Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition most closely associated with humans, but some dogs can show similar types of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention seen in humans with ADHD.

A study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry found that dogs can have ADHD-like behaviors. What dogs are most at risk?

The researchers found that a dog that is young, male, or spends a significant amount of time alone is at high risk. Certain breeds of dogs are also at high risk.

They also found that hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention are closely associated with compulsive behavior, aggressiveness, and fearfulness.

Which dog breeds are most likely to show signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity? They include:

  • Cairn Terrier
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • German Shepherd
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Smooth Collie
  • Border Collie

Breeds at lower risk for hyperactivity/impulsivity behaviors include:

  • Chihuahua
  • Rough Collie
  • Chinese Crested
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Miniature Poodle
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Breeds that show the highest levels of inattention include:

  • Cairn Terrier
  • Golden Retriever
  • Finnish Lapponian Dog
  • Mixed breed dogs
  • Wheaten Terrier
  • Chinese Crested

Lower levels of inattention are seen in:

  • Border Collie
  • Miniature Poodle
  • Spanish Water Dog
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Rough Collie

The researchers note that the traits have a strong genetic basis, but they are also associated with certain demographic and environmental factors like age, sex, and home life.

Breeds with working dog history (terriers, herders, retrievers) can have an interesting mix of the characteristics. Some can have sharp focus and high levels of activity, like the Border Collie. The feisty Cairn Terrier tops the list in all categories.

The researchers suggest that ADHD in dogs has parallels to ADHD in humans, and research into the condition can benefit both people and their dogs.

 

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