Behave Yourself (But What IS that For Your Breed?)

Using the word, “behavior,” few breed standards adequately state what “standard behavior is for a breed, but there are several that tell us how a breed is not to behave:

In a Polish Lowland Sheepdog, nervous, cowardly, or extreme vicious behavior is a fault.

In the Portuguese Pondengo Pequenos, signs of shyness is a fault, and overly shyness and aggressive behavior or disqualification.

Anxious behavior is a severe fault in a Nederlandse Kooikerhondje, while nervous, hyperactive, apathetic, shy or obstinate behavior is undesirable in a Flat Coated Retriever.

Major Faults in the Portuguese Water Dog have to do with temperament – Shy, vicious, or unsound behavior.

If we show our dogs in a conformation or performance ring, there is a tacit understanding regarding their behavior there, but how much more helpful to explain how our respective breeds should act (and especially in other environments). There were only a few standards we found that had wording regarding expected behavior:

In a Bulldog, [its] disposition should be equable and kind, resolute and courageous (not vicious or aggressive), and demeanor should be pacific and dignified. These attributes should be countenanced by the expression and behavior.

The behavior of the Rottweiler in the show ring should be controlled, willing and adaptable, trained to submit to examination of mouth, testicles, etc.

Behavior and Temperament: The Lagotto Romagnolo is tractable, undemanding, keen, affectionate, very attached to his owner and easy to train.

Some (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever) individuals may display reserved behavior in new situations, but this is not to be confused with shyness;

In the show ring [a Boxer’s) behavior should exhibit constrained animation.

As long as we’re examining this, do you regard behavior the same as temperament?

In the German Pinscher, ample information is provided regarding the latter: Temperament: The German Pinscher has highly developed senses, intelligence, aptitude for training, fearlessness, and endurance. He is alert, vigilant, deliberate and watchful of strangers. He has fearless courage and tenacity if threatened. A very vivacious dog, but not an excessive barker. He should not show viciousness by unwarranted or unprovoked attacks. *Note – Great consideration should be given to a dog giving the desired alert, highly intelligent, vivacious character of the German Pinscher. Aggressive behavior towards another dog is not deemed viciousness.

Interestingly, we couldn’t find the word, “behavior” in one terrier standard. We think this means something…..

Most of us know what it is in our respective breeds, and allowing that each dog has a unique personality, what is the overall correct behavior for your breed in five words or less?

Image: Terrier by Kim Stenberg
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