How important is genetic temperament in a dog?

And right behind that, how important is socialization? Is it important when this socialization occurs? How would you determine if a dog's behavioral issues come down to poor temperament and socialization, rather than it being a general training issue? I…

    How important is genetic temperament in a dog?

    And right behind that, how important is socialization? Is it important when this socialization occurs? How would you determine if a dog's behavioral issues come down to poor temperament and socialization, rather than it being a general training issue? I…...
    Dog Breed Discussions : How important is genetic temperament in a dog?...

    This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to our Cookie Policy.

    • How important is genetic temperament in a dog?

      How important is genetic temperament in a dog? Dog Breed Discussions
      And right behind that, how important is socialization? Is it important when this socialization occurs? How would you determine if a dog's behavioral issues come down to poor temperament and socialization, rather than it being a general training issue? I have a very strong opinion on these matters, as anyone who regularly posts here knows. I'll weigh in later. I won't be TD'ng anyone.

      How important is genetic temperament in a dog?

      How important is genetic temperament in a dog? Dog Breed Discussions
    • I think socialization is EXTREMELY important. That was one of the first things I did with my Doberman when he got all his vaccinations. I took him to dog parks and doggy daycares so he could get used to being around other dogs.The only thing I screwed up was letting a crap load of kids maul him when he was smaller and now he doesn't like kids - well he barks at them to make them go away. If the kid is with a dog though, he likes the kid! lolAnyways, I think a dog that gets up in another dog's face and is seemingly aggressive - I would have to say that is more of lack of socialization than training. The dog could have all the training in the world, doesn't mean that it will know how to socialize with other dogs properly if that makes sense.As for tempers on a dog - I would like to say that training can correct a lot of tempermant issues. But there are the odd tempermants that I think may have been born with the dog as well. Like aggressive dogs - not in the point of being vicious, but I mean just a little more of rough housing and maybe the way it plays, that sort of thing - those kind of traits I don't think you can change in a dog.EDIT: After reading Loki, Greekman and Curtis' answers I think I learned quite a bit about the debate of "genetic tempers". Thanks guys!

    • I say behaviour is most socialisation - some poorly bred dogs are prone to behavioural issues, but there are very few dogs that can never be well behaved even if socialised well from a young age.So, I do not think genetic temperament is important most of the time.

    • I believe genetic temperament is one of the most important things to look for when selecting your dog - I wouldn't want a lab that wasn't soft mouthed. The ability for the dog to bounce back from situations is all genetic temperament and it helps me to train them to the best of their ability. Socialization is vital - as soon as possible in the puppy's life - and continuing exposure to other dogs and humans of all ages / sizes. I train my dogs, but I'm not an expert and I've never had this situation personally (knock on wood) - I would never pretend that I know what which issue was caused by poor temperament or socialization. But, I'm smart enough to work with trainers who do - I believe I would have a fairly decent guess - but I'm still learning.

    • I feel that it is quite important. Anyone who works their dogs will tell you that the temperament in just as important as conformation. Since I have hunting dogs, I'll take this from a hunting dog prospective. Hunting dogs need to be bold and trainable. A bold dog will be a bird finding machine. He will not balk at difficult cover, rugged terrain, gun noise, or harsh weather. The trainable dog will be open to the obedience work and control needed in order to work for the hunter and not himself. A soft dog most likely will be timid and noise sensitive. This will be a dog that gets his feeling hurt when a training correction is given. this dog will not make a good over all hunting dog but may make a good pet depending upon the degree of timidity. Afearful dog does not make a good pet because of his unpredictability.Socialization is important but it will not take the place of good breeding. A soft dog will always be a soft dog no matter how much socialization he is given. Granted socialization will make the dog much easier to live with but it will be difficult to train a dog like this to his full potential.I feel that many behavioral problems are a combination of poor breeding, poor socialization and poor training. This is especially true in those individuals that are very timid, very fearful, and fearful aggressive. Some of the dogs displaying dominance aggression and territorial aggression also fit in this category although they are on the other side of the spectrum.

    • I think they both play a role..but, frankly, I think genetics is more important. In order to explain, I present the following example, drawn from my own experience.2 litters of working/show dogs born less than a week apart. 2 males kept, one from each litter. Their backgrounds:Puppy #1: Dam is pushy in her own element, but can be flighty outside it. Her littermates are even-tempered. Sire is sweet, outgoing, and rock solid.Puppy #2: Dam is pushy, and outgoing - her mother was soft and a little flighty. Dam's litter-sister is nervous and very soft.Sire is aloof, but solid-tempered.Both male puppies are raised in the same environment. The breeder/owner of these puppies ends up traveling for work for much of the year these two are born, and their socialization is incomplete; they spend a lot of their time in the kennel, with a few trips to fun matches, PetsMart, etc.At a little less than 12 months old, these puppies are taken to their first show. Puppy #1, who comes from a stable genetic background, handles the noise, crowds, touching from strangers, etc. with gleeful curiosity. Puppy #2, with shy dogs on his mother's side, is a bit shell-shocked. He is afraid of the judge, afraid of the crowds, afraid of the wind blowing through the shade tents.These puppies were raised together in the exact same manner. How do you explain their reactions to stress?You can work with and mold what is in the genes, but you cannot eliminate or create it.

