Country dogs are happier, study finds

Country dogs are happier than their urban relatives, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Helsinki and published in Scientific Reports. The scientists looked into fearfulness (reactivity to us, the simple folks) and the factors that can have a lasting impact on this trait among dogs.

The study involved 13700 dogs aged between 2 months to 17 years old that exhibited fearfulness caused by a variety of reasons, from breeding, genetics and size to  daily activity levels, demographic and environmental elements.

Whilst many factors have already been noted previously it was the living environment that caught particular attention as yet another cause that may have an impact on reactivity.

Even through more research will be needed, it looks like the country dogs are happier and more content when compared to their city counterparts. The researches believe that this relation is not simply related to the dog’s access to nature, but may also be affected by our own stress levels (which dogs can smell and mirror) as well as density, hectic lifestyle and noises of the urban areas, amount of exercise and interactions between the pooches and their owners, and diet.

So if your spaniel is often on edge, consider taking him to the countryside as often as you can, or better still, make a big move like we did here. Admittedly, we relocated for various reasons, but one of them was definitely to make Cooper live a better and happier life. In our case, it made a big difference. That’s why this study resonated with me so much.

And I am very curious what you think about it, especially if you also escaped to the country for the love of dogs and in search of contentment. Or, perhaps, had to do the opposite and give up on rural pleasures and settle in a city instead.


Photo credit: me and the boys photographed by Pink Feet Photography