A character test for dogs is a test in which a veterinarian or other trained professional checks the behavior and character of an animal. According to the law, both dangerous dog breeds – the so-called “list dogs” – and problem dogs must undergo a character test. Although it is a standardized examination, the specific contents of the examination may differ slightly depending on the expert.
- A character test for dogs is used to examine the behavior of an animal to find out whether it poses a threat.
- Each federal state regulates which dogs have to take part in such a test with a specially created dog ordinance including a breed list.
- In addition to the list dogs, there is often an obligation for aggression dogs to take part in a character test.
- If a dog fails the behavior test, the responsible veterinarian decides on possible sanctions.
What is a character test?
A character test is an examination that is intended to determine a dog’s potential danger. With the help of such a test, trained experts check on the one hand general dog behavior and on the other hand behavior in everyday stress-related situations. The federal states themselves determine which animals have to complete a character test. Dog owners can find detailed information on this in the dog ordinance or the dog law of the respective country.
When is a character test necessary for the dog?
Often not only the animals that are on the fighting dog list have to pass a behavior test, but also so-called aggression dogs. In the case of a list dog , the legislator basically assumes that the animal is dangerous because of its breed, i.e. genetically determined. In such cases, experts check in particular whether there are any signs of the assumed breed-specific aggressiveness. In some federal states, owners of such an animal are obliged to have a character test carried out every two years. This enables the authorities to track the development of an animal. Depending on the region, a passed test can either legitimize the keeping of the dog or even exempt the owner from the special requirements that are required for Attack dogs apply.
So-called aggression dogs are not necessarily on a breed list. They are four-legged friends who have shown aggressive behavior problems in the past, which led to a complaint. Such a dangerous dog must also appear for the test so that the expert can assess whether the animal shows aggressive behavior that is typical of the species.
Who is doing the character test?
Since the character test for dogs is the responsibility of the federal states, it differs from region to region who is responsible for carrying out a character test. Depending on where they live, dog owners can contact one of the following offices:
- Public order office
- Veterinary office
If a doctor wants to carry out a character test, he must have in-depth knowledge of all aspects of dog behavior and prove this through successful further training. In addition, the vet needs practical experience in everyday handling of the four-legged friends. In addition, a veterinarian should be alert to possible diseases of the animal that could have an impact on behavior.
From what age can dogs take the character test?
Experts recommend not registering dogs for the behavior test until they are around 15 months old . In addition, there are also different country regulations here . In some federal states, for example, it is possible to bring dogs for examination at the age of 6 months. In other regions, owners can only register the animal for the test when the four-legged friend is at least 12 or 15 months old.
Course of the character test
The behavior test procedure also varies from state to state. In some cases there are even differences between individual experts. The test usually consists of two parts – interviewing the owner and the actual examination. It is usually carried out at the keeper’s place of residence. In general, the examiners test how the dog reacts in different situations. These are, on the one hand, everyday scenarios and, on the other hand, situations in which the expert consciously provokes the dog. As a rule, the expert examines the following behaviors:
- Obedience, such as executing certain commands
- The dog’s contact with the environment, for example stressful situations such as a honking car or a crying baby in a stroller
- Contact of the dog with people, for example contact with a jogger
- Contact of the dog with other dogs, for example a confrontation with a same-sex dog behind a fence
The dog only receives a negative rating in the event of an aggressively aggressive reaction. An example of this would be an attempt by the animal to bite. After a successfully completed test, the owner of the animal receives a declaration of no objection (negative report). This evidence confirms that the dog does not show any increased aggressiveness. However, even a positive report can be associated with various conditions.
How expensive is the behavior test?
Since the specific provisions depend on the respective federal state, there are large differences in the costs. The prerequisite for participating in a character test is often a passed certificate of competence. This can cost between 50 and 200 euros. For the actual test, dog owners have to budget around 100 to 300 euros.
What happens if the dog fails the character test?
If the examiner finds abnormalities in the behavior of the animal, the sanctions can vary. The responsible official veterinarian can, for example, order education and training measures or a leash and muzzle obligation. The vet may even confiscate the dog.