Fact or Fiction?  “Deed not the Breed”

Fact or Fiction? “Deed not the Breed”

Reactive dogs come in all breeds, shapes, and sizes.  Larger more powerful breeds simply due to their size can inflict more serious injuries (accidental or otherwise).  It’s a myth that breed determines a dog’s temperament.

Fact #1:  Breed is ONLY ONE factor in shaping a dog’s temperament.

Even within breed groups, we’ll find large variability in temperament between individual dogs of the same breed.

Fact #2: Breed is NOT a reliable predictor of an individual dog’s behaviour.

The only thing that BREED reliably predicts is the size, shape, and coat type of your dog.

The Factors Shaping Your Dog’s Temperament

There are many factors that can affect a dog’s temperament, including:

  • Genetics: Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to certain temperaments.
    • For example, herding breeds are often more active and energetic, while sporting breeds are often more trainable and focused.
    • However, it is important to remember that every dog is an individual, and even within a breed, there can be a wide range of temperaments.
  • Early experiences: A dog’s early experiences can have a significant impact on its temperament.
    • Puppies that are raised in loving and supportive homes are more likely to be well-adjusted and have good temperaments.
    • On the other hand, puppies that are raised in abusive or neglectful homes are more likely to have behavioural problems.
  • Socialisation: Socialisation is the process of exposing a dog to new people, places, and experiences.
    • Properly socialised dogs are more likely to be comfortable and confident in new situations.
    • On the other hand, dogs that are not properly socialised may be more fearful in new situations or aggressive towards new people and other dogs.
  • Health: Certain health conditions, such as hypothyroidism or pain, can also affect a dog’s temperament.
    • If you notice any changes in your dog’s behaviour, it is important to see your vet to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
  • Training: Training can help to shape a dog’s temperament.
    • Dogs that are trained to cope with their daily lives are more likely to be responsive to their humans.
    • Untrained dogs may be more likely to engage in destructive or disruptive behaviours.

It is important to note that any of these factors can interact with each other to affect a dog’s temperament.  For example, a dog that is genetically predisposed to anxiety may be more likely to develop behavioural problems if it is not properly socialised or trained.

What Your Dog Needs from You

Whatever your dog’s breed, but especially if you have a large and powerful dog, your dog needs from you:

  1. Positive socialisation experiences for any new situation so that your dog feels positive or neutral about everyday life
  2. Cooperative relationship with you so that your dog is biddable when you need it
  3. Solid training for life skills like loose lead walking, recall, and rapid name response

If you are concerned about your dog’s behaviours, it is important to talk to your veterinarian or an accredited dog behaviour professional.   At On Kew Dog, we can help you to identify the factors that are contributing to your dog’s behaviour and develop a behaviour modification plan to address them.

Contact us now for behaviour support for your reactive or aggressive dog.

Nada Chebib KPA-CTP ABTC


ID 1: Close up of a large grey and white bulldog breed wearing a black muzzle, against a white background.

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