Research is an important part of Dogs Trust's work - it helps us ensure that our policies and practices are based in evidence, and we are doing the best we can for the dogs in our care. It also helps to inform the wider work that we do, such as offering advice to individuals, organisations and governments on topics relating to dog behaviour and welfare.


How do we identify good scientific evidence?

In some areas, our work is informed by existing evidence which we evaluate by conducting a comprehensive systematic search of peer-reviewed journals, academic literature and other written works. 

Dogs Trust staff also attend scientific conferences to ensure that we remain current, informed and aware of research developments within the field of by canine behaviour, welfare, epidemiology and veterinary science.


What if there is no evidence?

If the evidence that we need does not yet exist, we may set up a research study to investigate a specific question.  All the research we do is to benefit the welfare of dogs, and we never undertake or fund any studies which are invasive or which may cause harm or distress to any dog.

Dogs Trust’s in-house research team works with other Dogs Trust departments to design and undertake research. The findings of which may be used to:

- Improve the physical and mental wellbeing of dogs within our Rehoming Centres.

- Help address dog behaviour issues, by assisting with the development of effective training programs, carried out within our Rehoming Centres or Dog School.

- Identify key drivers behind the successful rehoming of dogs, in order to ensure dogs are best matched to the new owners.

- Provide support to dog owners, within the wider community, in order to help cultivate harmonious and enjoyable dog-owner relationships. 

- More effectively engage with the public, in order to promote responsible dog ownership and highlight the importance of dog welfare. 

- Inform our discussions with government and policy makers about the implications of their decisions on the welfare of dogs and their owners.


Further information

If you are interested in further information about research at Dogs Trust please contact the Research Team:

Some of our research findings

Dogs Trust is committed to conducting and funding research which enhances dog welfare - but we also want to make sure that the results of studies are accessible so they have maximum impact on dog welfare. Check out the section below to read one example of research funded recently by Dogs Trust. The aim of this study was to better understand the occurrence of repetitive behaviours (such a spinning and tail chasing) in dogs.

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Current projects: Generation Pup

We fund a number of research projects through the Canine Welfare & International grant schemes. Generation Pup is a study following dogs throughout their lives.

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Funding research

As well as providing practical solutions to canine welfare problems happening right now, we invest in securing better dog welfare for years to come, through the work of our Canine Welfare Grants Committee. We welcome grant applications from students , post-graduates and practicing vets and behaviourists for projects which will positively impact dog welfare, however we do not fund any research which requires a Home Office licence.

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Research into practice

The research we carry out at Dogs Trust is conducted to ensure that our policies and practices are based in evidence, and we are doing the best we can for the dogs in our care. Research also helps inform the wider work we do, for example ensuring that that give the best advice to members of the public, governments and other stakeholders about the behaviour and welfare of dogs. A great example of this is the work carried out by the Public Affairs team, who have used research on the use of different training methods used in dogs to lobby Parliament and the devolved assemblies to improve dog welfare.

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Research Ethics

When carrying out research studies, we must ensure that the welfare of the dogs and people involved is put first. Read on to find out how Dogs Trust makes sure the interests of research participants are protected.

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Current projects: Understanding the UK dog population

The UK Dog Population Project aims to better understand the size and characteristics of the UK dog population.

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