Dog Personality


Dog Personality

The Animal Behaviour, Cognition and Welfare Group at the University of Lincoln carries out a wide range of research on a variety of species, with a focus on companion animals, especially dogs and cats.

This website specifically focuses on a series of projects on dog personality, which involves several researchers and students every year. Our main objective is to identify robust personality traits and trace their biological basis from the level of genes through the brain to the behaviour. Central to our work is the recognition that the expression of personality traits may differ depending on the individual. This information can be used to try to predict, and then manage behavioural problems that are related to these traits.

There is no one better to help us explore this topic than dog owners or carers themselves. If you wish to take part, the first step involves filling in our Dog Personality Questionnaires. Should you wish, we can then keep your contact information in our database and send you an invitation to get involved further with follow up projects at a later date.

Take part in the Dog Personality project by filling in a simple questionnaire. Take part »

Current Projects on Dog Personality

There are currently several ongoing MSc projects that are considering various factors that contribute to temperament and behavioural tendencies in dogs, particularly impulsivity, which are explained below.

  • Assessing behavioural tendencies in the domestic dog: is there more variation within or between breeds?

    This project will use the Dog Impulsivity Assessment Scale (DIAS) and Positive and Negative Activation Scale (PANAS) to investigate variation in behavioural tendencies within and between dog breeds. The project will also look at differences between groups of breeds, e.g. the gundog and terrier groups.

  • Comparison of behavioural tendencies between assistance dogs and pet dogs

    This project will use the Dog Impulsivity Assessment Scale (DIAS) and Positive and Negative Activation Scale (PANAS) to investigate differences in behavioural tendencies between pet dogs and assistance dogs in the UK.

  • Differences in impulsivity between dog breeds

    This project will use a non-invasive behavioural test as well as the DIAS scale to measure impulsivity in different pedigree dog breeds. This behavioural test is a fun task for dogs, and involves teaching them to press levers for tasty treats.

  • Comparison of chemosensory detection abilities between dog breeds in relation to impulsivity levels

    This project will compare chemosensory detection abilities (olfaction and pheromonal perception) between dog breeds and individual dogs, and relate them to a number of heritable and non-heritable factors, including impulsivity levels and other aspects of dog personality. The project will use Dog Impulsivity Assessment Scale (DIAS) and the Positive and Negative Activation Scale (PANAS) to assess behavioural tendencies in individual dogs and their variation between breeds.

All information provided by filling in the questionnaires will be kept confidential. We won't be able to comment on your dog behaviour based on the questionnaire answers provided. However, if you have any concerns regarding your dog's behaviour, please contact our behaviour clinic team: Animal Behaviour Clinic

Take part in the Dog Personality project by filling in a simple questionnaire. Take part »

Other ongoing projects

To learn more about research carried out at the University of Lincoln and take part in it, please visit: Lincoln Pets Can Do

Dog with a toy