Somerville Junior Research Fellow Dr Máté Nagy has been interviewed by the BBC about his research into canine behaviour.
Dr Nagy, the Fulford Junior Research Fellow at Somerville, had found that the behaviour of individual dogs taken on group walks reveals not just which dog is a leader but also the personality traits of the individual dogs.
The route a dog chooses on such a walk is especially important, Nagy found, adding that technology could be harnessed to read the group behaviour of a variety of species, such as lions, elephants, and even humans.
“We used Hungarian vizsla dogs, which is known to be a very social and well-trainable breed of pointer-type hunter dogs,” said Nagy. “There are clear characteristics in terms of their choice of paths and their motion patterns, and these depend on personality traits. Some of the results were familiar for the owner, but some aspects were surprising.”
Nagy added that the project employed a new research methodology and that the research team plans to extend their research to look at other groups and breeds.
“We are looking for dedicated owners to collaborate with,” he said.
Dr Nagy’s work has been picked up by bloggers and more information about his research can be found on his website.
Dr Nagy is also a Royal Society Newton International Fellow at the Oxford Navigation Group, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford.