Risk factors for canine tail chasing behaviour in Japan

Vet J. 2012 Jun;192(3):445-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2011.09.004. Epub 2011 Oct 10.


The aim of this study was to investigate the risk factors for tail chasing behaviour that occurs when a dog spins in tight circles to chase its tail, sometimes biting it. The behaviour is a sign of canine compulsive disorder (CD). A questionnaire about tail chasing behaviour and general information about the animals was used to collect data on seven breeds of pet dogs. The data were gathered at a dog event and at veterinary practices. To determine which variables were associated with tail chasing behaviour, stepwise multiple regression analyses were performed. Regardless of cohort, 'breed' and 'source of acquisition' were significantly associated with tail chasing behaviour. Using a chi-square test, the association between 'source of acquisition' and the behaviour was examined separately in two breeds (Shiba inu and Dachshund) that had the largest number of individuals chasing their tails accompanied by biting and/or growling at them. This factor showed a significant and consistent association across the two breeds. With respect to the risk factors of 'breed' and 'source of acquisition', high percentages of Shiba inu and dogs originating from pet stores were included in the group chasing their tails with biting and/or growling. The results suggest that distinct risk factors exist for tail chasing behaviour and such factors appear to be regulated by both genetics and the environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Compulsive Behavior
  • Data Collection
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dog Diseases / genetics
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Stereotyped Behavior