Although pit bulls have been considered a potentially dangerous breed and thus often a subject of legal restrictions, very few studies have been carried out to define their behavioural characteristics. The current project was aimed at comparing the pit bulls' behavioural response to those of a control group on a series of tests carried out in two shelters. Methods The first aim of the study was to outline a complete ethogram and sensitive evaluation scales, paying particular attention to aggressive behaviour. These were then used to evaluate the behavioural response of pit bulls (a subgroup consisting of ex-fighting dogs) compared to controls in a series of tests. The tests focused on the dogs' response to three categories of social partners: an unfamiliar person, a doll and an unfamiliar dog (adult male). Behavioural categories considered were: sociability, fear, aggressiveness and frustration (the latter only in the unfamiliar dog test). A total of 72 dogs were tested, 36 pit bulls and 36 mixed and pure-bred dogs (both groups: 19f, 17m, age range 2-9y). Results A three-way ANOVA was used to assess the effects of breed, sex and shelter. In the unfamiliar person test, pit bulls did not differ from controls in any of the variables measured. In the doll test, pit bulls, regardless of sex and shelter, showed significantly higher levels of aggressiveness compared to controls (p<0.05). 44% of pit bulls manifesting aggressive behaviours obtained a score of 4 (on a 0 to 4 point scale), whereas none of the controls (0%) ever obtained the highest score. No differences between groups emerged in terms of sociability and fear towards the doll. In the unfamiliar dog test male pit bulls were significantly less sociable (p<0.01) than all other groups (female pit bulls, male and female controls), whereas the male controls were the most sociable towards the unfamiliar dog. Pit bulls as a breed were also significantly more aggressive than controls (p<0,01) with mean scores of 2,89 compared to 1.25 for controls, and show significantly (p<0.01) higher levels of frustration. Discussion Male pit bulls are significantly less sociable and more aggressive compared to all other groups in two of the three tests considered. This is in partial contrast with the description of the breed as aggressive towards conspecifics but sociable and non aggressive towards people. Thus, in the current study, the major contribution to the overall results of the breed differences was due to the males rather than the females.
|Titolo:||Are pit bulls different? Behavioural evaluation within a rehabilitation program of ex-fighting dogs|
ALBERTINI, MARIANGELA (Ultimo)
|Data di pubblicazione:||lug-2008|
|Parole Chiave:||pit bull ; temperament test|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore VET/02 - Fisiologia Veterinaria|
|Citazione:||Are pit bulls different? Behavioural evaluation within a rehabilitation program of ex-fighting dogs / A. Capra, L. Marazzini, M. Albertini. ((Intervento presentato al convegno Canine Science Forum tenutosi a Budapest nel 2008.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||14 - Intervento a convegno non pubblicato|