Course code HFX225

HFX225 Dogs: Breeding, Nutrition and Ethology

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2022 - 2023 .

Course responsible: Ruth Catriona Margaret Newberry
Teachers: Peer Berg, Dag Inge Våge, Odd Vangen, Øystein Ahlstrøm
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: Faculty of Biosciences
Teaching language: NO
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Minimum 8 students.
Teaching exam periods:

Autumn from 2021. 

Not given spring of 2021. 

Course frequency: Anually
First time: Study year 2019-2020
Preferential right:
Course contents:
This interdisciplinary course on dog breeding, nutrition and ethology is focused on scientific knowledge about dog biology and applications to the keeping of dogs for various purposes (e.g. companion animals, working dogs, show dogs, sports dogs, therapy dogs). The course covers factors affecting the use, behaviour, health and welfare of dogs, and the quality of their relationship with people. It includes breeding and selection, the housing environment, feeding, and training methods. Some comparisons are made with the domestic cat, another carnivore species living closely with humans. The course provides important basic knowledge for dog and cat owners, breeders and people working in the pet industry.
Learning outcome:
Students will have the in-depth knowledge to (1) describe dog behavioural development, social behaviour, communication and predatory behaviour, as well as changes in behaviour due to domestication; (2) explain the nutritional needs of dogs according to age and physical activity, and describe the nutritional content of feedstuffs and feed products for dogs; and (3) discuss how genes affect dog traits, and the impact of breeding within small dog populations. Students will also develop competence to (4) evaluate problems, identify solutions and communicate recommendations about responsible dog breeding decisions, proper feeding and prevention of behaviour problems so that dogs can have good health and welfare, and a good relationship with people.
Learning activities:

The course includes lectures, exercises, demonstrations, excursions and colloquia. Guest lecturers will contribute with lectures on specific topics.

Together with the teachers, students will select topics for obligatory assignments that deepen and integrate knowledge about dogs. These assignments involve finding and critically evaluating solutions to problems related to the keeping of dogs, and will be completed singly or in groups of 2-3 students. Reports will be presented in colloquia and submitted as written reports.

Teaching support:
Teachers are available by email to answer questions about the course material. Appointments are made by email when needed. Students will have an advisor for each obligatory assignment. Course materials will be found in Canvas.

Serpell J. 2017. The Domestic Dog: Its Evolution, Behavior and Interactions with People. 2nd Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK. ISBN: 978-1107699342 (paperback) [Hardback, 2017; e-book, 2016]. Required reading: pages 22-66, 93-117, 133-299, 319-341 (total 260 pages).


Case LP, Daristotle L, Hayek MG, Raasch MF. 2011. Canine and Feline Nutrition: A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals. Third edition. Mosby Elsevier, Maryland Heights, Missouri, USA. ISBN: 978-0323066198 (paperback) [e-book, 2010]. 562 pages (parts of book)


Lecture material from all lectures will be posted in Canvas.

Recommended prerequisites:
HFX132 or equivalents.
Mandatory activity:
Students are expected to present their semester report in a colloquium and to participate in colloquia and course excursions.
70% written exam (3 hours, graded A-F), 30% semester paper (graded A-F).
Nominal workload:
250 hours.
Reduction of credits:
5 ECTS against:
  • HFX220
  • HFX221
  • HFX121
  • HET320
  • HFA226
Type of course:
Lectures 4 hours per week. Excursions require extra time.
The course is taught partly in Norwegian and partly in English.
The course sensor approves exam questions and grades the written exams. 
Allowed examination aids: A1 No calculator, no other aids
Examination details: Combined assessment: Letter grades