2016 Volume 78 Issue 2 Pages 231-238
This study examined the difference in dog owning between Japan and the United States, and the effect of these differences on dogs’ behavioral characteristics. Behavioral evaluations of privately-owned dogs were obtained by using online questionnaire. We compared background and demographic information from the two countries and analyzed the effects of these differences on behavioral characteristics in dogs. The results indicated that there was a bias in the dog breeds kept in Japan compared to the United States and that Japanese dogs’ body weight was lower than the US dogs. The main source of dog acquisition was pet stores in Japan and breeders and/or shelters in the United States. Multiple linear regression analysis found that Japanese dogs showed more aggression to household members and higher energy, restlessness and fear of non-social stimuli than US dogs, while US dogs showed more fear of unfamiliar persons, separation-related behavior and excitability. US dogs also showed higher levels of trainability and attachment to owners. The lower dog’s body weight was, the higher the behavioral scores except for trainability were. When dogs that were obtained under 3 months of age were analyzed, the younger the dogs were when their owners obtained them, the higher the scores on some behavioral problem factors were. The higher rates of problem behaviors among Japanese dogs compared with US dogs suggest that the preference for small breed dogs and poor early development environment influenced the behavioral characteristics of dogs.