Strong dog – wide head?

The size of your dog’s head may be an accurate predictor of his/her strength, according to research by Dr William Helton of the University of Canterbury.

Dr Helton studied dogs that competed in events for the International Weight Pull Association and published his results in the journal of Behavioral Processes.

Broad-headed dogs were able to pull much greater weights than those breeds with narrower heads; but dogs with the narrower heads were likely to run faster.  This is a classic case of not being able to ‘have it all’ because, as Dr Helton says, “Nature does not allow unlimited budgets and the trade-offs are often physical constraints.”

The size of the head isn’t an absolute indicator, but it is a skeletal trait that is an indicator of other skeletal traits which are linked to endurance, strength, or speed.  Dr Helton recognises that other factors such as nutrition, personality aplay a part in a dog’s overall performance.

Read more about Dr Helton’s findings in this Discovery News item.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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