Genetic Factors of Canine Behavior

Canine behavior is an enormously varied subject that plays an important role in how you and your family will get along with the dog that you choose. Dogs have a wide range of personalities and behavior types.

While each individual dog has his or her own set of personality traits and unique behaviors, individual breeds also tend to have certain traits that remain constant through different individuals. Still, as anyone who has owned multiple dogs of the same breed can attest, each dog has a distinctive personality which will help to influence his behaviors and actions as well.

Read on for a brief guide as to how genetic factors can play into canine behavior.

Genes and Dog Behavior

There are certain elements of canine behavior that are simply dictated by the fact that your pet is a dog in general. These are, in a sense, genetically based. For instance, all dogs are considered to be pack animals. They operate in the same basic social hierarchy. This structure of a canine society is present in some way in every dog's mind, and the way that he interacts with every other animal and person around him is influenced to some degree by this setup. Additionally, certain other dog personality traits and behaviors are inherent in the species itself as well.

Specific Behaviors in Dogs

Some dogs are simply more skewed toward one type of behavior than another. This has to do, oftentimes, with the fact that those dogs may have been bred to include that particular genetic trait or behavior at one point in time. For instance, protective dogs like dobermans and pit bulls tend to be more aggressive and to exhibit behaviors that are more characteristic of that than other types of dogs. The reason for this is that those dogs were bred originally to be kept as guard dogs. Although their function in your home might be different, the genetic background that each dog of those breeds shares makes them predisposed to picking up on those particular traits.

Other dogs are more inclined to be herding dogs. Bouvier des Flandres, for instance, are sheepherding dogs from Belgium. These particular dogs were bred for the specific purpose of keeping sheep rounded up in a distinctive pen. Because of this, all Bouvier des Flandres dogs will have a similar tendency to want to herd different things, whether they are people, other pets in the house, cars or other items as well.

Modifying Behaviors

Many people find that training dogs becomes very difficult if they attempt to work against the natural genetic behaviors that have been bred into those dogs. These are the instinctive traits that will be born into a dog, and it can be quite difficult to eliminate those behaviors, even with years of careful training. For this reason, it's a good idea to research the common behaviors and personalities of any dog breed that you're considering before you acquire a pet.