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Dogs mirror stress levels of their owners, study finds
The study found that owners with high stress levels have dogs with high stress levels.
Researchers assess how dogs’ cortisol levels are influenced by their owners

Dogs mirror the stress levels of their owners, according to a study led by Linköping University in Sweden.

In the study, researchers assessed how stress levels in dogs are influenced by the people they live with. They found that owners with high stress levels have dogs with high stress levels, while owners with low levels of stress also have dogs with low levels. The results of the study are published in the journal Scientific Reports.

In the study, researchers examined 33 Shetland sheepdogs and 25 border collies, all of which were owned by females. The dogs and their owners gave hair samples on two separate occasions, once during the winter and once during the summer.

Owing to the fact that exercise can increase stress levels, the researchers also wanted to compare companion dogs with those that competed in agility or obedience. They, therefore, recorded the physical activity levels of 44 of the dogs for a week, using a remote cloud-based collar.

Previous research showed that short-term cortisol levels in saliva increase both in the dog and its owner when they compete together. In this study, scientists found that physical exercise in dogs did not affect the long-term cortisol in their hair.

Conversely, the stress level of dogs taking part in obedience and agility appeared to be synchronised more strongly with that of the owner. The researchers believe this could be linked to a greater degree of interaction between dog and owner when they train and compete together.

The researchers also assessed the personalities of the dogs and their owners through surveys to see if stress levels are linked to personality traits.

“Surprisingly enough, we found no major effect on the dog’s personality on long-term stress,” explained senior lecturer and principal investigator for the study, Lina Roth. “The personality of the owner, on the other hand, had a strong effect. This has led us to suggest that the dog mirrors its owner’s stress.”

Researchers say more studies are needed before they can make any conclusions about the cause of the correlation.

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Kennel Club appoints new chief executive

News Story 1
 The Kennel Club has announced the appointment of Mark Beazley, who was previously Cats Protection's director of operations, as chief executive. Mark replaces Rosemary Smart, who stepped down from the role in April after 18 years.

Mark has held several senior strategic and executive roles, including executive director at Dogs Trust Ireland and chair of the Companion Animal Working Group at Eurogroup for Animals. He was also heavily involved in the establishment of the Eu Cat and Dog Alliance.

Mark will take up his new role in October. 

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International Cat Care appoints new head of veterinary division

International Cat Care (ICC) has announced the appointment of Nathalie Dowgray as head of the charity's veterinary division.

Nathalie, who is an RCVS advanced practitioner in feline medicine, will lead the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) and a play key role in advancing knowledge and research in feline medicine.

Claire Bessant, iCatCare's chief executive said: "We're absolutely delighted to be welcoming Nathalie to the charity. She brings a depth and breadth of feline expertise and understanding which fits perfectly with the charity's work and development, and her enthusiasm for cats is infectious."