Kata Vékony presented the first results from the questionnaire at the Animal Behavior Society Virtual Meeting.

Hierarchy among dogs, often regarded as the consistent outcome of the various competitive interactions, can be influenced by the variable levels of resource-related motivation of the individuals. Variability in motivation level can be caused by personality and differences in life experience.

Our aim was to find out which personality traits can be associated with the rank of family dogs in multidog households.
We used an online survey that included questions about the cohabiting dogs’ everyday interactions to assess their rank and the Canine Big Five personality questionnaire. 615 owners from 24 countries completed the questionnaire for 1082 dogs.

We found a positive association between dogs’ rank and their age: older dogs were more likely dominant. Also, we found a positive association with some BFI factors: Conscientiousness, Extraversion/Energy and Openness/Intelligence, and a negative association with Agreeableness/Affection. We found no association between dominance and Neuroticism.

Our results support the notion that dogs’ personality – which is composed of their temperament and environmental effects – plays a key role in the development of their relationship with other dogs, thus in the formation of social hierarchy.

You can watch the presentation here: