Prevailing Clusters of Canine Behavioural Traits in Historical US Demand for Dog Breeds (1926–2005)
Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, University of Sydney, Sydney 2006, Australia
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19131, USA
Department of Psychology, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 October 2018 / Revised: 25 October 2018 / Accepted: 2 November 2018 / Published: 6 November 2018
The popularity of various breeds of dog and, by extension, the ancestors of at least a portion of the crossbred population varies over time. As pedigree dogs tend to exhibit breed-specific behaviour, the loads of both adaptive and less adaptive canine behaviours within society might also be expected to vary with trends in popularity, assuming that a breed in decline is not always replaced by increasing demand for a new similarly tempered breed. Using average breed behaviours from a large online survey of dog behaviour, we organised 82 pedigree breeds into six clusters and tracked the absolute and relative numbers of American Kennel Club registrations of breeds in these behaviour clusters in 1926–2005. Our data show that there is lability in the demand for breeds of the six behavioural clusters over time. Regardless of whether behavioural differences are causative of changes in demand or merely a consequence of it, changes in the types of behaviour in the pedigree population have implications for urban planning, the demand for dog training and veterinary behavioural services and the nature of human–canine interactions. Shifts in breed demand reveal an important aspect of canine behavioural epidemiology worthy of future study.