People expect particular dog breeds to act certain ways. Golden retrievers are friendly, Jack Russell terriers like to dig, pit bulls are aggressive—or so the thinking goes. But animal behaviorist James Serpell wanted to investigate whether those generalizations were really true, so he surveyed tens of thousands of dog owners about their pooches’ behavior. Though he did find some common behavioral traits among breeds, he also found plenty of variation. The source of that variation, he says, might be the behavior of the human owners—an important influence on pet dogs’ behavior.
Produced by Becky Fogel, Production Assistant
Luke Groskin Video Producer Science Friday New York, New York
James A. Serpell Director, Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Philadelphia, Pennsylvania