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Dogs from puppy farms are more aggressive and fearful

Dogs that are bred on puppy farms have been found to be more aggressive, more fearful of other dogs and more likely to suffer separation anxiety as adults than dogs from reputable breeders, new research has shown.

Animal scientists at Newcastle University have presented the first UK study looking at how the early weeks of dog’s life spent in a puppy farm affects its temperament and behaviour as an adult.

Assessing three popular breeds – the Pug, Chihuahua and Jack Russell – the dogs were grouped as being from ‘responsible breeders’ and ‘less responsible breeders’.

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Owners were asked to rank their dogs against a number of key canine traits using the Canine Behaviour and Research Questionnaire.

Dr Catherine Douglas, a lecturer in animal science at Newcastle University and research supervisor explained: “The term ‘puppy farm’ is widely used to describe large volume production of puppies but in this study we also included other smaller scale commercial breeders where the dogs’ welfare may not be the first concern.“There has been some research around the health problems associated with dogs from puppy farms but very little research into long term effects on adult dog behaviour.

“We found that across all behaviour categories, including trainability, dogs from less responsible breeders had significantly less favourable behaviour and temperament scores than puppies from responsible breeders – those following good practice such as that outlined in the RSPCA, British Veterinary Association and Animal Welfare Foundation’s Puppy contract.

“The results were what most owners, welfare scientists and behaviourists would have suspected, but until now the evidence has been anecdotal. Hopefully this new evidence will further encourage potential owners to do thorough research before getting a puppy.”

The research was presented at the British Society of Animal Science conference in Chester and further analysis will be presented at Universities Federation for Animal Welfare’s (UFAW’s) Recent Advances in Animal Welfare Science in York on June 23rd.


The research supports the RSPCA advice “Don’t buy a puppy because you feel sorry for it – another will be bred to replace it!”


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