Breed Differences in Dog Behavior

Why Tails Wag Differently

April 2024
More details
  • Publisher
  • Published
    8th April
  • ISBN 9781800624542
  • Language English
  • Pages 264 pp.
  • Size 7" x 9"

Humans have bred dogs for physical and behavioral characteristics for millennia. These efforts can have unintended side effects, however, which may be either advantageous or cause issues - such as a predisposition to certain medical complaints, or, controversially, behavioral issues.

The scientific study of domestic dogs is still in its infancy, but public demand for this information is at a record high as more and more pet owners seek to understand their canine family members. Focusing on the behavioral differences and tendencies that have arisen in different breed lines, this book explores, summarizes, and explains the scientific evidence on what breed can tell us about behavior - and, crucially, what it cannot.

This book covers:

  • the impact of inbreeding, how it contributes to problematic behavioral issues such as anxiety and aggression, and how it potentially affects the future health of the breed;
  • the limits of predicting a dog's behavior based upon breed, individual differences within breeds, and thus the corresponding limitations of breed-specific legislation;
  • guidance for professionals to help their clients better understand behavioral issues, traits, and appropriate expectations around the right breed for their household.
Providing a comprehensive and approachable view of the science behind breed-specific behaviors, this book gives dog enthusiasts from all professional and personal backgrounds a better understanding of why dogs do what they do, and how we can improve our relationships with our canine companions. Covering genetics, phylogeny of canids, temperament, aggression, social behavior, and the history of dog breeding, it is an important read for researchers, students, veterinary practitioners and animal behaviorists, as well as shelter staff, dog trainers, or anyone looking for a greater understanding of dog breed differences.

1. What Is a Dog?
2.How to Build a Breed
3. A Crash Course in Genetics
4. Individuals Vary
5.Deep Roots, Broad Branches: The Range of Dog Breeds
6. Behavior Came Along for the Ride: Sometimes, We Breed For X, But End Up Getting Y, and Z, and…
7. Breed Differences in Temperament and Reactivity
8. Social Behavior and Breed Differences
9. Aggression and Breed Differences
10. Learning, Problem-Solving, Training and Breed Differences
11. What We Know, What We Don’t, And Where We’re Going

Renee L. Ha, PhD

Dr. Renee Ha is currently a Teaching Professor in the Department of Psychology (Animal Behavior Program) at the University of Washington where she has taught courses in animal behavior, animal learning, statistics, introductory psychology, and developmental psychology. Dr. Ha previously co-authored a textbook about statistics for the social and behavioral sciences. She is also the co-developer (along with Dr. James Ha) of a Certificate Program in Applied Animal Behavior at the University of Washington, a program that has a focus on Companion Animals. In 2017, this program won a National award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association as an "Outstanding Credit Program." Dr. Ha's publications can be found under

Tracy Brad, MS

Tracy Brad (Campion), MS, is a science and grant writer with graduate degrees in behavior (Primate Behavior, MS, Central Washington University) and journalism (Postgraduate diploma, London School of Journalism). She also has certificates in Animal Behavior and Welfare (University of Edinburgh), Writing in the Sciences (Stanford University), and Dog Emotion and Cognition (Duke University). She is the co-founder of The Limelight Pet Project, a multimedia campaign that highlights harder to adopt animals and provides media assets to a local television affiliate, with segments airing on the weekend morning news. As the writer and publisher of the Pacific Northwest publication Pet Connection Magazine, she has written hundreds of articles about animal behavior, communication, and welfare, interviewing experts such as Temple Grandin, Buck Brannaman, Jackson Galaxy, and Patricia McConnell. Her first book, Dog Behavior: Modern Science and Our Canine Companions, co-authored with Dr. James C. Ha, was published in December of 2018. She was also the editor for With Apes in Mind, written by Dr. Duane Rumbaugh in 2013.

James C. Ha, PhD

Dr. James Ha is a certified animal behaviorist who oversees graduate work at the University of Washington. Dr. Ha founded Animal Behavior Associates of Washington and is internationally known as an expert in companion animal behavior. As such, he is often called upon to testify in court cases pertaining to animal behavior. His most recent book, Dog Behavior: Modern Science and Our Canine Companions, was published by Elsevier's Academic Press in 2018. Dr. Ha travels internationally to lecture on animal behavior.

dog breed characteristics; dog breeds; canines; pet dogs; animal behavior; dog aggression; dog behavioral problems; canine temperament