“Type” as Central to Perceptions of Breed Differences in Behavior of Domestic Dog

in Society & Animals
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


A survey was designed to explore the effect of type classification on perception and expectation of a dog’s behavior. The survey focused on two forms of presentation: the effect of visual image versus breed name in the identification of a breed as a dangerous dog type, and the effect of breed group classification on expectation of a dog’s level of aggressiveness. The findings have serious implications for Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Respondents were over 5 times more likely to misascribe by image alone the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as a dangerous breed as defined under the United Kingdom’s Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. Furthermore, the classification of Terrier attracted high scores in relation to type-specific aggressiveness. These findings highlight the need for more research on personal perception of supposedly dangerous dog breeds to better understand and explain this phenomena, leading to better protection of the public and better welfare outcomes for dogs.

“Type” as Central to Perceptions of Breed Differences in Behavior of Domestic Dog

in Society & Animals



AskewH. R. Treatment of behavior problems in dogs and cats: A guide for the small animal veterinarian 1996 2nd Oxford Blackwell Publishing

BeckerH. Outsiders: Studies in the sociology of deviance 1963 New York Free Press

BellwoodP. First farmers: The origins of agricultural societies 2004 Oxford Blackwell Publishing

BennettP. C.RohlfV. I. Owner-companion dog interactions: Relationships between demographic variables, potentially problematic behaviours, training engagement and shared activities Applied Animal Behaviour Science 2007 102 1 65 84

BradshawJ. W. S.GoodwinD. Determination of behavioral traits of pure-bred dogs using factor analysis and cluster analysis; a comparison of studies in the usa and uk Research in Veterinary Science 1998 66 1 73 76

BraemM.DoherrM. G.LehmannD.MillsD. Evaluating aggressive behavior in dogs: a comparison of 3 tests Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research 2008 3 4 152 160

ByrneE. My weapon is a dog 2009 BBC Three, UK Documentary Aired 08.31.09

ClarkeT.CooperJ.MillsD. Acculturation—perceptions of breed differences in behavior of the dog (Canis familiaris) Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin 2013 1 2 16 33

Clutton-BrockJ. MasonI. L. Dog Evolution of domesticated animals 1984 London Longman 198 210

CohenS. Folk devils and moral panics 2002 3rd Oxford Routledge

ColtraneS.MessineoM. The perpetuation of subtle prejudice: Race and gender imagery in 1990s television advertising Sex Roles 2000 42 5-6 363 389

CowellA. Pistorius versus the pit bull: fierce prosecuter shares stage 2014 Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/world/africa/pistorius-murder-trial.html

CristE. Images of animals: Anthropomorphism and animal mind 1999 Philadelphia Temple University Press

Dangerous Dogs Act Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 & 1997 Amendment 1991 Retrieved October 10 2014 from www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1991/65

DeliseK. The pit bull placebo: the media myths and politics of canine aggression 2007 Sofia Anubis Publishing

Dennis-BryanK.Clutton-BrockJ. Dogs of the last hundred years at the British Museum 1988 London Natural History Museum Publications

FurediF. Culture of fear revisited 2006 London and New York Continuum

GladwellM. Troublemakers: What pit bulls can teach us about profiling? The New Yorker 2006 81 38 43

GoffmanE. Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity 1963 New York Prentice-Hall

HallS.CritcherC.JeffersonT.ClarkeJ.RobertsB. Policing the crisis: Mugging the state and law and order 1978 Basingstoke and London The Macmillan Press Limited

Hansard 1992 Retrieved October 10 2014 from www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmhansrd.hwww.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmhansrd

HarcourtR. A. The dog in Prehistoric and early historic Britain Journal of Archaeological Science 1974 1 2 151 175

HibyE. FRooneyN. J.BradshawJ. W. S. Dog training methods: Their use, effectiveness and interaction with behaviour and welfare Animal Welfare 2004 13 63 69

HoffmanC. LHarrisonN.WolffL.WestgarthC. Is that dog a pit bull? A cross-country comparison of perception of shelter workers regarding breed identification Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 2014 17 4 322 339

JagoeA.SerpellJ. Owner characteristics and interactions and the prevalence of canine behavior problems Applied Animal Behavior Science 1996 47 1 31 42

JonesO. Chavs: The demonization of the working class 2012 London Verso

KalofL. Looking at animals in human history 2007 London Reaktion BooksLimited

The Kennel Club The Kennel Club’s illustrated breed standards 2003 London Ebury Press (New ed.)

