December 9, 2016

Genetic and Environmental Factors Affecting Behavior Test Results in Rottweilers

This study, published by Helsinki University’s Department of Animal Science, evaluated the genetic variability present in a pool of Rottweilers with a variety of personalities. Between the years of 1980 to 2003, the researchers collected behavioral data from over 2,300 Finish Rottweilers. The traits specifically analyzed covered “courage, sharpness, defense drive, play drive, nerve stability, temperament, hardness, affability, and reaction to gunfire”. Researchers found that each Rottweiler’s gender, age, location, breeder, season, and judge directly influenced the traits of each Rottweiler. In depth tables with numerical values that establish such correlations are provided within the report. Although there were genetic differences across the board for each trait, the study found that genetic correlations between the traits were generally moderately high and positive. This means that a Rottweiler’s genetic make up and personality traits have a small direct relationship (except for the traits affability and temperament). Thus, there are both biological and environmental factors when a Rottweiler’s personality traits are being evaluated. The results from this study infer that it is possible to predict a Rottweiler’s personality traits by carefully breeding a dog in the “desired direction”, as the study calls it. Overall, in this large pool of Rottweilers, there were high genetic correlations between courage, nerve stability, and hardness. This infers that a dog’s breed also plays a part in determining a dog’s behavioral personality traits.

Liimatainen, R., M. Ojala, and A.E. Liinamo. "Genetic and Environmental Factors Affecting Behavior Test Results in Rottweilers." Journal of Veterinary Behavior - Clinical Applications and Research. N.p., n.d. Web.

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                                                                                                                    Reviewed by: Roxy Ackerman