Dogs are born with certain compulsions to behave in a specific way

SHEEPDOGS: Know how to round up sheep without another dog showing them.

SO much depends on how your dog gets on in life. I thought it appropriate to write about ‘inherited behaviour’ because all dogs will certainly have inherited behaviour. 

 The behaviour of dogs, like all animals, gets inherited via genetic predisposition and genetic memory. 

-- Advertisement --

Genetic predisposition towards certain types of behaviour or attitudes in life are inherited at birth, much like the preprogrammed default factory settings you may find on a computer or TV when you buy it new.

 What they govern are things like a dog’s prevailing temperament, personality and the type of behaviour that comes instinctively to him when faced with different situations or events. 

As an example, everything from how readily he will pursue prey to how confident, fearful or aggressive he will become in more testing situations, and even how strongly he will emotionally attach to people making later separation issues more likely.

 Genetic memory is a rather different phenomenon. If an animal repeats a specific behaviour enough times, a ‘memory’ of this behaviour eventually gets stored in its genes and cells, which is then passed down from one generation to the next.

This is how birds know when to migrate or how to build nests without any other bird showing them. Or how sheepdogs know how to stalk and round up sheep without any other dog showing them. It is purely down to the effects of inherited genetic predisposition and memory.

The same phenomenon is behind all different and also far more genetically magnified working instincts found in different breeds of dog. In other words they are born with certain inherited compulsion to behave in a specific way.


  1. A very interesting article as I’ve recently got a fox red Labrador. He’s from a very strong working background and has an exceptional pedigree.
    My only complaint is that the article is too short and only briefly touches on the subject.
    A follow up article, possibly containing information on where further reading on the subject can be found would be much appreciated.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here