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Do genes determine personality? Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 May 2015 12:13

Since 1989 the Swedish Working Dog Associaiton has carried out a standardised behaviour test called Dog Mentality Assessment and each year thousands of dogs representing more than 180 breeds are scored in six test situations called social contact, play, chase, sudden appearance, metallic noise and ghost.  Based on the DMA, research was carried out on more than 10,000 German Shepherd and Rottweilers to explore to what extent and how behaviour traits are transmitted over the generations.  The results support a genetic basis for a broad personality trait called boldness-shyness that underlies 16 other behaviour traits.  Only aggression appears to be inherited independently of other traits.  It is interesting to note that in humans only a few genes are associated with personality traits; it is possible that selective breeding since the early days of domestication has resulted in striking behaviour differences in dogs such as emotionality, aggressiveness, activity and predatory behaviour with a strong genetic base.

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