How many suspected banned breed dogs have been seized by police in England and Wales over the past three years? –
Researchers here in the UK are looking more closely than ever to try to get to the root of aggression in dogs.
By looking at the DNA of dogs, they are hoping to get a more objective picture of what causes aggressive behavior and how to prevent it.
The University of Lincoln says that this type of scientific approach could help prevent future dog bites and protect people from dangerous dogs. Researchers there are hoping to identify which dogs may be predisposed to acting aggressively without warning. They will be collecting saliva samples from pets, which will then be used to identify genes that may effect a dog’s behavior. The researchers believe that dogs who have a lower aggression threshold can then be directed to people that better understand dog behavior and know how to handle such a dog.
On the other side of this hotly contested research is the Dogs Trust, who says that they welcome any research that may help reduce dog bites and dog attacks in the future, but are concerned that this particular research will only serve to demonize specific breeds. Spokespeople for the Dogs Trust believe that the way a dog is trained has a higher impact on a dog’s behavior than the dog’s breed, a theory that is well-supported by prior research into the causes of aggression.
In addition, dog attacks in Wales are up 81 percent in the last 10 years. Many blame the Dangerous Dog Act, which banned the Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brazilierohas, and the Pit Bull Terrier, and focused on punishing the breed of dog rather than getting to the root cause of dog aggression and bites.
The research being conducted at the University of Lincoln could have the potential to reduce the number of dog bites and help us better understand why dogs aggress, but it also poses the risk of focusing too much on a dog’s breed and not enough on the way a dog is raised and trained.