The relationship a dog has with its owner is linked to its stress level. This is the conclusion of a recently published study from Linköping University, Sweden. The results, published in the journal Scientific reports, also suggest that the link between stress and owner personality traits differs between dog breeds.
Researchers at Linköping University investigated whether dogs’ stress levels are affected by the people they live with. Stress levels for the past several months can be determined in dogs and humans by measuring the levels of stress hormones stored in the hair as it grows.
The researchers collected the hair from dogs and owners and measured the levels of cortisol, the most important stress hormone, in them. They wanted to know if there are any differences between different breeds of dogs. Breeding has led to the genetic selection of different breeds for different tasks. The study included 18 dog breeds that were bred for independent hunting, such as Swedish elk, Norwegian elk, and Dachshund. A second group included dogs of older breeds that are genetically more closely related to the wolf than other breeds. This group included 24 dogs of breeds such as the Shiba Inu, Basenji and Siberian Husky. All of the owners completed questionnaires on their own personality and that of their dog. They also answered questions about their relationship with their dog, including questions such as how the owner experienced the interaction with the dog, the degree of emotional attachment to the dog, and the extent to which owning a dog. dog was causing problems.
“The results showed that the owner’s personality affected the stress level in hunting dogs, but interestingly not in older dogs. In addition, the relationship between the dog and the owner affected the stress level of the dogs. This was the case with both. types, but the result was less marked for older dogs, ”explains Lina Roth, senior lecturer in the physics, chemistry and biology department at Linköping University.
In a previous study, the same researchers saw that dogs of sheepdogs, which were genetically selected for their ability to collaborate with humans, reflect their owner’s long-term stress level. When researchers now added information about the sheepdogs’ relationship with their owner, it became clear that the relationship was significant for long-term stress levels in these dogs as well.
The researchers conclude that long-term stress is less strongly influenced by the owner and his relationship with the dog for older breeds. Hunting dogs show clear connections between the owner’s personality and their relationship with the dog, but only sheepdogs demonstrate the unique synchronization with long-term stress in the owner.
“We believe that stress timing is a consequence of breeding sheepdogs for collaboration with people, while the relationship with the owner and the owner’s personality are important parameters that influence the timing of stress levels. », Explains Lina Roth.
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Material provided by Linköping University. Original written by Karin Söderlund Leifler. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.