Dog Personality


The Animal Behaviour, Cognition and Welfare Group at the University of Lincoln carries out a wide range of research on a variety of species, with a focus on companion animals, especially dogs and cats.

This page specifically focuses on a series of projects on dog personality, which involve several researchers and students every year. Our main objective is to identify robust personality traits and trace their biological basis from the level of genes through the brain to the behaviour. Central to our work is the recognition that the expression of personality traits may differ depending on the individual. This information can be used to try to predict, and then manage behavioural problems that are related to these traits.

Past Projects on Dog Personality

Assessing behavioural tendencies in the domestic dog: is there more variation within or between breeds?

This project used the Dog Impulsivity Assessment Scale (DIAS) and Positive and Negative Activation Scale (PANAS) to investigate variation in behavioural tendencies within and between dog breeds. The project also looked at differences between groups of breeds e.g. the gundog and terrier groups.

Comparison of behavioural tendencies between assistance dogs and pet dogs

This project used the Dog Impulsivity Assessment Scale (DIAS) and Positive and Negative Activation Scale (PANAS) to investigate differences in behavioural tendencies between pet dogs and assistance dogs in the UK.

Differences in impulsivity between dog breeds

This project used a non-invasive behavioural test as well as the DIAS scale to measure impulsivity in different pedigree dog breeds. This behavioural test is a fun task for dogs, and involved teaching them to press levers for tasty treats.

Comparison of chemosensory detection abilities between dog breeds in relation to impulsivity levels

This project compared chemosensory detection abilities (olfaction and pheromonal perception) between dog breeds and individual dogs, and related them to a number of heritable and non-heritable factors, including impulsivity levels and other aspects of dog personality. The project used Dog Impulsivity Assessment Scale (DIAS) and the Positive and Negative Activation Scale (PANAS) to assess behavioural tendencies in individual dogs and their variation between breeds.

Differences in trait impulsivity indicate diversification of dog breeds into working and show lines

Behavioural and Physiological Correlates of Impulsivity in the Domestic Dog

Assessing Impulsivity in the Domestic Dog

Evaluation of the Emotional Predisposition in Pet Dogs