Genetics of Aggression, Fear and Sociability in Everyday Life of Swedish Dogs

Last changed: 03 September 2014

H. Eken Asp, P. Arvelius, W.F. Fikse, K. Nilsson and E. Strandberg

Most potential dog owners are looking for a non-aggressive, non-fearful, social and easily trained dog that functions well in everyday life. Despite this, most studies of genetic components for behavior traits have mainly focused on analyzing results from behavior tests and not everyday behavior data. The aim of this study was to estimate genetic parameters for aggression, fear, sociability and trainability in everyday life by using a questionnaire to assess information of the dog’s everyday behavior.

The genetic analysis included 3128 records distributed over 14 breeds. The effect of breed, sex and age were adjusted for in the estimations of genetic parameters. The estimated heritabilities ranged between 0.08 and 0.38, with the highest heritability found for human-directed play interest. Positive genetic correlations were found between aggression and fear traits. Sociability traits showed a negative genetic correlation with both aggression and fear traits.

You can find the full paper here.