Through domestication and subsequent selection dogs’ morphological and behavioural traits have been selected for functional purposes beyond companionship. Since dogs are kept as pets worldwide and live in close contact with humans, gathering information on the behavioural characteristics of breeds either potentially problematic or obtained through hybridization appears particularly relevant. In the current study, the C-BARQ questionnaire was used to examine the behaviour of the Czechoslovakian wolfdog, a recent breed obtained through hybridization of the Carpathian wolf and the German shepherd dog and rapidly growing in popularity. One thousand four hundred twenty owners, 1119 from Italy and 301 from the Czech Republic completed the online questionnaire providing data on Czechoslovakian wolfdogs (CWDs), their sister breed, i.e. German shepherd dogs (GSs), and Labrador retrievers (LRs). Overall some behavioural differences among the breeds emerged together with discrepancies between Italian and Czech owners in the evaluation of some behavioural traits. Italian owners outlined only a few breeds and/or sex differences. Regardless of breed and training male dogs were rated as more aggressive towards other dogs, more excitable and active, more prone to show attentionseeking behaviour, less trainable, and less prone than females to engage in chasing than females. CWDs showed less stranger-directed fear than GSs and LRs and less non-social fear than GSs. According to Czech owners, males were generally more aggressive than females and CWDs and GSs were significantly more aggressive towards strangers and other dogs than LRs. CWDs showed more stranger-directed fear and separationrelated behaviour and were less trainable than both GSs and LRs. The training was generally reported to reduce aggressive and separation-related behaviour, fear of strangers and non-social stimuli, and chasing tendencies. Taken together these findings suggest that CWDs could be more similar to ancient breeds (more wolf-like) for some behavioural traits and like modern breeds for others. Different breeding practices and/or social/environmental conditions such as socialization, handling, training methods but also owners’ perceptions and expectations about a given breed could explain the differences in rating that emerged between the two countries.
Comparing behavioural characteristics of Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs, German shepherds and Labrador retrievers in Italy and the Czech Republic / Sommese, Andrea; Valsecchi, Paola; Pelosi, Annalisa; Prato-Previde, Emanuela. - In: APPLIED ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR SCIENCE. - ISSN 0168-1591. - (2021), p. 105300. [10.1016/j.applanim.2021.105300]
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