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Left-Pawed Dogs May Be More Aggressive

Left-Pawed Dogs May Be More Aggressive

Do you know if your dog is aggressive or not? Shake her hand. If she gives you her left paw, you may have trouble.

If your dog has a dominant front left paw, a new study proposes she may have a slightly greater tendency for aggressive behavior. It’s also interesting to note that dogs have dominant back paws, but they were not considered in the study.

“We found that dogs with a preference for left paws were reported by their owners to show high levels of aggression towards strangers,” says Dr. Luke Schneider of the University of Adelaide in South Australia. “The left-pawed dogs scored almost twice as high as ambilateral [ones with no preference] and also higher than dogs with right paws.”

The link is apparently not just restricted to dogs. Researchers think the commonality is due to a personís or dogís left hand or paw being controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain, which is associated with more negative emotions.

“There is research in the human world as well that positive and negative emotions can be located in the left and right hemispheres and it seems to go the same way in humans and other animal species, that the negative emotions are located in the right hemisphere. There are many, many overlaps between human and animal brains.”

A third of the 75 dogs studied during the experiment were left-pawed, and none of them were previously known to be aggressive. The researchers would like to conduct a follow up study that includes a larger sample group, including dogs known to be aggressive.

Also read:

Pet Store Puppies More Likely to Become Aggressive Dogs

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Read more: Behavior & Communication, Dogs, Pets, ,

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Jason Knapfel is Co-Founder of, a growing resource for all things related to the beloved animals that we share our homes with.


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4:33PM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

My German shepherd is definitely left-handed, but he isn't aggressive at all.

5:38AM PDT on Jul 12, 2013

Thank you Jason, for Sharing this!

1:43PM PDT on Jul 8, 2013

OK - since this pertains to people also, is this why my mother is a Republican, with Tea Party leanings??

1:30PM PDT on Jul 8, 2013

thanks for sharing

5:22AM PDT on Jun 28, 2013

thank you for sharing 28/6

2:27AM PDT on Jun 19, 2013

I don't trust this study. Sorry.

10:01PM PDT on Jun 14, 2013

That is interesting. Something I Never would have thought could determine such a thing.

9:26AM PDT on Jun 13, 2013

"MAY BE" articles..........................................

1:01AM PDT on Jun 11, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

5:48PM PDT on Jun 10, 2013

You have to train your dog to give paw......if you keep reaching for his left paw, he will give you his left & visa versa. Not sure how valid the results are in the article.

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