According to W. Handel, German Police Dog Trainer, in his article, "The Psychological Basis of Temperament Testing," defines temperament as:
"The sum total of all inborn and acquired physical and mental traits and talents which determines, forms and regulates behavior in the environment"
In psychology, temperament is the innate aspect of an individual's personality, such as introversion or extroversion. Temperament is defined as that part of the personality which is genetically based. Along with character, and those aspects acquired through learning, the two together are said to constitute personality.
The American Temperament Testing Society (ATTS.org) test focuses on and measures different aspects of temperament such as stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness as well as the dog's instinct for protectiveness towards its handler and/or self-preservation in the face of a threat. The test is designed for the betterment of all breeds of dogs and takes into consideration each breed's inherent tendencies.
The test simulates a casual walk through the park or neighborhood where everyday life situations are encountered. During this walk, the dog experiences visual, auditory and tactile stimuli. Neutral, friendly and threatening situations are encountered, calling into play the dog's ability to distinguish between non-threatening situations and those calling for watchful and protective reactions.
ATTS is the only non-profit organization that gives the TT (Temperament Tested) title for a dog. Established in 1977, the ATTS has tested 28,010 dogs as of December 2007. Pass rate varies depending on breed. The test takes about 12 minutes to complete, it is for all breeds and it is uniform throughout the country. To avoid breed discrimination, three ATTS trained evaluators (including a chief tester) score the dog, majority rules. All breeds are treated the same and no one breed is advocated over another. Failure on any part of the test is recognized when a dog shows panic, strong avoidance without recovery or unprovoked aggression. The breed’s temperament, training, health, and age are all taken into consideration. Minimum age requirement is 18 months and entry fee is $25.
ATTS was established to:
- Provide for a uniform national program of temperament testing of purebred and spayed/neutered mixed-breed dogs.
- Conduct seminars to disseminate information to dog owners, dog breeders and evaluators (testers) concerning dog psychology, motivation, reaction and other aspects of temperament-testing.
- Recognize and award certificates to dogs that pass the requirements of the temperament evaluation.
- Work for the betterment of all breeds of dogs.
- Select, train, prepare and register temperament evaluations.
Because of breed-specific dog legislation and negative publicity associated with many breeds of dogs, temperament testing has assumed an important role for today's dog fancier. The ATTS Temperament Test provides breeders a means for evaluating temperament and gives pet owners insight into their dog's behavior. It can have an impact on breeding programs and in educating owners about their dog's behavioral strengths and weaknesses as well as providing a positive influence on dog legislation.
A sound mind in a sound body ATTS motto
According to the ATTS’s most recent test in December 2007, these popular breeds are some of the highest and lowest scoring breeds tested.
- Old English Bull Dog 100.0%
- Mini Bull Terrier 100.0%
- Bull Terrier 92.1%
- Labrador Retriever 91.8
- Staff Bull Terrier 88.8%
- Standard Poodle 85.3
- Pit Bull Terrier 84.3%
- Boxer 84.3
- Golden Retriever 84.2%
- American Bull dog 84.1%
- German Shepherd 83.5%
- Amstaff 83.4%
- Rottweiler 82.6%
- Jack Russell Terrier 82.1%
- Dalmatian 81.8%
- Beagle 80.3%
- Collie 79.4%
- Doberman Pinscher 77.1%
- Mini Poodle 76.6%
- Akita 74.0%
- Chihuahua 70.3%
- Dachshund (Stnd. Smooth) 70.2%
- Chow Chow 70.0%
- Scottish Terrier 63.6%
- Tibetan Terrier 54.5%
- Skye Terrier 37.5%
*To see the complete test results for all breeds, please visit: ATTS.org
Today, APBTs and Pit Bull-type dogs are no more dangerous than any other dog equal to their weight range. In fact, according to those stats they are actually less dangerous than a large number of other popular breeds. The truth is that aggression can be bred out as easily as it is bred in. Pit Bull type dogs are highly trainable and yes it is fair to say they can be potentially dangerous if trained to be so. However, it is also true that “Pit Bulls” can be safe, loving, affectionate pets as well. (Do a quick read on conditioning, Ivan Pavlov). Dogs are what we make of them and nothing else. Unless genetically bred specifically for aggression, dogs are not born vicious savages. Criminals who exploit these animals for sport, entertainment and financial gain need to be stopped in order to protect the safety of both our human and canine societies. Training a dog to be vicious is like having an unlicensed weapon in the hands of a maniac. Although we are in need of a solution to this problem, most would agree it is completely unfair to categorize the responsible pet owners with people capable of such utter cruelty.
Did you know that American Pit bull terriers and many Pit Bull-types have become well known as search and rescue dogs and narcotics dogs? Law Dogs USA only uses APBTs for these important homeland security jobs. It is their responsibility to protect America from terrorism through bomb detection as well as fight the war on drugs by preventing illegal drugs from entering the U.S. Popsicle the “Pit Bull” is a great example of what this breed is capable of if given the chance. His amazing drug-sniffing ability landed the U.S. with the largest drug bust ever achieved at the Mexican border which totaled 3,075 pounds of cocaine found in a pineapple truck in 1998. Stubby was another historic “Pit Bull” in American history. After many courageous acts of bravery during WW1 he was awarded Sergeant. Stubby became the first “Pit Bull” to be given rank in the United States Armed Forces becoming America’s first decorated war dog.
“Pit Bulls” are also trained therapy dogs used to help disabled people lead more fulfilling and healthy lives. RCA, an APBT scored higher than over 120 other dogs when tested for temperament which earned her the spot as Alaska’s first certified hearing dog. “Pit Bulls” are also often used as aids in the rehabilitation for sufferers of post traumatic stress disorder, like those who survived the disaster of 9/11. This just goes to show that you can’t judge a dog by its breed. They don’t call them “The Nanny Dog” for nothing! American Pit Bull Terriers have earned that title by being great family pets. Contrary to current belief they are especially safe with children, a fact that dates all the way back to the birth of our country. APBTs and Pit Bull-types have played a very significant and positive role in American history which should have secured them a distinct level of respect by now. Instead they are fighting for their lives as one of the most highly abused dog breeds in a country they still help to protect. It looks like America could take a lesson in loyalty from them.
To see more heroic “Pit Bulls” Click Here Below