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TDK conference 2013

Comparative study on show and working line German Shepherds
Hevér Dóra - year 6
ELU Department of Ethology, SzIU, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Medicine Department of State Veterinary Medicine and Agricultural Economics
Supervisors: Ildikó Brúder, Kinga Fodor DVM


It is common in dog breeding, that show and working lines are appearing in the same breed. These lines are different in their appearance and behavior too. I joined the investigations of Szent István University Department of State Veterinary and Agricultural Economics and Eötvös Lóránd University Department of Ethology. In our project we searched for the differences in behavioural traits between show and working line german shepherds. We tested 39 dogs (mean age 28 months, SD=21 months) with a behavioral test, which contained 13 subtests (e.g.: separation from the owner, bone taking away test). The test was recorded and evaluated later. All data were analysed statistically. The dogs were split into two groups: working dogs (N=23, average age: 31 months, deviation: 23 months) and show-line dogs (N=15, average age: 26 months, deviation: 17 months) and their behaviors were compared by the test mentioned above. Besides the behavour test, owners were asked to complete a survey which contained 43 questions about the dog's personality (Canine Personality Survey, using characteristics, such as: reliable, clever, talkative, lazy, etc.) and other 44 questions about the owner's personality (Human Personality Survey, using characteristics, such as: conscientious worker, scattered, etc.) These data were also analyzed statistically.A significant difference was found in the separation subtest: the working dogs proved to be more attentive to their owners during separation. In the subtest „playing with the owner” the working dogs played more intensively than the show-line dogs. Not significant, but relevant result was found when we examined the bone-protective aggression, and working dogs were found to be more aggressive. Examining the „approaching the owner” we also found a significant difference. Dogs in the working group approached their owner faster than the show-line dogs. Analyzing the scales of the questionnaires we also found some differences between the dog groups and also between the owners. There was a difference between the two groups on the Conscientiousness scale and Neuroticism scale of the Canine Personality Survey. Working dogs got higher points on Conscientiousness scale and show-line dogs evaluated more neurotic by their owners than the working dogs. Using the Human Personality Survey we found significant difference on the Neuroticism scale, owners of the show line group scored themselves higher. These findings supports our hypothesis, that as a result of the selection of working and show line, german shepherds may not only differ in their appearance but also in their behavioral traits.

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