Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2004Peer reviewed

Genetic analysis of hunting behaviour in Swedish Flatcoated Retrievers

Lindberg S, Strandberg E, Swenson L


The aim of this study was to estimate genetic parameters for traits observed in a hunting behaviour test carried out by the Swedish Flatcoated Retriever club, as well as to investigate the existence of broader personality traits. During the test, the dog is exposed to various standardised hunting situations and the intensity of its reactions is scored in a test protocol by approved test leaders. The data consisted of observations for 10 traits on approximately 800-1150 dogs (depending on trait) and for two additional traits recently added to the test (with only about 190 observations). The dogs were tested in the period from 1992 to 2000. Almost all traits were affected by test leader, test object (dummy or game) and previous experience, whereas age and sex affected fewer of the reactions. Heritability estimates for the 10 traits were generally between 0.1 and 0.4, with an outlier of 0.74, and several of the traits were highly genetically correlated. A factor analysis on estimated breeding values revealed three factors which were interpreted as broader personality traits named: excitement, willingness to retrieve, and independence. These personality traits had heritabilities of 0.49, 0.28, and 0.16, respectively, and were weakly genetically correlated with each other (from -0.08 to 0.15). (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Published in

Applied Animal Behaviour Science
2004, Volume: 88, number: 3-4, pages: 289-298