Quantitative genetic analyses of Dog Mentality Assessment and everyday life behaviour data in Rough Collie

Last changed: 17 May 2013

Ongoing study

For many years, the Swedish Collie Club (SCC) has expressed worries for the temperament status of the Rough Collie. The biggest concern is problems, sometimes severe, with fearfulness. Several (unpublished) studies on the Swedish Collie population support these worries. Despite this, the SCC has experienced little success in convincing enough breeders to select against fearfulness.

In previous studies, five broader behavioural traits have been defined using factor analysis of the Dog Mentality Assessment (DMA) variables. Since the start in 1997, about 25-50% of the Rough Collies have been tested annually. The heritability for these broader traits has been found to be 0.10-0.25. DMA measurements have been shown to correlate well with e.g. fearfulness in everyday life situations. This has been studied by relating DMA results to answers from the C-BARQ questionnaire. In this study, we have asked ~3600 owners of Rough Collies aged from 6 mo to 10 years to fill out the C-BARQ questionnaire. Genetic parameters will be estimated for the individual DMA items, as well as for the five broader traits. Also other ways to calculate broader traits will be tried and evaluated. The C-BARQ variables will be summarized to previously defined temperament traits. Also for these, genetic parameters will be estimated. Furthermore, genetic correlations between DMA and C-BARQ traits will be analyzed. The planned analyses will make it possible to compare e.g. heritabilities for similarly defined traits that are registered in different ways (test vs. dog owner questionnaire), and also to more in depth study the correlation between measured trait (DMA traits) and breeding goal traits (everyday life behaviour as described by the dog owners in C-BARQ).