    • I am with Loki.Not to mention, we frequently hear stories of dogs that were neglected and/or abused, yet when they are finally rescued they are still friendly and outgoing dogs. And the reverse, dogs that were raised in a normal way and are mental basket cases.

    • IMHO temperament means everything. Ever hear of a dog named Pipers Pacer? He was a Labrador Retriever (a NFTCH-NAFC no less) He was even the sire of a NFTCH, but every pup he ever sired spent more time walking on the ceiling than on the floor. That trait was due to temperament, as are all personality traits. One of the Pacer pups that I had never got past the point of thinking that "sit" meant to spin in a 2 foot circle.Temperament is not just about if a dog will become aggressive or not, temperament is about does the dog posses the proper set of personality traits associated with the breed. The proper temperament that I bred for in my Labradors (not successfully with Pipers Pacer I might add) IS NOT the temperament that I breed for in my Beagles.

    • Genetic temperament is THE most important element in a dog. After that socialization of the proper kind and that right age and style is absolutely invaluable for a dog to grow up and reach his full potential as an adult.There is no easy way to tell the difference between the two as far as your second question unless you have a lot of experience with dogs or a natural ability to read them.Most issues that I run into with dogs I find to be genetic in nature and that is due to the crappy breedings that you see being asked about here every day. Loki did a great job of going into this further and gave you specific instances where genetic temperament plays a HUGE role.I am sure you see questions asked here every day about fear aggression and fear towards objects such as rain, cars, chairs, etc that someone would dismiss as a socialization issue, but, I believe they are rooted in genetics. Hope I helped!

    • A dogs genetic temperament is of FUNDAMENTAL importance.Genetics sets the basic temperament of a dog & will shape the way the dog thinks & behaves. An owner can only work with what nature has given the dog, because temperament cannot be changed however much you love, mollycoddle or train a dog.If the dog has a rock solid temperament, with the correct characteristics for the breed, it has the POTENTIAL to be a well balanced dog capable of doing whatever the breed was created to do.The behavior of a dog with a genetically unsound temperament COULD possibly be controlled depending on the behavior & the owners ability to control the behavior & manage the dogs environment.Socialization is extremely important because a dog needs to be exposed to as many learning experiences & social situations as a puppy, to develop into a confident adult. Reading a dog's body language is fundamentally important to understanding if it's a genetic rather than owner made problem.If a dog lunges at another dog with hackles raised growling or stands beside their owner growling, that is defensive aggression which is fear based bbehaviorIf a dog is not clear in its head about its place in its human pack because it hasn't been given clear boundaries of what is aacceptablebbehavior& it therefore refusing to come when called, get of the sofa ect, that is an owner made training issue.

    • Socialization is critical between birth and six months, these are the months that the dog is forming his little brain and learning. I am pretty sure the brain shuts down between six months and two years old while they are adolescents.A general training issue can be solved with a behaviorist or trainer and working with your dog consistently to resolve an issue. Socialization of an older dog takes longer than it would for a puppy but late socialization can overcome a lack of experiences as a pup and improve the behavior of the dog.The dog that just has poor temperament has been trained and retrained using different methods, multiple trainers and just can't move forward. It doesn't happen often, I've only seen it once personally, but these dogs are only safe in the hands of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist, or at least a capable adult handler that won't put up with bad behavior at all. I'm not talking about the dog won't sit/down/stay/recall, I'm talking about dogs that are food aggressive, human aggressive, possessive, excessively submissive, etc. If behavior hasn't at least started improving in six months of consistent work you've just got a dog with a poor temperament.

