Owner perceived differences between mixed-breed and purebred dogs

<div><p>Studies about the behaviours of mixed-breed dogs are rare, although mixed-breeds represent the majority of the world’s dog population. We have conducted two surveys to investigate the behavioural, demographic, and dog keeping differences between purebred and mixed-breed companion dogs. Questionnaire data were collected on a large sample of dogs living in Germany (N = 7,700 purebred dogs representing more than 200 breeds, and N = 7,691 mixed-breeds). We found that according to their owners, mixed-breeds were (1) less calm, (2) less sociable toward other dogs, and (3) showed more problematic behaviour than purebreds (p < 0.001 for all). Mixed-breeds and purebreds were similar in trainability and boldness scores. However, twelve out of 20 demographic and dog keeping factors differed between purebred and mixed-breed dogs, and two factors showed considerable (> 10%) differences: neutering was more frequent among mixed-breeds, and they were acquired at older ages than purebreds (p < 0.001 for both), which could result in the observed behaviour differences. After controlling for the distribution of the demographic and dog keeping factors, we found that mixed-breeds were (1) more trainable than purebreds, (2) less calm, and (3) showed more problematic behaviour than purebreds (p < 0.001 for all). We discuss that these differences at least partly might be due to selective forces. Our results suggest that instead of being the “average” dogs, mixed-breeds represent a special group with characteristic behavioural traits.</p></div>