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Genetic evaluation of behaviour in dogs

Arvelius, Per (2014). Genetic evaluation of behaviour in dogs. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2014:59
ISBN 978-91-576-8066-2
eISBN 978-91-576-8067-9
[Doctoral thesis]

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A dog's behavioural characteristics are important for the dog, for the dog owner and for society as a whole. Behavioural traits can be changed by breeding, but to be effective when selecting breeding animals, good methods for measuring behaviour are essential. The aim of this thesis was to provide information on a number of dog behavioural measurement methods regarding their potential to be used for genetic evaluation: the Herding Trait Characterisation, the Swedish and Norwegian English Setter field trials, the Swedish Armed Forces temperament test, the Dog Mentality Assessment (DMA), and an extended version of the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire. The aim was also to advance our understanding of factors affecting the usefulness of behavioural measurements for breeding purposes.

Average heritabilities for behavioural variables (items) within measurement method ranged from 0.1 to 0.3, and the items were markedly influenced by systematic environ-mental effects. All studied measurement methods can be used for selection of breeding animals, but selection based on individual performance is suboptimal. Using BLUP breeding values would substantially increase accuracy of selection and the potential genetic progress and is therefore recommended. Rough Collie results from DMA showed strong genetic correlations with important everyday life traits as described by dog owners in the questionnaire. Therefore, in order to improve everyday life behaviour in Rough Collie, DMA breeding values for relevant traits should be used for selection.

The results indicated that from a heritability perspective, behavioural measurements should be objective rather than subjective, and neutral rather than passing value judgments. Collaboration between countries within breed is also advised because a joint genetic evaluation increases the number of selection candidates, and may also increase breeding value accuracies rather dramatically, as was shown for the English Setter field trial results from Sweden and Norway.

For half of the studied methods, the measured items were summarized into composite traits. Heritability estimates for composite traits were higher than the average of the items used for creating these traits. Because the composite traits also can be expected to be more stable over time and between situations, it would be advisable to use them as selection traits.

Authors/Creators:Arvelius, Per
Title:Genetic evaluation of behaviour in dogs
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :31 October 2014
Number of Pages:66
I.Arvelius, P., Malm, S., Svartberg, K. and Strandberg, E. (2013). Measuring herding behavior in Border collie – effect of protocol structure on usefulness for selection. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research 8, 9-18.
II.Arvelius, P. and Klemetsdal, G. (2013). How Swedish breeders can substantially increase the genetic gain for the English Setter’s hunting traits. Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics 130, 142-153.
III.Arvelius, P., Strandberg, E. and Fikse, W.F. (2014). The Swedish Armed Forces temperament test gives information on genetic differences among dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2014.06.008.
IV.Arvelius, P., Eken Asp, H., Fikse, W.F., Strandberg, E. and Nilsson, K. (2014). Genetic analysis of a temperament test as a tool to select against everyday life fearfulness in Rough Collie. Journal of Animal Science 92, 4843-4855.
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Institutionen för husdjursgenetik, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-8066-2
ISBN for electronic version:978-91-576-8067-9
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:L Animal production > L10 Animal genetics and breeding
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 402 Animal and Dairy Science > Animal and Dairy Science.
Agrovoc terms:dogs, behaviour, animal breeding, animal performance, breeding value, heritability, genetic correlation, selection criteria, methods
Keywords:behaviour, breeding, dog, genetic evaluation, genetic progress, herding trait, heritability, hunting trait, selection, temperament
Permanent URL:
ID Code:11612
Faculty:VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Breeding and Genetics
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email per.arvelius@slu.se
Deposited On:30 Oct 2014 14:08
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 11:09

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