    • I am going to give you an extreme example.My hounds have a notable sire in their pedigree, named "The Hermit". In his era, he had produced 63 he was top champion producing dog at the time..He had never been shown.I met people who had had Hermit, and they all told me he was a mean son-of-gun. Didn't want to be handled, a biter, and didn't have a show career because of his temperament.Well, most of my hounds have been just as an Afghan should be, "Aloof and dignified, yet gay.".But, 5 generations AFTER The Hermit, I whelped a pup who was spectacular in every way..probably the best and most typy I had produced, who was born a mean son-of-a-gun. She was born mean and stayed mean. .The Hermit's influence is still prevalent in my hounds, as I have one that is the spittin image of him, 6 generations later. Although only the one has reproduced his ill temperament, I know it can crop up any time..Socialization is extremely important in this breed, as they are so wary by nature. I have to get them out and about at every opportunity, or they will be wallflowers, only trusting their own family, and never comfortable around strangers or other dogs. ( I never! allow a strange dog to sniff any of my dogs, and I don't expect them to allow it) When I rescue one that hasn't been socialized, it takes months, and sometimes years, to get them comfortable in public.When anyone asks me for advice on choosing a new puppy, I tell them to see and visit with both parents, and make sure the parents are exactly as they want their dog to be. That new pup will most likely have the temperament and appearance of either or both parents, so its important that the parents are the dog that you would would want.As for the importance of genetics, It would be a bad move to choose any hound that had "The Hermit" in her ancestry to add to my that would double up the chances for poor temperament. This is also the problem with inbreeding. Our dogs can appear fine, have all manner of titles, but may have a "Hermit" in their history, and by breeding too closely related the chances are twice as likely for that trait to be reproduced.Added:I have loosely translated, using bablefish, for our friend, Janpyerr, who wrote in French:Excuse me, Miss I do not master well the English I must reply to you in French. The dog is the animal by excellence that was conditioned by the man as early as his appearing on the planet, genetically speaking, this are all these indicators at once more physical, more geographic and more emotional that predominate with our friend the dog that of surcroit marked irreparably these cells that one rediscovers in what one call discomforts, the communication usually between living beings and d 'order vibratoire, inconsciement we wave emmetons (vibrations) that right away are obtained by our friends the dogs they are by same drive which one has conditioned there are more of some centuries, in any case I easily would do confidence to this friend that to a human, an all small considered precision that the dog is endowed with an intelligence to not to be protested Which means that we have it considered as a friend has friend and not of master to dog. Thank you Source(s): J 'had Labrador, Boxer, German shepherd and again of others that have each their characters but faithful to all point of view.

    • I don't think its black and white, and that its more complex than the question you're asking.Socialization (done right, not just getting the dog out and exposing them willy nilly regardless of the dog's reaction) can move the dog to a better place on her genetically and epigenetically determined range of abilities as far as social skills go. Epigenetics refers to other elements such as chemical, hormone, and temperature that can affect genetics output- for instance, identical twin calico cats express their genes differently resulting in different looking coats. There is evidence of certain elements in utero affecting dog's abilility to handle stress later in life, and although there isn't evidence yet, I've heard from enough people that their raw fed pups don't go through fear periods that I suspect nutrition has a role also.Since genetics are involved in breed differences, its pretty easy to see that genetics play a role- much easier to socialize a typical golden than a typical tervuren. The golden meets a man and has a good experience, thinks that men are great. The terv meets a man and has a good experience, thinks THAT man is great, the jury is still out on men who wear beards, different hats, taller, etc. And intra-breed differences exist as well, but are more difficult to pinpoint. Some lines are more prone to shyness (well established genetic component), others to different temperament issues.Determining where the issues are can be complex, and sometimes difficult or impossible to determine. Certainly good training can help, but often isn't the complete answer.

    • excusez-moi, mademoiselle je ne maîtrise pas trop l' anglais je vais m' efforcé de vous répondre en français. Le chien est l' animal par exellence qui a été conditionné par l' homme dès son appariton sur la planète, génétiquement parlant, ce sont tous ces repères à la fois physiques, géographiques et relationnelles ( affectives) qui prédominent chez notre ami le chien qui de surcroit a marqué irrémédiablement ces cellules que l' on retrouve dans ce que l' on appel les gênes, la communication en générale entre êtres vivants et d' ordre vibratoire, inconsciement nous emmetons des ondes (vibrations) qui sont tout de suite captées par nos amis les chiens ils sont par essence même ce que l' on a conditionné il y a plus de quelques siècles, en tous cas je ferais facilement confiance à cet ami là qu' à un humain, une toute petite précision considéré que le chien est doté d' une intelligence à ne pas être contesté ce qui signifie que nous devons le considéré comme un ami a friend et non de maître à chien. merci

    • I am with Loki, Greekman and Belle. Genetics determines what potential the dog has and determines what drives it has and how strong those drives are. I think its the biggest % of what the dog will ultimately be. Human imprinting (until the teething stage is over) is important in figuring out how the dog will react to external stimuli (this is learned behavior) and how it will see you (the handler) and the rest of its pack. This is my opinion from my limited experience with dogs and some research. I also have a good example of this living with me at home. I have 2 dogs, a 2.5 year old doberman girl from show lines and a 7 month year old doberman puppy from working lines. both dogs are being brought up the same. the girl has 0 defense drive. She is not shy and doesn't care about noises, new situation, people etc, but will run away from assailant ( as i have seen with her in schutzhund training). she has some pray drive, but will never make a good guard dog. She likes people and loves other dogs. She is not pushy and would rather do something she really hates than face confrontation. My boy on the other hand has a lot of pray drive and defense drive, he will fall over, choke himself and do anything and everything to get to the helper at training. He has been this way since his first trip to the training field at 12 weeks of age, he is aloof to strangers and could care less about other dogs. He tests his boundaries daily and tests me all the time. Both dogs do very well with new situation, noises, mail man, vacuum cleaner, hair dryers, fireworks, thunderstorms, gunshots. I think this is their learned behavior and early exposure.

