How much of temperament is in the breeding?

(19 Posts)
m0therofdragons Sun 05-Jul-20 10:08:09

We pick up our pup in August and have just met mum and two dogs from her previous litter (same stud). We haven’t met the stud but his owner has a Fb page for people with his pups to stay in touch. Honestly, the mum and her 2 older dogs are just amazing but I’m trying to work out how much of it is really good training and how much is the calm and affectionate nature. No barking, no jumping up just curious and loving despite never meeting us before. Obviously pup will need training but how much does temperament of mum play a part?

OP’s posts: |
Motorina Sun 05-Jul-20 10:14:36

I was told by my vet that the evidence base is temperament is 75% genetic. I'm not saying you can't screw up a good natured dog, or help a dog with anxiety or aggression (I have seen both done) but you give yourself a real head start if the pup is hard-wired with the temperamental traits that suit you and your lifestyle.

tabulahrasa Sun 05-Jul-20 10:22:54

It depends what you’re counting as temperament tbh...

Not jumping up is usually training, very few puppies don’t do it at some point.

Barking is a bit of a mixed bag, some breeds are more likely to bark than others, some dogs are more likely to bark than others, but if they are prone to be vocal then training would be what makes the difference.

Whether they want to greet new people or not is definitely more temperament than anything else, how they do that is training...

m0therofdragons Sun 05-Jul-20 10:23:54

Thank you @Motorina I’m slightly worried I’m settling in with a false sense of security but they are absolute dream dogs. Just need to not mess up the puppy stage grin

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MsMarvellous Sun 05-Jul-20 10:25:52

Temperament to me is demeanour, their personality, not skills like not jumping etc.

I both the mum and grandmother of my pup, and the owner of the stud dog was accessible and happy to chat too. I could have visited if I had been able but couldn't make it work. She sent me video and answered questions.

I got what I was expecting a bouncy but friendly big beast who's a bit daft but ultimately gentle.

vanillandhoney Sun 05-Jul-20 10:37:30

No barking, no jumping up just curious and loving despite never meeting us before. Obviously pup will need training but how much does temperament of mum play a part?

Jumping up has nothing to do with temperament and everything to do with training. All young dogs jump up - mainly because as puppies we fuss them and reward them for it because we think it's cute!

Barking I think is partly breed, and partly training. Some breeds will be much more vocal than others - beagles, bassets, schnauzers and chihuahuas are all known for being fairly vocal, but you can calm this to an extent with training.

Temperament to me is personality and it's a big reason why meeting the parents is so important, and why genetic tests shouldn't be overlooked. You need to make sure stud and bitch aren't related, for example, and ask about the parents and any previous litters. What socialisation is the breeder doing? Those first 8-12 weeks are really important imo. Puppies that are removed from their mothers too early often suffer with socialisation, and-reared dogs often have behavioural problems too.

What breed? Do we get photos? grin

SlothMama Sun 05-Jul-20 10:51:44

Behaviour is a mix of both in my opinion, it's important when you get the puppy home to continue the socialisation. I have a puppy and I've been taking him on carries around my town before he can walk to get used to the sights and sounds. I've also been playing firework and other sounds and we've had as many visitors as is allowed right now for him to meet.

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GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Sun 05-Jul-20 11:14:48

It's both, but maternal temperament is an important part of the upbringing of the puppy so is a really important factor.

You can bugger up a good puppy, but if you start with one that is temperamentally solid you have an excellent basis for building environmental confidence and good manners.

m0therofdragons Sun 05-Jul-20 12:24:56

I don’t expect it to naturally not jump up but they seem trainable and not too stubborn or mental.

I have a pretty full family tree so no interbreeding. They’re cocker spaniels. Training does feel quite daunting as advice is very mixed, like parenting advice grin

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PollyPolson Sun 05-Jul-20 17:56:32

No dog is stubborn. Find what motivates a dog and all dogs are trainable.

A lot of training is control and managment, so prevent the unwanted behaviours and reward the good.

In my eyes a good temperament would be a dog that is optimistic, inquisitive and reslient. I have working breeds so I do want high energy/driven dog (which some may call crazy)

PollyPolson Sun 05-Jul-20 17:57:52

A dog can be made or ruined in the first 10 weeks of its life so it is positive if the breeders own dogs are the type of dog you require.

