Behavioral differences among Belgian Shepherd Dogs varieties.
Keywords:behavior, Belgian Shepherd, breed, dog,
The aim of the current research was to assess whether Groenendael, Tervueren and Malinois varieties of Belgian Shepherd behave differently one from another. The survey was carried out by using a questionnaire filled in by 88 Belgian Shepherd dog owners recruited by personal contacts.
Groenendal dogs seem to show a lower arousal, as they were reported to exhibit the following behaviors less than other varieties: exaggerated greeting to owners returning home (G 57.6%, M 88.0%, T 73.3%; χ2=6.542; p=0.038), digging (G 15.2%, M 48.0%, T 30.0%; χ2=7.378; p=0.025) and raising hair when meeting other dogs (G 24.2%, M 60.0%, T 46.7%; χ2=7.863; p=0.020). Malinois dogs instead displayed the following behavior more: scavenging (G 12.1%, M 36.0%, T 13.3%; χ2=6.250; p=0.044), coprophagia (G 6.1%, M 24.0%, T 3.3%; χ2=7.342; p=0.025), raising hair when meeting other dogs and defending the territory (G 36.4%, M 64.0%, T 30.0%; χ2=7.169; p=0.028). Moreover Malinois dogs showed less fear of thunderstorms (χ2=5.317; p=0.070) and loud noises (χ2=6.403; p=0.041) than other two varieties. Potentially new owners should be advised by breeders, veterinarians and animal behaviorists about behavioral characteristics of different canine breeds and even varieties within breeds, as a correct match between dog and owner features reduces the risk of unsuccessful adoptions.