Annual Review of Cases 1996

Annual Reports have been produced by the APBC since 1994. The data, which represents a portion of the cases seen by the whole membership, provides useful information for both general and specific interest. Each year new areas of interest are looked at, which are combined with detailed insights into topics of previous years.

The authors of this report David Appleby dip CABC, Gwen Bailey BSc (Hons) and Emma Magnus BSc (Hons) MSc would like to thank the following for their contributions of data - Associates of David Appleby's practice, Gwen Bailey, Caroline Bower, Sarah Heath, Anne McBride, Katie Patmore, Erica Peachey and Associates and Val Strong.

The APBC would like to thank Intervet UK Limited for its support in the production of this report.


For the 1996 APBC Annual Review a total of 1617 canine cases and 103 feline cases were analysed

TOTAL 1016 (63%) 601 (37%) 58 (57%) 44 (43%)
NEUTERED 581 (36%) 377 (23%) 49 (47%) 41 (40%)

Diagram 1 (47.2K)

FA (p) = fear aggression towards people, SP = separation problems, DA = dominance aggression, Car = problems with car travel, FA (d) = fear aggression towards other dogs, Ch = chasing behaviour, AS = learned nuisance attention-seeking behaviour, F equal fearful and phobic problems, A(d)H = aggression towards other dogs within the home, A(d) = aggression towards dogs for other reasons (e.g. learned play), T = problems associated with training and HT = problems of house-training.

Diagram 2 (46.5K)

IM = indoor marking (spraying, middening and scratching), A(p) = aggression towards people, A(c)H = aggression towards other cats within the home, HT = problems associated with house training, A(c) = aggression towards cats not in the home and AS = attention-seeking behaviours.

Most common breeds to be referred



  1. GSD 5.9%
  2. Mongrel 5%
  3. Border Collie x 4.3%
  4. Border Collie 3.9%
  5. Labrador 2.6%
  6. Golden Retriever 2.4%
  7. GSD x 2.4%
  8. Cocker Spaniel 2.2%
  9. Jack Russell Terrier 2%
  10. Labrador x 1.9%



  1. Domestic Short or Long Hair 57.3%
  2. Siamese 11.7%
  3. Burmese 10.7%
  4. Siamese x 5.8%
  5. Birman 3.9%

Breakdown of canine cases to show type of environment obtained from Diagram 3 (43.1K)

'Others' = pet shops, found as a stray or previous environment is unknown.



Cases referred in 1996 showed 95 reports of fighting between same sex dogs within the home and 20 involving opposite sexes. Arbitrarily grouping the data into the four seasons suggested lower incidence in the referral of aggression between cohabiting male dogs in the summer months (June, July & August). The referral of fighting between cohabiting bitches is marginally higher in spring (March, April, May).

Seasonal representation of cases of fighting between male dogs within the home

Diagram 4 (35.8K)

Seasonal representation of cases of fighting between female dogs within the home

Diagram 5 (35.6.K)

(Note - Figures for fighting between opposite sex canines within the home were too low to analyse effectively.)



This year 443 of the total 1617 dog cases (27.4%) and 30 of the total 103 cat cases (29.1%) were seen in animals obtained from a rescue environment.

An analysis of the 443 cases seen in dogs obtained from rescue societies shows fear aggression towards people (30.2%), separation problems due to owner attachment (15.1%) and fear aggression towards dogs (10.2%) were more common.

The table below shows the most common ages that the dogs were obtained from rescue environments.

Age Obtained Total Age Obtained Total
Up to 6 weeks old 12 Between 1 year and 18 months 58
Between 6 and 9 weeks 13 Between 18 months and 2 years 45
Between 9 and 12 weeks 16 Between 2 and 3 years 56
Between 12 and 16 weeks 7 Between 3 and 8 years 94
Between 16 weeks and 6 months 44 Over 8 years 2
Between 6 months and 1 year 96



The tables used to illustrate the following sections were obtained by analysing the available data for each subject area.

When considering the environments that the pets were obtained from, where numbers were low from environments other than kennel, domestic or a rescue society, the data has been grouped as 'others'. These include pet shops, strays and cases where the animal's previous environment was unknown.

The cases described as socialised relate to the dogs level of experience in the first year of life. The decision as to whether or not the pet was socialised adequately during its first year of life was left to the counsellors discretion.



Fear aggression is a commonly seen behaviour problem in dogs, often caused by a lack of socialisation. Below the cases of fear aggression have been sub-divided to highlight the most frequent orientation of this behaviour. Some of the data has then been analysed to show correlations between age obtained, early socialisation and the environment these dogs were obtained from.

The 6 to 9 and 9 to 12 week groups contrast with the rest because dogs were more likely to have been obtained from a kennel environment. Note that of the dogs obtained between 6 and 12 weeks of age and subsequently well socialised, nearly twice as many come from kennel environments than domestic.