    • wellwhen you have 8 week old puppies attacking over things, its not socialization. its genetic.we temperament test all of our adoptable dogs and puppies, and the amount of aggression in puppies is raising.there has been no time to learn the behaviors (even if it IS fighting over food, as I had another shelter worker from a different shelter tell me that 2 french mastiff pups that attacked over a pigs ear (possession aggression) and food (food aggression) was a learned behavior (at this point they were 7 weeks old) because they had to fight over food. and I'm sorry, these puppies were pretty damn healthy and did NOT need to fight over food, they were GUARDING the food.) now with an older dog, it could be socialization/a training issue,right now we are debating whether a pit we have is adoptable (and trainable) but its not looking good. he gets over aroused WAY too easily, and cannot decompress. we brought him to petsmart today, and his prey drive was extremely high. which is something that cant always be worked with, even by a person with a high level of experience with the bullies (me, and my boss are bully advocates, and we know of another person who can work with pits with issues, but this dog cannot be 'rehabilitated')so chances are, he will be euthed (I am SO hoping that wont be the case, but it is not my decision) MY great dane has aggression towards other dogs, and I will admit that it is a socialization issue. and that it is in my hands. a training issue is something you can deal with, as well as a socialization. but sometimes- its genetics. and many times you CANNOT work with thatI hope this made sense. I am exhausted.but wonderful question, and I will be reading the answers to see what others have to sayand genetics are more important to ME

    • I found this one kinda late tonight--you've got some great answers from some great dog people on this one--Temperament is what you want--It defines a dogs abilities and how well it can handle the socialization process later on. Both are important but without the genetic temperament then socialization is going to be a problem for the dog.

    • Genetic temperament is #1. Dogs with bad temperaments are much like people with flawed characters, something only a shrink can fix! Socialization has become something it is NOT, and that is a training method. Socializing dogs to dogs is completely unnecessary, your dog doesn't need friends, it's not a kindergartner, the only dogs your dog needs to contact is OTHER dogs in your home if you're a multiple dog household! Socialization is getting dogs accustomed to many sights and sounds so that nothing shakes them because they've either seen/heard/smelled it before, or they've seen/heard/smelled so many different things that they're curious of new things rather than frightened. Temperament vs Socialization is like this....Temperament is what you have Socialization makes it better...if you have a diamond, socialization will take it from rough to shiny and valuable! If you have a lump of horse poo, socialization will make it slightly less stinky poo...point being? It's still poo.A dog with a bad temperament like a fear biter is easy to see. People in rescues see a dog with a poor temperament and say "Awww he's been abuuuuuuuuused" when in reality it's poor temperament. A dog with a good temperament can come from a dog fighting ring, or abusive home, and IMMEDIATELY perk up and be friendly with new people regardless of their past traumas.Again, dogs don't make friends, large pack canines chase off and often KILL other dogs/wolves they don't know. It's foolish and childish to subject our dogs to "standing still" and allowing strange dogs outside of it's pack sniff it and try to play like they're old friends.

    • Genetics is HUGE! It's every thing- even if you socialize a dog well. If it genetics are screwed up then the dog will never be "right"I have a mastiff- She was socialized. I had her in a show. I took her every where with me, However she is terrified of strangers- She just has this "fear" inside of her- It totally changes the dog that I know when we are out in public. It breaks my heart to see her like that- BUt what can I do- I have her- I love her, She's a great dog besides that- But I do feel like her life isn't what it could be.. She doesn't get to be a normal dog..After doing some research I found out that her mother was extremely Territorial and was a "Guard Dog"...I assume it's because she was "unbalanced" herself.I also would add. Before I had Violet- I had no Idea about "Genetics" I had two pits, a mastiff mix and a golden. Never had a problem. I had no idea how important "genetics" are to a dog personality- She is a gorgous dog on the out side- But inside- I know her brain isn't quit right, It's aweful. I know that she is unbalaced and she is not fit for society- But how can I put her down when she has done no wrong?I have seen what is wrong and now I have to do whatever it takes to keep her safe and public. You can never trust a dog that is unbalanced..And what is a dog if you cannot put your trust in them?