London: Left-pawed dogs are more likely to act aggressively towards strangers than their right-pawed counterparts, a new research has claimed.
Researchers conducted tests on around 75 dogs to establish which paw preference they had and then analysed their behaviour for various traits.
They found evidence to suggest that dogs which prefer to use their left paw are more likely to show aggression towards strangers than right-pawed ones.
Although there did not appear to be a link with characteristics such as excitability and attention seeking, those animals which were left-pawed were markedly more likely to exhibit aggression towards people they did not know, ‘The Telegraph’ reported.
The left paw is controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain, which is associated with more negative emotions, and the scientists believe the findings reflect what has previously been observed in humans.
“We found that dogs with a preference for left paws were reported by their owners to show high levels of aggression towards strangers,” Dr Luke Schneider, from the University of Adelaide, said.
“The left pawed dogs scored almost twice as high as ambilateral (ones with no preference) and also higher than dogs with right paws.
“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,” he said.
The study only involved observing front paws, although dogs also demonstrate preference in the hind limbs, with one usually leading when the dog gallops.
The study was published in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour