Evaluation of the factor structure of the canine behavioural assessment and research questionnaire (C-BARQ) in European Portuguese

Rute Canejo-Teixeira, Pedro Armelim Almiro, James A. Serpell, Luís V. Baptista, Maria M.R.E. Niza

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The human-dog relationship is thought to be the oldest domestic animal partnership. These relationships are complex and can become problematic when they become dysfunctional. The most common signs of dysfunctional human-dog partnerships are behaviour problems that, when unidentified and uncorrected, can be a clear danger to both species and the public. The Canine Behavioural Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ) is a widely implemented instrument to evaluate dog behaviour proven to be useful across various cultures. A European Portuguese 78-item version based on the 100-item C-BARQ was developed and its psychometric properties evaluated. The resulting questionnaire has a 13-factor structure accounting for 58.42% of the total variance with Cronbach's alpha values ranging from 0.902 and 0.721, showing excellent to respectable consistency. The original factors, Dog-Directed Aggression and Dog-Directed Fear, both loaded strongly onto a joint factor renamed Dog Associated Fear/Aggression, explaining the 13-factor structure compared to the previously found 14-factor structure. In the European Portuguese C-BARQ only two items did not load onto their expected factor. Results show that the questionnaire measures universal dog behaviours that are evident to most owners. Our results suggest that the European Portuguese version of the C-BARQ can be used to characterize the behaviour of dog populations and is adequate for use in animal shelters to help match dogs with new owners and in clinical settings to identify behaviour problems in veterinary patients before they become unmanageable. The European Portuguese C-BARQ could be of vital importance in helping to resolve behavioural problems in owned dogs before they become so serious as to lead to abandonment or euthanasia, diminishing the pressure on municipal kennels and greatly improving canine welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0209852
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


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