Dogs referred for fear aggression towards people

  Well socialised in first year of life   Not well socialised in first year of life  
Age obtained Total Environment obtained from Total Environment obtained from
Up to 6 weeks 30 Domestic 50%
Kennel 20%
Others 20%
Rescue 10%*
56 Domestic 42.9%
Kennel 34%
Others 17.7%
Rescue 5.4%*
Between 6 and 9 weeks 63 Kennel 60.3%
Domestic 30.2%
Rescue 4.8%*
Others 4.7%*
70 Kennel 48.6%
Domestic 40%
Others 11.4%*
Between 9 and 12 weeks 21 Kennel 57.1%
Domestic 28.6%
Others 14.3%
51 Kennel 51%
Domestic 43.1%
Others 5.9%
Between 12 and 16 weeks 11 Domestic 54.5%
Kennel 36.4%*
Others 9.1%*
12 Domestic 58.3%
Kennel 41.7%*
Other ages 19 Rescue 57.9%
Domestic 31.6%
Others 10.5%*
80 Rescue 53.8%
Kennel 25%
Domestic 16.3%
Others 4.9%*

* - low numbers

Dogs referred for fear aggression towards dogs

The difference between age obtained and environment obtained from is less apparent than it is in the previous table. Both groups share a common difference in that dogs obtained over 16 weeks are more likely to have been poorly socialised in the first year of life.

  Well Socialised in first year of life   Not well socialised in first year of life  
Age Obtained Total Environment obtained from Total Environment obtained from
Up to 6 weeks 10 Domestic 50%
Kennel 40%*
Others 10%*
17 Domestic 41.2%
Others 41.2%
Rescue 17.6%*
Between 6 and 9 weeks 27 Domestic 44.4%
Kennel 44.4%
others 11.2%
16 Kennel 43.8%
Domestic 37.5%
Others 18.7%
Between 9 and 12 weeks 7 Kennel 57.1%*
Domestic 28.6%*
Others 14.3%*
12 Domestic 50%
Kennel 41.7%
Others 8.3%
Between 12 and 16 weeks 3 Numbers too low 6 Kennel 66.7%*
Others 33.3
Other ages 12 Rescue58.3%
Domestic 33.3%*
Others 8.4*%
39 Rescue 59%
Kennel 23.1%
Domestic 23.1%
Others 12.8%

* - low numbers



Chase behaviour is a worrying problem for many dog owners. This year the data was collected to enable analysis of the stimuli to which the behaviour is orientated and the breeds commonly referred. The results show that livestock chasing was the most common referral, closely followed by dogs that chase vehicles and dogs that chase cats.

Livestock 30
(Others 76.7%)
Mongrel 13.3%
Border Collie 10%
Vehicles 27
(Others 37.1%)
Border Collie 44.4%
Border Collie x 18.5%
Cats 26
(Others 61.6%)
Border Collie x 15.4%
Mongrel 11.5%
Lurcher 11.5%
Joggers 23
(Others 47.9%)
Border Collie x 21.7%
Dobermann 17.4%
Border Collie 13%
Children 20
(Others 60%)
Border Collie x 25%
Border Collie 15%



Of the 1617 canine cases referred to some members of the APBC during 1996, 1043 (64.2%) were from single dog households, 412 (25.5%) had two dogs within the home and 151 (10.3%) were from multi-dog households. Interestingly, the percentage of dogs neutered was higher in the homes where the dog was kept alone. The behaviour problems listed are those most commonly seen.

  Total Behaviour Problems
Dog has no canine companion 1043
Dominance Aggression 15.1%
Fear Aggression (people outside) 13.2%
Fear Aggression (dogs) 11.8%
Dog has one canine companion 412
Fear Aggression (dogs) 10.9%
Fear Aggression (people outside) 10.4%
Fear Aggression (territorial) 8%
Dog has more than one canine companion 151
Aggression between same sex dogs in family 15.9%
Fear Aggression (people outside) 10.6%
Fear Aggression(dogs) 9.3%

Of the 103 feline cases considered in this review, 20 (19.4%) were kept singly, 37 (36%) as a pair and 46 (44.6%) were from multi-cat households. The reporting of spraying was higher in homes that had more than one cat.

  Total Behaviour Problems
Cat has no feline companion 20
Spraying 30%
Predatory Aggression (people)15%
Inappropriate Toileting 15%
Cat has one feline companion 37
Spraying 37.8%
Aggression between same sex cats (in home)21.6%
Aggression between opposite sex cats (in home) 16.2%
Cat has more than one feline companion 46
Spraying 60.9%
Aggression between same sex cats (in home) 15.2%



Cases referred during 1995 and 1996 were combined for this section to consider separation problems experienced by dog owners. This combination gave 657 cases for analysis. Of these cases, 419 (63.7%) were considered to be well-socialised. These were then considered in terms of the age at which the dog was obtained and the environment it was obtained from.



