Studies on behavioural development in domestic dogs are of relevance for matching puppies with the right families, identifying predispositions for behavioural problems at an early stage, and predicting suitability for service dog work, police or military service. The literature is, however, inconsistent regarding the predictive value of tests performed during the socialisation period. Additionally, some practitioners use tests with neonates to complement later assessments for selecting puppies as working dogs, but these have not been validated. We here present longitudinal data on a cohort of Border collies, followed up from neonate age until adulthood. A neonate test was conducted with 99 Border collie puppies aged 2-10 days to assess activity, vocalisations when isolated and sucking force. At the age of 40-50 days, 134 puppies (including 93 tested as neonates) were tested in a puppy test at their breeders" homes. All dogs were adopted as pet dogs and 50 of them participated in a behavioural test at the age of 1.5 to 2 years with their owners. Linear mixed models found little correspondence between individuals" behaviour in the neonate, puppy and adult test. Exploratory activity was the only behaviour that was significantly correlated between the puppy and the adult test. We conclude that the predictive validity of early tests for predicting specific behavioural traits in adult pet dogs is limited.
Aging/psychology* Animals Behavior, Animal* Dogs/psychology* Female Longitudinal Studies Male Time Factors