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Living with wild dogs : personality dimensions in captive dingoes (Canis dingo) and implications for ownership
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Bradley SmithBradley Smith
Despite the commonly held belief that wild canines do not make “good” household companions, many people choose to live with them. The aim of the present study was to investigate owner-rated personality in a population of dingoes living as companion animals. Owners recruited from a registered dingo organization assessed the personality of 40 dingoes using the Monash Canine Personality Questionnaire- Revised (MCPQ-R). The dingoes (22 female; 18 male) ranged in age from 6 months to 11 years (M = 3.6 years, SD = 2.4); weighed an average of 19.07 kg (SD = 3.41); were mostly entire (i.e., not de-sexed or spayed or neutered; 62.5%) and lived in multiple dingo households (72.5%). Results show that dingoes were rated significantly higher than domestic dogs (n = 455; various breeds from a previous Australian study) for the dimension Motivation/Self-Assuredness (p < 0.001), and significantly lower than dogs for Training Focus (p < 0.001). Many of the personality traits of dingoes reside outside what is considered “ideal” characteristics important for a successful and rewarding dog–owner relationship. It is possible that dingo personality rests within the realms of what is “acceptable” pet canine behavior, at least for some owners, and that they may have adjusted their perception and attitudes to meet their expectations of the species. Motivations for dingo ownership and the applicability of using a domestic dog personality questionnaire on wild canids are discussed.