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Is your dog an accurate “ambassador” for their breed? Golden retrievers are famous for their warm, trustworthy nature. German Shepherds are heralded as loyal, intense, and courageous. Border Collies are deemed the most intelligent breed, with unparalleled wit and focus. But do these cookie cutter characteristics define our beloved canine companions?
The truth is, every dog is an individual with their own unique personality (which may or may not be influenced by DNA). When raising, socializing, training, and loving a pet, it is crucial to embrace who your dog is, and understand that any breed can exhibit any temperament, and that breed alone is not the only influence.
With that in mind, take a look at this fascinating infographic by AAAStateofPlay. It is a visualization of the American Temperament Test Society’s cumulative test results since 1977.
According to the website, The Temperament Test measures “stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness as well as the dog’s instinct for protectiveness towards its handler and/or self-preservation in the face of a threat.” The test simulates a walk through a neighborhood or park where the dog and handler encounter “daily life” scenarios.
The dog experiences visual (abrupt sights like opening umbrellas), tactile (walking on uneven surfaces), and auditory (gunshots, hidden noises) stimuli to test their reaction and recovery. The dog also encounters friendly, neutral, and threatening strangers to test its ability to recognize unusual situations that require protection, its threshold for provocation, and its overall friendliness. To view a video of the test, see here.
Some important things to know about the test:
- A dog fails if they show unprovoked aggression, panic without recovery, or strong avoidance.
- A dog’s breed is taken into consideration during the test – for example, one breed may be allowed to lunge at a threatening stranger, while another might fail.
- The dog’s handler is not permitted to give cues.
- Minimum testing age is 18 months.
- The dogs must be spayed or neutered.
- Other dogs are not included.
Here are the top 10 dog breeds with the highest passing rates:
- French Bulldog — 96.2% passed out of 52 dogs tested.
- Boerboel — 94.7% passed out of 57 dogs tested.
- Belgian Malinois — 94.1% passed out of 440 dogs tested.
- English Cocker Spaniel — 93.3% passed out of 75 dogs tested.
- Labrador Retriever — 92.2% passed out of 842 dogs tested.
- Flat-Coated Retriever — 92% passed out of 87 dogs tested.
- German Pinscher — 91.90% passed out of 37 dogs tested.
- Pug — 91.7% passed out of 48 dogs tested.
- Curly-Coated Retriever — 91.7% passed out of 181 dogs tested.
- Bull Terrier — 91.6% passed out of 83 dogs tested.
Way to go, French Bulldogs!
How did your dog’s breed perform on the test? If you have a wonderful rescue mutt, it is delightful to see that mixed breeds pass 86.3% of the time! Staffordshire Bull Terriers score 90.90% and American Pit Bull Terriers pass 87.40%, which will hopefully help dispel cruel myths about the pitbull breeds. While these statistics are not the be all and end all of judging a breed’s temperament, it does provide some fascinating data to share and discuss.
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