Dogs, They’re Just Like Us

21:57 minutes

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.

Segment Guests

Luke Groskin

Luke Groskin is Science Friday’s video producer. He’s on a mission to make you love spiders and other odd creatures.

James A. Serpell

James Serpell is the director of the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Meet the Producer

About Becky Fogel

Becky Fogel is a newscast host and producer at Texas Standard, a daily news show broadcast by KUT in Austin, Texas. She was formerly Science Friday’s production assistant.