The Kennel Club The Kennel Club’s illustrated breed standards: The official guide to registered breeds breed information 2011 4th London Edbury Press

LeveneS. Dog bites to children BMJ: British Medical Journal 1991 303 6800 466

LodgeM.HoodC. Pavlovian policy responses to media feeding frenzies? dangerous dogs regulation in comparative perspective Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management 2002 10 1 1 13

MayrE. Systematics and the origin of species from the viewpoint of a zoologist 1999 Cambridge Harvard University Press

MehrkamL. R.WynneC. D. L. Behavioral differences among breeds of domestic Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris): Current status of the science Applied Animal Behavior Science 2014 155 12 27

MeintsK.de KeusterT. Don’t kiss a sleeping dog: the first assessment of “The Blue Dog” bite prevention program Journal of Pediatric Psychology 2009 34 10 1084 1090

OakesP. J.HaslamS. A.TurnerJ. C. Stereotyping and social reality 1994 Oxford Blackwell Publishing

OrrittR.HarperC. Similarities between the representation of “aggressive dogs” and “sex offenders” in the British news media 2013 Accessed October 10 2014 at https://www.inter-disciplinary.net/probing-the-boundaries/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/orrittahpaper.pdf

Oxford Dictionaries Retrieved September 18 2014 from https://www.oxforddictionaries.com

PatronekG. J.SacksJ. J.DeliseK. M.ClearyD. V.MarderA. R. Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite-related fatalities in the United States (2000-2009) Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 2013 243 12 1726 1736

PodberscekA. L. Dog on a tightrope: the position of the dog in British society as influenced by press reports on dog attacks (1988 to 1992) Anthrozoos 1994 7 4 232 241

PodberscekA. L.SerpellJ. A. Environmental influences on the expression of aggressive behavior in English cocker spaniels Applied Animal Behavior Science 1997 52 3-4 215 227

RadfordM. Animal welfare law in Britain: Regulation and responsibility 2001 Oxford Oxford University Press

SacksJ.SinclairL.GilchristJ.GolabG. C.LockwoodR. Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 2000 217 6 836 840

SekselK. Report to the nsw Department of Local Government on breed specific legislation issues relating to control of dangerous dogs 2002 Seaforth Animal Behavior Consultants

SerpellJ. A. Evidence for an association between pet behavior and owner attachment levels Applied Animal Behavior Science 1996 47 1 49 60

SvartbergK. Breed typical behavior in dogs—historical remnants or recent constructs? Applied Animal Behavior Science 2006 96 3-4 293 313

SvartbergK.Forkman Personality traits in the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) Applied Animal Behavior Science 2002 79 2 133 156

TakeuchiY.MoriY. A comparison of the behavioral profiles of purebred dogs in Japan to profiles of those in the United States and the United Kingdom Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 2006 68 8 789 796

TaylorK. D.MillsD. S. The development and assessment of temperament tests for adult companion dogs Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research 2006 1 3 94 108

ThurstonM. E. The lost history of the canine race—Our 15000 year love affair with dogs 1996 Kansas Universal Press Syndicate Company

TverskyA.KahnemanD. Availability: A heuristic for judging frequency and probability Cognitive Psychology 1973 5 2 207 232

VoithV. L.IngramE.MitsourasK.IrizarryK. Comparison of adoption agency breed identification and dna breed identification of dogs Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 2009 12 3 253 262

VoithV. L.TrevejoR.Dowling-GuyerS.ChadikC.MarderA.JohnsonV.IrizarryK. Comparison of visual and DNA-based breeds identification of dog and inter-observer reliability American Journal of Sociological Research 2013 3 2 17 29

WanM.KubiniyiE.MiklosiA.ChampagneF. A cross-cultural comparison of reports by German shepherd owners in Hungary and the United States of America Applied Animal Behavior Science 2009 121 3-4 206 213

WrightJ. C.SmithA.DanielK.AdkinsK. Dog breed stereotype and exposure to negative behaviour: Effects on perceptions of adoptability Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 2007 10 3 255 265


  • View in gallery
    Photographic images courtesy of the uk Kennel Club (1, 2, 4, 5, and 6) and Wikipedia (3) included in the survey.
  • View in gallery
    Survey question exploring public perception of behavioral characteristics dependent on breed group classification of a fictitious breed of dog (Tskita) as a member of the Terrier or Toy breed group. Photograph used in survey with permission from C Monster, Flikr.

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 28 28 11
Full Text Views 10 10 10
PDF Downloads 3 3 3
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0