What’s my job? – more data points from the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study
Golden retrievers in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study are a busy group of dogs. In fact, many have jobs!
As Dr. Missy Simpson, study epidemiologist, begins to crunch the numbers on data points from the initial Morris Animal Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study questionnaire, we asked her to share information on the responses given regarding the primary and secondary activities of study participants. The questionnaire gives owners lots of answer choices as to the roles the dogs have in their lives and in their homes. For example, owners might choose pet as the primary activity and therapy dog as the secondary activity.
“Pet” was listed as the primary purpose for the majority of golden retrievers, followed by conformation, obedience and sport. We all knew that golden retrievers are great companions and wonderful family dogs, so this answer is not surprising!
The information gets more intriguing when you look at owner answers for the secondary purpose of the dogs in the study. The conformation, obedience or sports category flips places with the pet category for the No. 1 slot. The hunting, field trial or service option also shows a marked increase in number of dogs participating in these activities compared to the question on primary activity. By the way, while some activities in each category differ markedly, Dr. Simpson grouped them together to make a graph that can be more easily read.
For some of our owners, the many options on the activity section of the questionnaire simply weren’t enough. In fact, they had a little fun filling out the comment section for the secondary activity questions. Some of our favorite answers were:
- Boat dog!
- Smiles and joy
- Official squirrel chaser
Although we suspected that most study dogs were selected as pets, we gained insight into other lifestyle choices owners are making with and for their golden retrievers. As the study continues, we anticipate that a dog’s primary activity will change: field trial dogs might retire, pet dogs might start participating in agility or obedience, and service dogs may become simply pets. Gathering this information, and watching it change overtime, will give us a unique view of what activities this population of dogs participates in, and how that might impact their health and well-being.