Is Temperament Testing Really Worth the Effort?

This is another post that’s probably going to upset a few people. It’s about the predictiveness of puppy temperament testing.

Temperament testing has been an important fixture in determining suitability of dogs for service work, therapy work, police and military service, and even for companion dogs.

I started temperament testing in the 1990s in the belief that it was the only responsible way to place a puppy. All of the other good breeders did it, my mentors did it (including those involved with major service dog organizations and the US Department of Defense puppy raising program), so I did it.

But like many things involved in breeding, it’s not necessarily a sound practice simply because everyone is doing it. We also need to look at the science.

Back then, we didn’t have much, if any, science, we just had the best efforts of the best in the business. Now we have some studies to look at, so let’s take a look at what they say.

Do puppy temperament tests actually predict adult behavior?

Service Dog organizations have a great deal invested in the performance of adult dogs, have regimented puppy rearing programs, and are able to collect data and do follow up, so much of the results and studies we have are from service dog organizations.

There are more than a few studies available. Here are some highlights, and you can pour through the references if you really want to get lost in the weeds.