From ‘The Dog’s Mind’ by Bruce Fogle
In the U.S.A. in 1988 Drs Ben & Lynette Hart, behaviourists at the University of California, published a classification of dogs according to temperament rather than morphology or their original purpose.
Four general dispositions were identified:
Reactivity = excitability, general activity, snapping at children, excessive barking, demand for affection.
Aggression = territorial defence, watchdog barking, aggression with dogs, dominance over owner.
Trainability = obedience training, housebreaking ease.
Investigation = destructiveness, playfulness.
They then performed a cluster analysis assigning breeds of dogs and their behavioural profiles to specific groups.
Cluster 1 – high reactivity – low trainability – medium aggression.
Lhasa Apso, Pomeranian, Maltese terrier, American cocker spaniel, Boston terrier, Pekingese, Beagle,Yorkshire terrier, Weimaraner, Pug, Irish terrier
Cluster 2 – very low reactivity – very low aggression – low trainability.
English bulldog, Old English sheepdog, Norwegian elk hound, Bloodhound, Basset hound
Cluster 3 – low reactivity – high aggression – low trainability
Samoyed, Alaskan malamute, Siberian husky, Saint Bernard, Afghan hound, Boxer, Dalmatian, Great Dane, Chow
Cluster 4 – very high trainability – high reactivity – medium aggression.
Shetland sheepdog, Shin Tzu, Miniature poodle, Toy poodle, Bichon Frise, Standard poodle, Springer spaniel, Welsh corgi
Cluster 5 – low aggression – high trainability – low reactivity
Labrador, Hungarian viszla, Brittany spaniel, German short haired pointer, Newfoundland, Chesapeake Bay retriever, Keeshound, Collie, Golden retriever, Australian shepherd
Cluster 6 – very high aggression – very high trainability – very low reactivity
German shepherd, Akita, Doberman, Rottweiler
Cluster 7 – very high aggression – high reactivity – medium trainability.
Cairn terrier, West highland white terrier, Chihuahua, Fox terrier, Scottish terrier, Dachshund, Miniature schnauzer, Silky terrier, Airedale terrier
Remember these are generalities based on American stock, low trainability doesn’t mean that it can’t be trained.
The value is in encouraging potential owners to look at the whole package not just appearance.