A recent study at the University of Helsinki showed that aggression in dogs toward humans can be attributed to the following:
- The company of other dogs
- Owners previous experience with dogs
They determined that fearfulness had a strong influence on aggressive behavior. They found that older dogs were more likely to be aggressive than younger ones. They attribute this partly to age related pain or discomfort and impairment of their senses such as hearing and sight.
They found that small dogs were more aggressive than medium or large dogs. However, because of their small size people are less likely to feel threatened by a small dog’s aggressive behavior and thus not take measures to cure or prevent it.
The researchers found that males were more aggressive than females and that neutering and spaying had no effect on aggressiveness.
Not surprisingly, the researchers found that first time dog owners with less dog experience were more likely to have aggressive dogs. They also found that dogs who lived with other dogs were less likely to show aggressive behavior. Even though previous research has shown that multiple dog households have less aggression, it is unclear why.
Interestingly, the researchers found that the Long-haired Collie (Lassie type), Poodle (all sizes) and Miniature Schnauzers were the most aggressive breeds leading to the consideration that this is related to genetics. I would like to point out that it seems that the researchers focused on the common pet breeds and did not consider the breeds that are by nature aggressive, but not common pets.
The bottom line is that anyone who is considering getting a dog should thoroughly research the breed and the lines that are available to them in their area. The temperament of a breed can vary from area to area based on the local breeding practices. I offer an informative brochure at no cost about how to select the right dog and the right breeder. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy with “brochure” in the subject line.