DNA & Dog Behaviour

Earlier this month, the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B published a study indicating that dog behaviours were inherently linked to DNA. Among the fourteen different traits studied, the researchers looked at the link between aggression and genetics.

Here, at the GTHS, we believe in nature AND nurture as opposed to nature V.S. nurture.  Sure, even we have caught ourselves acting like our own mothers from every now and then, but that doesn’t mean we react like our moms all the time in every way; it’s a good possibility that perhaps our emulated behaviour was learned as opposed to ingrained in our DNA.

Courtney Hancock, GTHS Dog Behaviour Coordinator says “we always look at the dog as a whole, not as part of a certain breed”. She states that the majority of behaviour can be adjusted by behaviour modification to improve the dog’s quality of life. Understanding breed comes into play in order to tailor behaviour modification and handling techniques.

Studies such as this one, albeit valid, are dangerous as they pigeon-hole breeds to certain behaviours and could discourage potential adopters from adopting well-adjusted dogs. This is one of the reasons why the GTHS does not indicate breed in our dog profiles. We want to give all the dogs in our care an equal opportunity at finding their forever homes; our Adopter’s Welcome adoption process allows our Adoption Counsellors to have genuine non-judgmental conversations with potential adopters in order to best match person and pet. For more on our Adopter’s Welcome, visit our Adoption Page.

Stay informed on GTHS events, initiatives and programs. Learn how the GTHS team is serving the pets and people of the South Georgian Bay Area. Read heart-warming Happy Tails about GTHS Alumni. See a lot of really cute pictures of dogs and cats!