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Five bitches, breed German shepherd, used in breeding for the Swedish Armed Forces were used in this study. Data collection occurred 19th September to 11th December 2013 at the Swedish Armed Forces breeding kennel in Sollefteå, Sweden.

Behaviour observation

Video recordings occurred pre whelp on the day after arrival (Observation 1) and five days later (Observation 2). The recording started around 08.00 and continued until the light was turn of, which varied between 19.30 and 20.30. Continuously during the whole video behaviours included in four behaviour categories (Lying, Restless, Vocalisation and Escape) were observed.

Before the observations saliva samples were collected for each bitch to be able to measure the cortisol levels.

Left: The room where the bitches were housed pre whelping. Right: One of the breeding bitches for the Swedish Armed Forces

Interaction observation

The interaction between the bitch and her pups were recorded during two 24 hours observations. The first 24 hours observation started when all pups had been born (Day 1) and the second 24 hours observation seven days later (Day 7). Both continuous and instantaneous sampling methods were used to observe interaction behaviours.

Left: The room where the bitches and the pups were housed. Right: One of the bitches with her pups.


In order to get a better understanding of how the bitches' ordinary lives were like, a questionnaire called Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ) was sent out to the civilian home of the bitches. C-BARQ consists of 105 questions and the answer can be divided into 14 different subcategories.

Four categories were selected in this study,  Nonsocial fear, Separation-related behaviours, Attachment and attention-seeking and Excitability. These categories are all related to behaviours which are of interest when it comes to separation, transport and social isolationThe score from these four categories were used as a comparison with the behaviours showed at the breeding kennel.

Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 05/21/14