Enjoy the training smile

vanillandhoney Sun 05-Jul-20 18:11:36

Most dogs are trainable - you just need to find what makes your dog tick! That could be food, toys, treats, praise or fuss, or a combination of those things.

Mine will do anything for cocktail sausages. The cocker spaniel I walk adores dried chicken strips. Others love liver, or ham, or cheese. The collies I take out don't care about food but will do anything for a ball grin

frostedviolets Mon 06-Jul-20 11:46:20

I think temperament is almost entirely genetic.
I really do.

I think stable dogs even with shit, abusive upbringings will still be capable of ‘bouncing back’ and I think neurotic, anxious dogs with a lovely upbringing can be manageable and may be able to live as pleasant pets if they are trained and handled well and managed correctly but they will always be neurotic, anxious dogs requiring careful handling

Sitdowncupoftea Mon 06-Jul-20 12:44:42

I think it's both some is genetic and a lot more is environmental on how the dog is brought up and trained. That is why training is important and socialisation from a young age as possible is important.

Antipodeancousin Mon 06-Jul-20 12:55:59

When I went to see my dog as a puppy her mum climbed (very carefully!) over her own puppies to ensure she got first pat. My now nearly 30kg adult golden retriever thinks she is a lap dog, so I don’t think the apple fell too far from the tree! It’s a breed known for being placid and loving though. In my experience of owning dogs pure breeds are as reliable in temperament as they are looks. I will qualify that by saying I have only ever owned ‘family friendly’ breeds. I have heard plenty of anecdotal stories of cattle dogs who won’t work so I suppose there must be some variation amongst dogs when they’re really tested!

AmberShadesofGold Mon 06-Jul-20 15:25:57

Jumping up has nothing to do with temperament and everything to do with training.

I would disagree. Impulse control is - at least partly - genetic because it is linked to dopamine levels and receptors. NOT jumping up when you want to requires some impulse control and so is not 100% training.

Training does go a long way, though.

In my eyes a good temperament would be a dog that is optimistic, inquisitive and reslient.

Optimisim goes loooong way to beuilding a 'good' dog and I think many people dismiss it totally or don't think about it. You can influence this a little by ensuring novelty leads to good experiences but it is a huge chunk of breeding, imo.

AmberShadesofGold Mon 06-Jul-20 15:29:17

frostedviolets

I think temperament is almost entirely genetic.
I really do.

I think stable dogs even with shit, abusive upbringings will still be capable of ‘bouncing back’ and I think neurotic, anxious dogs with a lovely upbringing can be manageable and may be able to live as pleasant pets if they are trained and handled well and managed correctly but they will always be neurotic, anxious dogs requiring careful handling

I would agree with that - see previous point about optimism being important. An optimisitic dog is much more likely to dismiss negative experiences than a pessimistic one.

So much of optismism and pessimism in dogs (as in humans) is linked to genetic inheritance and in utero experience that I think temperament is more breeding than training. Training is mostly how to behave in a situation. Breeding is mostly how to feel about it. IMO anyway.

suggestionsplease1 Mon 06-Jul-20 16:13:57

I tend to agree, there is a lot in the genes. I used to have 'bomb-proof' labradors when younger - so calm, stable and unphased by anything going on (but also lazy and tending to put on weight!).

I now have a dog who is nervous, reactive and a guarder (but also incredibly loving and loyal and with a huge dedicated work focus).

The dogs were trained similarly, in fact the labradors were rather unimpressed by training in their own lazy way, whereas my current dog laps all training up and amazes people with the commands he can follow - but I have never yet trained him out of nervousness and a reactive temperament, and although I have trained him in a way to manage the guarding behaviour I know it's still there lurking within him, and if someone didn't respond to his guarding the way I have trained around it, his problematic behaviours would come to the surface again.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Mon 06-Jul-20 17:07:03

Thinking about it, I can think of a lot of examples where a dog has the temperament expected for its breed: I have met a lot of eternally optimistic and very energetic cockers, clingy Vizslas and so on. German Wirehaired pointers are always supposed to be a lot more hard-headed than their shorthaired counterparts and IME that is true almost all the time. I once had a bloke who trained gundogs for years moaning to me about how his labradors are jolly and obliging but the bloody German wires... Put the labs at heel and they'll still be there 5 miles later, put the wires at heel and they think they know best, you have to remind them every five seconds...

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