Dogs, They’re Just Like Us
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.
Luke Groskin is Science Friday’s video producer. He’s on a mission to make you love spiders and other odd creatures.
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.