Differences in trait impulsivity indicate diversification of dog breeds into working and show lines

Fadel, Fernanda Ruiz and Driscoll, Patricia and Pilot, Malgorzata and Wright, Hannah and Zulch, Helen and Mills, Daniel (2016) Differences in trait impulsivity indicate diversification of dog breeds into working and show lines. Scientific Reports, 6 . p. 22162. ISSN 2045-2322

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep22162

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Abstract

Impulsiveness describes the inability to inhibit behaviour in the presence of salient cues. Trait-level impulsivity exists on a continuum and individual differences can be adaptive in different contexts. While breed related differences in behavioural tendency in the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) are well established, the phenomenon within lines of a breed which have been selected more recently is not well studied, although it may challenge the popular notion of breed-typical behaviour. We describe differences in impulsivity between and within two dog breeds with working and show lines selected for different levels of impulsivity: Border Collies (herding work) and Labrador Retrievers (gun work). Recent show line selection might have lessened differences in impulsivity between breeds. We tested this hypothesis on a dataset of 1161 individuals assessed using a validated psychometric tool (Dog Impulsivity Assessment Scale - DIAS). Collies were more impulsive on average, consistent with the original purpose of breed selection. Regarding line, working Collies differed from working Labradors, but show lines from the two breeds were not significantly different. Altered or relaxed artificial selection for behavioural traits when appearance rather than behaviour become the primary focus for breeders may reduce average differences in impulsivity between breeds in show lines.

Keywords:Animal behaviour, Impulsivity, Working dogs, Show dogs, Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D300 Animal Science
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D328 Animal Welfare
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:22639
Deposited On:11 Mar 2016 14:40

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