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The BPH is performed at 13 different test stations in Sweden: Aneby, Bjuv, Göteborg, Malung, Mjölby, Märsta, Nordmaling, Nykvarn, Sandarne, Stockholm, Timrå, Öjebyn and Östervåla.  It takes about 30 minutes and consists of eight different subtests, seven obligatory tasks and one optional task. It aims at the investigation of the dog’s response to unfamiliar and approaching persons, its attitude towards play and food and its response to novel and startling stimuli.

Data collection

The data for this study were provided by a database made available by the Swedish Kennel Club including the test results of the dogs which have already taken the BPH and my own video recordings from six test stations.


1. Database analysis

The BPH results of 856 dogs of 27 breeds were analysed with regard to significant differences between breeds. The sample sizes range from ten dogs per breed to 119 dogs per breed. The database contains general information about the test situation (test date, test place, involved persons and weather conditions) general information about the dog (name, sex and birth date) and the dog’s performance in the test. For the evaluation of the dog’s performance a total of 45 different variables are evaluated, several of them in more than one of the eight subtests. For the evaluation a grading system ranging from zero to two, three, four or five, respectively, is used. The grade indicates the intensity of the reaction: a low value indicates that the dog does not notably exhibit the behaviour associated with the variable whereas a high value indicates a very strong reaction.


2. Ethological recording

Six of the 13 places the BPH test is performed at were visited during autumn to carry out video recordings (Aneby and Östervåla once, Göteborg, Mjölby and Nykvarn twice and Stockholm four times). A total of 100 dogs of 30 breeds were tested during these days. The camera was placed next to the official observer and the public viewers to eliminate additional influence on the test.

The video records provided the basis for the behavioural coding. This was based on a detailed ethogram including body postures, reactions to the stimuli, stress indicating behaviours and vocalisation. For the analysis the subtests ‘surprise’ (4), ‘rattle’ (5) and ‘approaching person’ (6) were selected. The behavioural coding during the subtests ‘surprise’ and ‘rattle’ started 0.5 seconds before the stimulus was presented and ended after 30 seconds. During the subtest ‘approaching person’ the coding started with the first hand clap of the approaching person and ended after 60 seconds. These time periods were chosen since both the handler and the test leader were acting completely passive during these periods. The same ethogram was used for all subtests. The observation method used was continuous recording. States were evaluated by recording the duration the behaviour was displayed and events by recording the number of occurrences. All video analyses were carried out with the software The Observer XT.

Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 05/27/14