Management and Personality in Labrador Retriever dogs
Canine personality is of keen interest to dog owners and researchers alike. The regular human contact with them makes dogs an ideal species to use in the investigation of animal personality. This study specifically focused on Labrador Retrievers, consistently one of the most popular breeds both in the UK and around the world. Using surveys completed by dog owners, data was gathered on the behaviour of the dogs, in addition to the physical characteristics and management characteristics of the dogs (n = 1978). Twelve personality traits were identified and investigated for associations with the demographic data. It was found that the working status of the dog was more commonly associated with differences in personality than other analyzed factors. Gundogs had higher scores for ‘fetching tendency’ and ‘trainability’ than Showdogs or Pets (P < 0.05). Chocolate dogs were more ‘agitated when ignored’ and showed more ‘excitability’ than black dogs, and lower ‘trainability’ and ‘noise fear’ than both yellow and black dogs (all P < 0.05). Dogs exercised for longer periods showed less aggression, less fear of humans and objects and lower separation anxiety than dogs that were not as active. The effects observed in this study may be due to the experience and training of the dogs, the work-related genetic strain of Labrador Retriever or most likely, a combination of both influences.