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How To Raise Pups With Improved Temperament

At A Glance

A sound temperament is a must for a dog to live its best life and coexist peacefully with people and other dogs.

  • The best dog breeders know how to breed for improved temperament. The process involves selective breeding or selecting mating partners for improved temperament.
  • Providing a consistent, safe, and nurturing environment for newborn puppies is crucial and contributes to the pup's temperament.

Last Updated on: Apr 19, 2023

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Most dog breeding and training experts will say puppy temperament is its personality, nature, or disposition. These features of a dog’s personality are based on genetics and biology.

This definition separates temperament from a dog’s physical characteristics and learned behaviors that a dog acquires through experiences, training, and socialization.

Recent developments in the knowledge of dog temperament and behavior have given dog owners, breeders, and trainers the means to modify temperament-related behaviors.

This new understanding means that we can adopt a clearer definition of temperament. It is safe to say that temperament is a dog’s tendency to react a certain way to a specific stimulus. However, you can modify that response with training and socialization.

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How To Breed For Improved Temperament

For a dog to live their best life and coexist peacefully with people and other dogs, they have to have a sound temperament.

A ‘sound’ temperament is a stable or safe temperament that can respond predictably, adapt, and recover quickly from various situations and environments.

This sound temperament allows you to train the dog to behave safely around other people and dogs.

Nature and nurture work hand-in-hand to produce the breeder’s ideal dog.

The best dog breeders in Australia know how (aim) to breed for improved temperament. Half of the process involves selective breeding or selecting mating partners for improved temperament.

The other half involves providing newborn puppies with a consistent, safe, and nurturing environment.

puppy walking

Selective Breeding

There are two ways to breed dogs: natural breeding, where the dogs simply mate on their own; and selective breeding, where the breeder carefully chooses the dogs that should be bred.

Selective breeding offers huge benefits over natural breeding, as it allows breeders to accomplish a number of goals:

  • Fix traits: A breeder may choose to breed two complimentary dogs to fix a trait in future litters
  • Remove traits: Breeders can opt to breed two complementary dogs to breed out a trait in future litters
  • Reinforce traits: Breeding two dogs with a specific aptitude or skill to reinforce it in future litters

It’s important to note that these goals are rarely accomplished within one generation, and selective breeding is a long-term strategy.

Breeding for improved puppy temperament happens over many generations of dogs.

Each litter is one step in a long journey toward the breeder’s end goal, and the breeder must be able to evaluate successes and failures during the process.

Nurturing Environment

This is where the other half of breeding for temperament comes into play. Providing a consistent and predictable environment for newborn puppies is crucial to the breeding program.

Remember, we defined temperament as a dog’s tendency to react a certain way to a specific stimulus. This tendency, on its own, does not wholly determine a dog’s behavior. Dogs will learn from their environment while they are developing.

To be able to evaluate whether breeding for improved temperament works, breeders have to be able to eliminate extraneous factors that could negatively influence the puppies’ development.

According to Aisling O’Keeffe, veterinarian, even simple concerns such as adequate food, water, and space can all greatly affect how a puppy experiences the world for the first time.

Litters of puppies born in a dark, cold garage will turn out entirely different from puppies born in a comfortable, warm whelping box.

Several factors come into play when breeding dogs. When there is a clear end goal, such as improved temperament, it’s much more likely that breeders will be able to make adjustments and achieve that goal in the long run.

Well-bred and well-raised puppies from responsible breeders are often moldable to their new owner’s needs. This is because good breeders know how to both select the correct breeding partners to produce the desired temperament and provide the environment a puppy needs to thrive.



I am a full-time mum of two kids and a beautiful golden retriever. Writing is my passion: from food journalism to pets, parenting tips, etc. I can write on just about everything under the sun. I have been writing for the past 7 years and during that time, I have been a regular contributor to several blogs and pet magazines. I have also written feature articles, POV pieces, and dabbled in a few different formats of writing over the years.