Retrievers and collies are more playful than pugs and Yorkshire terriers


Animal lovers wanting a playful dog which will chase sticks and play tug-of-war may want to go for a specific breed.

Not all dogs are as playful as each other, a study suggests, with sheepdogs, retrievers and German shepherds among the most fun.

Owners of Yorkshire terriers and King Charles spaniels may find their pets cannot be bothered with rough-and-tumble play and would rather sit and be gently patted instead.

Not all dogs are as playful as each other, a study suggests, with collies (pictured), retrievers and German shepherds among the most fun

Not all dogs are as playful as each other, a study suggests, with collies (pictured), retrievers and German shepherds among the most fun

Researchers analysed the behaviour of almost 190,000 dogs of more than 138 breeds to judge playfulness. Small;er dogs, such as pugs and French bulldogs (pictured) were less fun overall

Researchers analysed the behaviour of almost 190,000 dogs of more than 138 breeds to judge playfulness. Small;er dogs, such as pugs and French bulldogs (pictured) were less fun overall 

Researchers analysed the behaviour of almost 190,000 dogs of more than 138 breeds to judge their playfulness.

They found breeds created to work closely with their owners, like the collies which round up sheep, or foxhounds traditionally used for hunting, tend to be more playful.

Smaller, companion animals like chihuahuas and shih tzus, do not play as much.

Professor Niclas Kolm, first author of the study from Stockholm University, said: ‘We found breeds that normally work closely with their owners, such as herding and sporting dogs, have the highest levels of play.

‘In the past these animals may have been trained using playtime as a reward, which is why they prefer it.

‘Or it may be the case that people working closely with dogs have used play to bond with them, and to practise efficient communication for other tasks.’

Cavalier King Charles spaniels (pictured) are not a particularly playful dog breed

Yorkshire terriers (pictured) were found to be one of the least playful dog breeds

Cavalier King Charles spaniels (left) and Yorkshire terriers (right) are among the least playful dog breeds, a study found, because they were bred for companionship and not for working closely with humans 

Some breeds are more playful than others  

 Playful dogs include:

Cocker spaniels, English setters, border collies, German shepherds, old English sheepdogs, Pembroke Welsh corgis

Less playful dogs include:

Cavalier King Charles spaniels, pugs, Yorkshire terriers, poodles, chihuahuas, shih tzus

The study, published in the journal Biology Letters, looked at breeds tested to see how playful they were.

Each dog’s owner took a twisted rag used as a dog toy and threw it to a stranger, who then chucked it for the animal to fetch.

Then the stranger held the rag with both hands to see if the dog would play a tug-of-war game to wrestle it away.

The dogs were scored for their willingness to play, from those which showed no interest to those which jumped right in and played very actively.

Those dogs with intermediate scores may, for example, have been slow to start playing, played less actively or shown only interest in the rag without approaching it.

Dogs were split into seven groups, including sporting and hound breeds traditionally used for hunting, herding breeds like collies, non-sporting house dogs, such as dalmatians and bulldogs, and smaller-sized companion dogs in the ‘toy’ category which included Yorkshire terriers and chihuahuas.

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The most playful dogs were the sporting and herding groups, including pointers and Malinois dogs.

The non-sporting and toy dogs were least likely to get involved in playtime.

As wolves are much less likely than pet dogs to play, experts believe humans selected and bred dogs which were playful over centuries.

Professor Kolm said: ‘Playing with humans may have been an important trait during domestic dog evolution.’

Dogs are less likely to be scared of fireworks and thunder if they mix with other pet pooches as puppies

For many dog owners, thunderstorms and bonfire night are chaotic events, marred by a barking pet pooch that whimpers relentlessly due to the loud noises.  

Thunder and pyrotechnics both elicit a similar reaction in some dogs, and Finnish scientists looked into what leads to some dogs being more fearful than others. 

They found puppies that socialise with other dogs when they are growing up are less likely to be afraid of the commotion.  

Other factors were also found to be linked to canine fearfulness, including breed, age and whether or not they’ve been neutered. 

Data from the RSPCA shows almost half (45 per cent) of all dogs in the UK are scared of fireworks.  

Dogs that exercised between one and three hours a day were less afraid of thunder than those that exercised more than 3 hours daily.  

Also, big dogs are less likely to be scared of a thunderclap than a small dog. 

Researchers say that while some genetic factors are beyond the control of owners, socialisation in early life may be one way of reducing fearfulness as dogs age. 

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Dogs that benefit from an active lifestyle in the countryside are less likely to be fearful, the study also suggests.     



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