Objective—To develop and validate a questionnaire to
assess behavior and temperament traits of pet dogs.
Design—Cross-sectional survey of dog owners.
Animals—1,851 dogs belonging to clients of a veterinary
teaching hospital or members of national
breed clubs and 203 dogs examined by canine behavior
practitioners because of behavior problems.
Procedure—Owners were asked to complete a questionnaire
consisting of 152 items eliciting information on
how dogs responded to specific events and situations
in their usual environment. Data from completed questionnaires
were subjected to factor analysis, and the
resulting factors were tested for reliability and validity.
Results—Factor analysis yielded 11 factors from 68
of the original questionnaire items that together
accounted for 57% of the common variance in questionnaire
item scores. Reliability was acceptable for
all but 1 of these factors. Behavior problems in 200 of
the 203 dogs with behavior problems could be
assigned to 7 diagnostic categories that matched 7 of
the factors identified during factor analysis of questionnaire
responses. Dogs assigned to particular diagnostic
categories had significantly higher scores for
corresponding questionnaire factors than did those
assigned to unrelated diagnostic categories, indicating
that the factors were valid .Validity of the remaining
4 factors could not be examined because of a lack
of information on dogs with behavior problems related
to these factors.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings suggest
that the resulting 68-item questionnaire is a reliable
and valid method of assessing behavior and temperament
traits in dogs. The questionnaire may be
useful in screening dogs for behavior problems and in
evaluating the clinical effects of various treatments for
behavior problems. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223:
Objective—To evaluate a behavioral intake questionnaire
in animal shelters for the presence of biased
results and assess its use in the characterization of
behavioral problems of dogs relinquished to shelters.
Animals—54 dogs being relinquished to a shelter
and 784 dogs belonging to veterinary clients.
Procedure—Owners who were relinquishing their
dogs and agreed to complete the behavioral questionnaire
were alternately assigned to 1 of 2 groups;
participants were aware that information provided
would be confidential or nonconfidential (ie, likely
used for adoption purposes). Data from confidential
and nonconfidential information groups were compared,
and the former were compared with data (collected
via the questionnaire) regarding a population of
Results—Analyses revealed significant differences in
2 areas of reported problem behavior between the
confidential and nonconfidential information groups:
owner-directed aggression and stranger-directed fear.
Compared with client-owned–group data, significantly
more relinquished shelter dogs in the confidential
information group were reported to have ownerdirected
aggression, stranger-directed aggression,
dog-directed aggression or fear, stranger-directed
fear, nonsocial fear, and separation-related behaviors.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Among persons
relinquishing dogs to a shelter, those who
believed questionnaire responses were confidential
reported owner-directed aggression and fear of
strangers in their pets more frequently than relinquishers
who believed responses were nonconfidential.
Confidentiality had no apparent effect on the reporting
of other assessed behavioral problems. Results suggest
that behavioral questionnaires may sometimes
provide inaccurate information in a shelter setting, but
the information may still be useful when evaluating
behavior of relinquished dogs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:1755–1761)
Objective—To evaluate early medical and behavioral
effects of deployment to the World Trade Center,
Fresh Kills Landfill, or the Pentagon on responding
search-and-rescue (SAR) dogs.
Design—Prospective double cohort study.
Animals—The first cohort included SAR dogs responding
to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks
(deployed), and the second cohort included SAR dogs
trained in a similar manner but not deployed (controls).
Enrollment occurred from October 2001 to June 2002.
Procedure—Dogs were examined by their local veterinarians;
thoracic radiographs and blood samples
were shipped to the University of Pennsylvania for
analysis. Handlers completed medical and training
histories and a canine behavioral survey.
Results—Deployed dogs were older and had more
search experience than control dogs. Serum concentrations
of globulin and bilirubin and activity of alkaline
phosphatase were significantly higher in deployed
dogs, independent of age and training. Despite significant
differences in several blood parameters, values
for both groups were within reference ranges. No pulmonary
abnormalities were detected on radiographs,
and no significant differences in behavior or medical
history were detected between groups.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Within the first
year following the September 11 attacks, there was no
evidence that responding dogs developed adverse
effects related to their work. Mild but significantly higher
serum concentrations of globulin and bilirubin and
activity of alkaline phosphatase in deployed dogs suggested
higher antigen or toxin exposure. These dogs
will be monitored for delayed effects for at least 3
years. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;225:861–867)
Objective—To compare the owner-reported prevalence of behavioral characteristics in dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores with that of dogs obtained as puppies from noncommercial breeders.
Animals—Dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores (n = 413) and breeder-obtained dogs (5,657).
Procedures—Behavioral evaluations were obtained from a large convenience sample of current dog owners with the online version of the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire, which uses ordinal scales to rate either the intensity or frequency of the dogs’ behavior. Hierarchic linear and logistic regression models were used to analyze the effects of source of acquisition on behavioral outcomes when various confounding and intervening variables were controlled for.
Results—Pet store–derived dogs received significantly less favorable scores than did breeder-obtained dogs on 12 of 14 of the behavioral variables measured; pet store dogs did not score more favorably than breeder dogs in any behavioral category. Compared with dogs obtained as puppies from noncommercial breeders, dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores had significantly greater aggression toward human family members, unfamiliar people, and other dogs; greater fear of other dogs and nonsocial stimuli; and greater separation-related problems and house soiling.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Obtaining dogs from pet stores versus noncommercial breeders represented a significant risk factor for the development of a wide range of undesirable behavioral characteristics. Until the causes of the unfavorable differences detected in this group of dogs can be specifically identified and remedied, the authors cannot recommend that puppies be obtained from pet stores.