Dogs Trust calls for puppies to join groundbreaking dog welfare study

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Dogs Trust is celebrating a major milestone in welcoming its 9,000th dog to its Generation Pup study. The 9,000th dog to enrol in the study is a beautiful Golden Retriever pup Digby from the New Forest.

Generation Pup is believed to be the first longitudinal study of its kind to include all breeds/crossbreeds of dogs in the UK and Ireland. The study, founded in 2016, recruits puppies under 16-weeks-old and follows them throughout their lifetimes. By collecting information from each puppy; ranging from health, environment, behavioural experiences, the study aims to discover whether early life experiences, genetics and environmental factors influence the health, welfare and behaviour of dogs.

Digby’s owner Chris, expressed their excitement about being part of the study, stating, “It’s such a worthwhile survey, and hopefully, it will do a lot of good once the results are processed. I saw the advert for the Generation Pup study on social media, and as Digby was just the right age, I really wanted to participate as it seemed like a good opportunity to get involved with research to help dogs.

“Digby is now 18 weeks old and has settled into our home really well, and we can’t imagine life without him. He loves his walks in the New Forest, lots of games, training classes, and, of course, his treats!”

The study hopes to reach its target of recruiting 10,000 dogs by the end of 2024 and is urging owners to sign-up.

Dr Jane Murray, Deputy Head of Research, Welfare Projects & Grants, Dogs Trust said, “We are very proud to have welcomed our 9,000th puppy into the Generation Pup study. This incredible achievement could not have been done without the help of the committed owners and their wonderful dogs.

“Not only has Digby impacted the lives of his new family, he’s helping the future of dog welfare. We are so close to reaching our landmark goal of recruiting 10,000 puppies, and we are asking owners to sign up. The more puppies enrolled into this study, the more likely we are to have a better understanding of our canine friends.”

The study is open to all puppies under 16 weeks of age across the UK and Republic of Ireland. If dog owners choose to take part in the study, they can decide how involved they would like to be in the research.

The data from Generation Pup is often used in studies by Dogs Trust and partners to support understanding and improve dog welfare. In a recent study, experts explored the effects the COVID-19 lockdowns had on puppy socialisation.

Study lead Rachel Kinsman, Research Officer at Dogs Trust said, “Limited socialisation can contribute to the development of undesirable behaviours of dogs. We wanted to explore how the COVID-19 lockdowns might have affected puppies at different ages throughout this period.

“We found that lockdown had a smaller impact on socialisation experiences than expected, but the quantity and quality of these experiences may have been affected. Future research will explore whether these early-life experiences relate to adult behaviour as the dogs in the study grow older.”

To find out more about the Generation Pup study, please visit

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