Which dogs have a low prey drive

15 Oct 2021, 3:22 p.m. by Tracey McLennan

A high prey drive can sometimes make dogs hard to walk. Dogs who might chase or catch other animals need a greater amount of vigilance and more careful choice of off lead spots than dogs who won’t. Some dogs are hard to handle on the lead if there are prey animals around. When I spent time looking through the results that google returns for “which dogs have a low prey drive” I found several websites that confidently listed breeds that would be expected to have a low prey drive. I wondered if my research would match up.

In the spring of 2021, I carried out a mini research project for my MSc using a survey. I asked about predatory behaviour. I asked people if their dogs went still and stared at prey, got excited about prey smells, chased, caught, held on, and shook their head. I asked about small animals like rabbits and squirrels, larger animals like deer, birds and joggers and cyclists. The survey covered a good range of things that the dog might do and animals or people they might be interested in.

I asked people to rate their dog’s responses on a scale from the dog never does it to the dog does it every day. I had 730 responses to my survey.

I gathered some breed information in the survey as well so I thought it would be useful to look at the dogs where the answer was never or rarely to each of the questions about prey. Those dogs would fit the description of having a low prey drive. So, I looked at the data I gathered, and I found that 53 of the 730 dogs would have a low prey drive.

The breeds were:

From the responses I had, I couldn’t see clear breeds to choose. Some of them just weren’t well represented in the survey and for others, the dogs with the low prey drives were a small number of the dogs of that breed in the survey. I am planning further research into prey drive and will be interested if it gives different results.

What’s your experience been with prey drive in your dogs? Do email me on tracey@bestdoglearningandstuff.co.uk and let me know.

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Hi - I'm Tracey

I am the author of Canine aggression: Rehabilitating an aggressive dog with kindess and compassion and founder of Best Dog Learning and Stuff Ltd. I specialise in helping people with dogs who have a high prey drive. I have an honours degree in Canine behaviour and training, am a Tellington TTouch practitioner, and an ACE Advanced Tutor. I am currently studying for an MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Training.

I love to hear from people who read my blog so if you want to let me know what you thought, email me on tracey@bestdoglearningandstuff.co.uk