This year, we considered the age the dog was obtained and the environment it was obtained from. The results show that the majority of cases involved dogs obtained between 6 and 9 weeks of age, which contrasts with separation problems where there is a greater prevalence in dogs obtained over 16 weeks of age. There appeared to be no effect of early socialisation or environment in cases of this nature.

Age obtained Total Breakdown of environment obtained from
Up to 6 weeks 24 Kennel 50%
Domestic 45.8%
Others 4.2%
Between 6 and 9 weeks 93 Kennel 55.9%
Domestic 35.5%
Others 8.6%
Between 9 and 12 weeks 29 Kennel 55.2%
Domestic 27.6%
Others 17.2%*
Between 12 and 16 weeks 3 Kennel 100%*
Other ages 37 Rescue 40.5%
Others 32.5%
Domestic 13.5%*
Kennel 13.5%*

* - low numbers

Where the dog was known to have been obtained from a domestic, kennel or rescue environment the 159 cases were analysed to produce the following graph. This can be compared with the graph for separation problems so that it can be seen that the majority of cases of dominance aggression are obtained between 6 and 9 weeks of age.

The cases were also analysed in terms of the breeds of dog in which dominance aggression was reported. The five most common and the percentages the breed represents when compared with all the dogs referred with the problem as follows :

Cocker Spaniel 9.1%
West Highland White 8.1%
GSD 7.0%
Border Collie 5.4%
Golden Retriever/Labrador cross 4.8%


This year sees a combination of data from previous years to examine the link between the environment these cats were obtained from and their early social experience and spraying, inappropriate toileting and social aggression.

The 1994 report showed that indoor marking was the most common reason for referral of a cat to a member of the APBC. In addition, indoor marking was found to be more common in males than females. Analysis of the figures in 1995 showed that spraying was reported more during summer months than at other times of the year, cases of inappropriate toileting within the home were seen to increase during Autumn and Winter and social aggression within the home increased during the summer months.

Cats referred for spraying

The table below shows that these cats tended to have been obtained from a domestic environment after seven weeks of age. The correlation between the occurrence of this behaviour and the number of cats within the home is very clear - the majority of cats that were referred for spraying behaviour are kept in households with one or more feline companions.

  Socialised   Unsocialised   Number of cats kept
Age Obtained Total Environment Total Environment alone
Up to 5 weeks 8 Domestic 75%
Others 25%*
0 0 0
5 to 7 weeks 7 Domestic 33.3%*
Cattery 33.3%*
Others %*
2 Rescue 100%* 0
7 to 10 weeks 20 Domestic 51.8%
Rescue 17.3%*
Others 30.9%*
9 Domestic 60%*
Others 40%*
10 to 14 weeks 13 Domestic 39.1%
Others 60.9%*
10 Domestic 66.7%*
Others 33.3%*
Over 14 weeks 17 Domestic 47.1%
Others 37.7%
Rescue 15.2%
16 Domestic 44.4%
Rescue 33.3%*
Others 22.3%*

* - low numbers

Cats referred for inappropriate toileting

Combining the data for the last two years only gave 31 cases to analyse for this section. These results should perhaps be borne in mind for further insights into this problem in the future when there is sufficient data available. As with spraying, the majority of cats reported with this problem were from homes with more than one cat.

  Socialised     Unsocialised Number of cats
Age Obtained Total Environment Total Environment kept alone
Up to 5 weeks 1 Cattery 100%* 0 0 1
5 to 7 weeks 2 Domestic 50%*
Rescue 50%*
0 0 2
7 to 10 weeks 3 Domestic 66.7%*
Pet-Shop 33.3%*
1 Domestic 100%* 0
10 to 14 weeks 6 Domestic 83.3%*
Cattery 16.7%*
3 Cattery 66.7%*
Domestic 33.3%*
Over 14 weeks 7 Domestic 100%* 6 Rescue 33.3%*
Cattery 33.3%*
Others 33.3%*

* - low numbers

Cats referred for social aggression within the home

These data represent cases of aggression between same and opposite sex cats within the home. The majority of these cats appear to have been adequately socialised which would suggest that this is not the motivation for the aggression. A third of the cases were cats obtained over 14 weeks of age.

  Socialised   Unsocialised  
Age Obtained Total Environment Total Environment
Up to 5 weeks 6 Domestic 66.7%*
Others 33.3%*
0 0
5 to 7 weeks 8 Domestic 87.5%*
Others 12.5%*
5 Rescue 60%*
Others 40%*
7 to 10 weeks 8 Domestic 75%*
Others 25%*
1 Rescue 100%*
10 to 14 weeks 12 Domestic 58.3%*
Cattery 33.3%*
Others 8.4%*
3 Domestic 66.6%*
Rescue 33.3%*
Over 14 weeks 13 Domestic 46.2%*
Rescue 38.5%*
Others 15.3%*
7 Others 57.1%*
Cattery 42.9%*

*- low numbers