggressive behaviour in dogs; however this relationship indicated that a low level of thyroxine was associated with low rather then high levels of aggression. Reduced levels of thyroid hormone were generally associated with reduced behavioural activity, both directly observed and as reported by owners. Reporting of separation related disorders was reduced in the antibody positive forms of hypothyroidism, probably due to a reduction in overall activity, whilst training disorders and coprophagia were associated with the sub clinical form of hypothyroidism, possibly mediated through stress hormones. Reduced thyroid function appears to be associated with inactive behaviour patterns, which is consistent with the observation that the principle symptom of hypothyroidism is lethargy. The findings of this thesis do not support proposal that lowered thyroid function is related to aggressive behaviour in the dog. The link between behaviour, thyroid hormone titre and cortisol was explored, but insufficient physiological data was available and this connection warrants further investigation. Comparisons of diagnoses by three clinicians of 15 cases from the clinical population indicated only 60% agreement, pointing to a need for a more transparent and consistent system for the classification of behavioural disorders in dogs.</p
Chapter
Different tests have been developed for evaluating the temperament of cattle, pigs, and sheep and some studies appear to have conflicting results. This may be due to confusion between the basic emotional systems of fear and separation distress (panic). Methods used for temperament tests can alter results such as how tightly an animal is restrained in a squeeze chute during temperament evaluation. Animals with a more reactive (fearful) temperament will exhibit greater agitated behavioral reactions when suddenly confronted with novel objects. Animals can be habituated to new things but learning is very specific. Habituation to one type of strange object may not transfer to other types of objects. Animals with smaller-diameter leg bones and slender bodies may be more reactive (fearful). Facial hair whorl position is related to a vigilant temperament, and it may be more evident in populations with more diverse genetic backgrounds.
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Subjective beliefs in the personality of a dog based on its breed may result in misinterpretation or scientific bias. Because it has been proven that breed can influence the dog's personality, it is important to determine other genetic factors influencing canine behaviors. The present study investigated behavioral differences of the Jindo dogs based on sex. Thirty-three adult Jindo dogs (21 males and 12 females) were tested in 9 different behavioral subtests, and their behavioral responses to the subtests were recorded using two video cameras. A single blinded observer reviewed the videos and scored the dogs' behaviors from 1-5 based on: sociability, fear, aggression, and submission behaviors. Using the score data, a principal component analysis extracted primary factors: “defensive reactivity toward strangers and novel stimuli,” “nonaggressive reactivity toward a dog and humans,” “social reactivity toward friendly humans and novel stimuli,” “offensive reactivity toward fear evoking humans and novel stimuli,” “social reactivity toward fear evoking humans,” and “nonaggressive and social reactivity toward testing stimuli.” The male and female dogs were compared for the extracted six factors using multivariate analysis of variance. Based on the results, the female Jindo dogs, in contrast to the male dogs, exhibited significantly higher intensity of “nonaggressive reactivity to stranger and novel stimuli.” The results of this study could provide objective information for researchers of canine behavior and supplement baseline data on the Jindo breed. In addition, insight into the Jindo's personality could help potential owners and professional breeders to adapt their training method and expectations of their dogs.
Article
Prepuberal castration of male dogs did not significantly reduce mounting during development nor sexual responsiveness of the adult dog to the estrous female. Castrate males mounted frequently, vigorously, and with short latency as adults but never achieved a copulatory tie with the bitch. Aggressive behavior of castrate males was indistinguishable from that of intact males during development. In competition for estrous females, adult castrate males developed a dominance hierarchy amongst themselves as did intact males. The two groups also performed similarly in competition for bones.
Article
In 223 cases of dogs presented to a specialist behavioural clinic in Brisbane, Australia, 87 (39%) were for severe aggression. The classes of aggression included dominance (31.6%), territorial (29%), predatory (12.3%), intermale (12.3%), sibling rivalry (7.9%), fear biting (6%) and idiopathic rage (0.9%). The breeds most represented which attacked humans were the Bull Terrier (16%), German Shepherd and crosses (15%), Cattle dog breeds (Blue Heeler and crosses, 9.2%), Terrier breeds (9.2%), Labrador (8%), Poodle and Cocker Spaniel (both 5.7%) and Rottweiler (4.6%). The dangerous dog list put out by the local Brisbane City Council includes the first three breeds mentioned and the Rottweiler as the top four breeds causing aggression problems.Hospital records in Victoria and Queensland confirm that most damage is caused to humans by Bull Terriers and German Shepherds. Many breeds similar to those in our study are also represented in American data on aggressive breeds.Treatments included obedience training only, restraint only, obedience and restraint, synthetic progestins and obedience, castration, progestins and obedience, castration and obedience, use of chlorpromazine and as a last resort, euthanasia (12.6%). Entire males formed the largest group (44%), followed by castrated males and females (both 21%) and spayed females (15%).Several breeds (Boxer, Briand, Samoyed and St. Bernard) only attacked other animals and birds.This study reinforces evidence that social disruption is caused by aggressive dogs, but it also indicates that many responsible clients seek advice on how to deal with this behavioural problem.