Canine hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention share similar demographic risk factors and behavioural comorbidities with human ADHD

Transl Psychiatry. 2021 Oct 1;11(1):501. doi: 10.1038/s41398-021-01626-x.


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder impairing the quality of life of the affected individuals. The domestic dog can spontaneously manifest high hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention which are components of human ADHD. Therefore, a better understanding of demographic, environmental and behavioural factors influencing canine hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention could benefit both humans and dogs. We collected comprehensive behavioural survey data from over 11,000 Finnish pet dogs and quantified their level of hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention. We performed generalised linear model analyses to identify factors associated with these behavioural traits. Our results indicated that high levels of hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention were more common in dogs that are young, male and spend more time alone at home. Additionally, we showed several breed differences suggesting a substantial genetic basis for these traits. Furthermore, hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention had strong comorbidities with compulsive behaviour, aggressiveness and fearfulness. Multiple of these associations have also been identified in humans, strengthening the role of the dog as an animal model for ADHD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / epidemiology
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors