The effects of video footage versus photographs on perception of dog temperament

Lucy Clarke, Chloe Pyzer, V. Tamara Montrose

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


Photographs are frequently used to promote adoption of dogs on rescue shelter websites, however whilst physical traits can be well illustrated via photographs, conveying a dog’s temperament is more problematic. Behavioural traits such as sociability, obedience and friendliness can impact on likelihood of adoption. These traits are likely to be better displayed via video footage. The use of video may therefore have a greater impact on adopters than photographs by enabling desirable behaviours to be viewed and so conveying a more positive view of the dog’s temperament.
Four dogs from a Gloucestershire Rescue Shelter (two desirable breeds: 5 year old female toy Poodle;5 year old female Cavalier King Charles Spaniel-Chihuahua cross; two from a stigmatized breed: 11year old male and 3 year old female Staffordshire bull terriers) were individually photographed and a 30 second video of each was recorded. Two questionnaires were produced containing alternating videos/photographs such that each questionnaire contained the same dogs but presented in different media. British participants (Questionnaire 1: n= 363; Questionnaire 2: n= 372) rated their agreement with 12 statements relating to their perception of the temperament of the dog seen. The effects of viewing videos or photographs on perception of the dog’s temperament was analysed in SPSS using the Mann Whitney U test.
Viewing dogs in videos tended to result in more positive perceptions of the dogs’ temperament. Dogs viewed via video were considered to be more trainable, intelligent, friendly and gentle and less dominant, aggressive and unsociable than when viewed via photograph. This was also observed individually in both desired and stigmatized breeds. The perceived temperament of a dog is an important factor when adopting an animal. These findings suggest that greater use of video footage by rehoming shelters could help promote adoption of dogs.


ConferenceInternational Society for Anthrozoology Conference 2016
Abbreviated titleISAZ conference 2016
Internet address


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