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      The behaviour of overweight dogs shows similarity with personality traits of overweight humans

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          Excessive food intake and the resulting excess weight gain is a growing problem in human and canine populations. Dogs, due to their shared living environment with humans, may provide a beneficial model to study the causes and consequences of obesity. Here, we make use of two well-established research paradigms (two-way choice paradigm and cognitive bias test), previously applied with dogs, to investigate the role of obesity and obesity-prone breeds for food responsiveness. We found no evidence of breed differences in food responsiveness due to one breed being more prone to obesity than another. Breed differences found in this study, however, can be explained by working dog status, i.e. whether the dog works in cooperation with, or independently from, humans. Our results also confirm that overweight dogs, as opposed to normal weight dogs, tried to maximize food intake from the higher quality food and hesitated to do the task when the food reward was uncertain. These results are very similar to those expected from the parallel models that exist between certain personality traits and being overweight in humans, suggesting that dogs are indeed a promising model for experimentally investigating obesity in humans.

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              A prospective study of the role of depression in the development and persistence of adolescent obesity.

              Adolescent obesity is a strong predictor of adult obesity, and adult obesity has been associated with depression, especially in women. Studies have also suggested an association between depression in adolescence and higher body mass index (BMI) in adulthood. Whether depression leads to obesity or obesity causes depression is unclear. To determine in longitudinal analyses whether depressed mood predicts the development and persistence of obesity in adolescents. A prospective cohort study of 9374 adolescents in grades 7 through 12 who completed in-home interviews for the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Assessments were made at baseline (1995) and at follow-up 1 year later. Depressed mood was assessed with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. BMI (kg/m2) was calculated from self-reported height and weight. BMI percentiles and z scores were computed using the 2000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts. Obesity was defined as BMI > or =95th percentile, overweight as BMI > or =85th percentile and <95th percentile, and normal weight as BMI <85th percentile. A parental respondent gave information on household income, parental education, and parental obesity. At baseline, 12.9% were overweight, 9.7% were obese, and 8.8% had depressed mood. Baseline depression was not significantly correlated with baseline obesity. Among the 9.7% who were obese at follow-up, 79.6% were obese at baseline, 18.6% were overweight at baseline, and 1.8% were normal weight at baseline. Having depressed mood at baseline independently predicted obesity at follow-up (odds ratio: 2.05; 95% confidence interval: 1.18, 3.56) after controlling for BMI z score at baseline, age, race, gender, parental obesity, number of parents in the home, and family socioeconomic status. This finding persisted after controlling further for the adolescents' report of smoking, self-esteem, delinquent behavior (conduct disorder), and physical activity. After controlling for all these same factors, depressed mood at baseline also predicted obesity at follow-up among those not obese at baseline (odds ratio: 2.05; 95% confidence interval: 1.04, 4.06) and follow-up BMI z score among those obese at baseline (beta = 0.11; standard error beta = 0.05). In contrast, baseline obesity did not predict follow-up depression. Depressed adolescents are at increased risk for the development and persistence of obesity during adolescence. Understanding the shared biological and social determinants linking depressed mood and obesity may inform the prevention and treatment of both disorders.

                Author and article information

                R Soc Open Sci
                R Soc Open Sci
                Royal Society Open Science
                The Royal Society Publishing
                June 2018
                6 June 2018
                6 June 2018
                : 5
                : 6
                [1 ]Department of Ethology, Biological Institute, Eötvös Loránd University , Budapest, Hungary
                [2 ]Department of Comparative Biomedicine and Food Science, University of Padova , Padova, Italy
                Author notes
                Author for correspondence: Péter Pongrácz e-mail: peter.pongracz@

                Electronic supplementary material is available online at

                © 2018 The Authors.

                Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Funded by: János Bolyai Research Scholarship;
                Funded by: Országos Tudományos Kutatási Alapprogramok,;
                Award ID: K109337
                Biology (Whole Organism)
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                June, 2018

                food reward, overweight, cognitive bias, personality, dog


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