Risk factors for aggressive behaviour in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris), as reported by owners in mainland China

Jingjing Yang, Fritha Langford, Jenna Kiddie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This study aimed to identify the risk factors for aggressive behaviour in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) in Mainland China. This information has never been estimated before for owned dogs in China, therefore, there has been a lack of information to help guide veterinarians and dog behaviourists when giving advice to owners of dogs considered to have such behaviour problems. In order to establish this information, questionnaires were completed in electronic and paper format by dog owners: 2575 completed questionnaires were received. The majority of owners (2215, 86 %) reported that their dogs exhibited at least one behaviour they considered a problem: the main behaviour problem categories reported by owners were barking (871, 33.8 %), lunging and biting other dogs or people (586, 22.7 %), urinating inappropriately (566, 22 %), being destructive (537, 21.9 %), and eating non-food items (354, 13.7 %). When asked specifically about aggressive (any of growling, baring teeth, snarling, snapping or biting) and biting behaviours, 1578 owners (61 %) reported their dogs regularly being aggressive to other dogs or people, and 883 (34 %) reported that their dog had bitten other dogs or people. By using binomial logistic regression analyses, significant risk and protective factors were found for aggressive (X2(24, N = 2575) = 112.613, Nagelkerke R2 =.058, p < 0.001) and biting (X2(24, N = 2575) = 101.087, Nagelkerke R2 =.053, p < 0.001) behaviour. Variable categories with the largest odds ratios (>2.5) for being reported for aggressive behaviour include: terriers; and little time spent with the owner. Variable categories with the largest odds ratios (>2.00) for being reported for biting include: living with children older than 10 years of age; and being acquired from ‘other types’ of sources (compared to e.g. being found as a stray, which was protective). These results are very similar to those found in other geographical areas, for example in the USA, Sweden and Taiwan. The investigation of risk factors for aggressive behaviour will help veterinarians and dog behaviourists provide more appropriate advice to owners regarding their dogs’ aggressive behaviour, which will in turn improve dog welfare and public safety in China.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105211
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume234
Early online date18 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Behaviour problems
  • China
  • Domestic dogs
  • Risk factors

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