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Perceived Aggressive Tendencies and Functional Attitudes Towards Various Breeds of Dogs

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Abstract

The current study sought to add to the existing literature by evaluating judgements of aggression for specific breeds of dogs, and functional attitudes towards those breeds.
Perceived Aggressive Tendencies and Functional Attitudes Towards
Various Breeds of Dogs
Elizabeth M. Briones & Philip H. Marshall
Department of Psychological Sciences, Texas Tech University
Introduction
Little empirical research has focused on the
perceived behavioral differences in breeds of
dogs.
Common misconceptions of dog behavior
create serious problems for specific breeds
as these perceptions lead to negative
stereotypes and decreased pet ownership
(Protopopova, Gilmour, Weiss, Shen, &
Wynne, 2012 ; Wright, Smith, Daniel, &
Adkins, 2007).
PARTICIPANTS
n= 274 (comprised of 2 samples)
age 18 -77 (M= 24.63, SD = 11.10)
female 78.47%
MATERIALS & PROCEDURE
30 dog breeds were selected for
inclusion
aggression ratings on a VAS from
0-10
six 5-point Likert-type functional
attitudes questions (FA)
A list of mean ratings for perceived
aggression was produced. The 5 highest and
5 lowest perceived aggressive breeds are
listed:
The current study sought to add to the
existing literature by evaluating judgements
of aggression for specific breeds of dogs,
and functional attitudes towards those
breeds.
Our findings suggest as perceived aggression
for specific breeds increases, functional
attitudes about these breeds decrease.
Specifically, a person’s level of interaction is
affected by the specific breed of dog, such
that people are less likely to interact with
breeds that are perceived to have more
aggressive tendencies.
Are “aggressive” breeds being accurately
represented or do stereotyping myths exist?
Future studies would benefit from assessing
consistencies between actual measures of
aggression and perceptions of dog breed
behavior.
References
Duffy, D., Hsu, Y., & Serpell, J. (2008). Breed differences in canine aggression. Applied
Animal Behaviour Science, 114(3-4), 441-460.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2008.04.006
Podberscek, A. (1994). Dog on a tightrope: The position of the dog in British society as
influenced by press reports on dog attacks (1988 to 1992). Anthrozoös, 7(4), 232-241.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/089279394787001772
Protopopova, A., Gilmour, A., Weiss, R., Shen, J., & Wynne, C. (2012). The effects of
social training and other factors on adoption success of shelter dogs. Applied Animal
Behaviour Science, 142(1-2), 61-68. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2012.09.009
Wells , D., & Hepper, P. (2012). The personality of “aggressive” and “non-aggressive” dog
owners. Personality and Individual Differences, 53(6), 770-773.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2012.05.038
Wright, J., Smith, A., Daniel, K., & Adkins, K. (2007). Dog breed stereotype and exposure
to negative behavior: Effects on perceptions of adoptability. Journal of Applied Animal
Welfare Science, 10(3), 255-265. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10888700701353956
Method Discussion
Does this dog look friendly
or threatening?
Why?
The limited research that has investigated
aggressive behaviors has found breed
inconsistencies with those that have
stereotypically been perceived as
“aggressive” (e.g. German Shepherd,
Rottweiler, American Pit Bull Terrier)
(Duffy, Hsu, & Serpell, 2008; Podberscek,
1994; Wells, & Hepper, 2012).
Alongside measures of perceived aggression
for specific breeds, the current study sought
to explore peoples’ functional attitudes
related to such perceptions.
To assess if these attitudes coincided with
perceptions of breeds of dogs, we asked
several practical questions about a person’s
intended behaviors toward certain breeds.
Results
Highly
Aggressive
Least Aggressive
Most
Popular
(2015)
Staffordshire Terrier
Greyhound
German Shepherd
Rottweiler
Siberian Husky
Bulldog
Malamute
Whippet
Beagle
Chow Chow
Golden Retriever
French Bulldog
Doberman
Portuguese Water
Dog
Yorkshire Terrier
Saint Bernard
Bernese Mountain
Dog
Poodle
Great Dane
Collie
Pointer (German
shorthaired)
Akita
Labrador Retriever
Dachshund
Mastiff
Brittany Spaniel
Miniature Schnauzer
Boxer
Basset Hound
Australian Shepherd
Correlation analyses were performed for the
6 functional attitudes questions (FA) and
mean perceived aggression for all 30 breeds:
Breed
Mean
agg
.
rating
Rottweiler
5.67
Doberman
Pinscher
5.46
German
Shepherd
5.13
Boxer
4.97
Staffordshire
Terrier
4.92
Breed
Mean
agg
.
rating
Collie
2.58
Australian
Shepherd
2.45
Beagle
2.29
Golden
Retriever
2.24
Basset Hound
2.05
Aggression
FA1
- child
-.91**
FA2
- park
-.93**
FA3
- live
-.81**
FA4
- pay
-.39*
FA5
- exp
-.22
FA6
- own
-.06
Note.
Bonferroni corrected alpha p = .008.
* < .05, ** < .008.
Acknowledgments
Breed images © the American Kennel Club (AKC), used with permission.
Presented at the Meetings of the Southwestern
Psychological Association, San Antonio, TX, 2017
Contact information: elizabeth.briones@ttu.edu
... • Previous research has shown that ratings of perceived aggressiveness in dog breeds results in distinct categories (Briones & Marshall, 2017). ...
... • Breeds were categorized into 3 groups (High, Medium, and Low) based on perceived aggressiveness ratings obtained elsewhere (Briones & Marshall, 2017). ...
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