Study Suggests Dog's Breed Doesn't Determine It's Personality

Dogs in the forest

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BOSTON (WBZNewsRadio) - A new study is squashing popular stereotypes about the behavior of dogs.

The new research published in the journal Science, confirms what every dog lover knows, every dog is truly an individual. It finds breed means very little in predicting what behaviors and personality your pup may develop, such as friendliness, cuddliness and even aggression. The researchers looked at the genes of more than 2,000 dogs paired with more than 18,000 survey answers from dog owners about their pet's behaviors.

Co-author and University of Massachusetts geneticist Elinor Karlsson said the behavior and personality of dogs are greatly impacted by their environment and life experiences, rather than what's passed down in their DNA.

Breed accounted for just 9 percent of behavioral traits, but no trait was unique to a single breed. For example, the research found golden retrievers that don't retrieve. What's more, dog size had almost no effect on behavior or personality.

Some behaviors like fetching objects, howling and human sociability were found to be more heritable. However researchers believe these traits to be part of the animal's evolution, for example retrieving may have helped dogs' early ancestors hunt.

WBZ's Brooke McCarthy (@BrookeWBZ) reports

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