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Results and discussion


Results show that common type Labrador retrievers are more interested in meeting and greeting strangers compared to the field type that show more aggression and fear towards strangers. The common type showed less non-social fear and was more prone to chasing while the field type had higher trainability.


Show dogs are regularly exposed to strangers and handling and breeders might have selected for this trait. This could explain why the common type is more interested in strangers. The field type scored higher in trainability and looked more at their owner during the behavioural test. Gundogs need to ignore distractions and stay obedient and attentive to the owner so this trait has likely also been selected for by breeders. While differences in behaviours such as interest in strangers and trainability may be explained by the types’ intended use other behavioural differences appear more complex. Results indicate that there may be a relationship between non-social fear and chase-proneness where dogs that show little non-social fear are more prone to chasing. Additionally, there seems to be a relationship between non-social fear and trainability in the Labrador retriever where dogs that show more non-social fear score higher in trainability. These behavioural differences indicate that recent selection can have large effects on dog behaviour. While these differences likely have genetic components the influence of training and management cannot be excluded.

Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 05/04/15