What influences the home range size of free-roaming domestic dogs?

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What influences the home range size of free-roaming domestic dogs? - PubMed - NCBI

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Epidemiol Infect. 2017 Feb 16:1-12. doi: 10.1017/S095026881700022X. [Epub ahead of print]

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Veterinary Public Health Institute, Vetsuisse Faculty,University of Bern,Switzerland.
Sydney School of Veterinary Science,The University of Sydney,Australia.


In many regions of the world domestic dogs are free roaming and live in close relationship with humans. These free-roaming domestic dogs (FRDD) can cause public health problems such as dog bites and transmission of infectious diseases. To effectively control diseases transmitted by FRDD, knowledge on the dogs' behaviour is required. To identify predictors of home range (HR) size, we collected global positioning system data from 135 FRDD living in eight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Northern Australia. The core HR size ranged from 0·17 to 2·33 ha and the extended HR size from 0·86 to 40·46 ha. Using a linear mixed effect model with a Restricted Maximum Likelihood approach, the dog's sex and reproductive status were identified as predictors of roaming. Non-castrated males had the largest HRs, followed by neutered females. Also, FRDDs were found to roam further during the pre- than the post-wet season. These findings have implications for infectious disease spread. Identification of risk groups for disease spread within a population allows for more targeted disease response and surveillance. Further investigation of predictors of roaming in other FRDD populations worldwide would increase the external validity of such studies.


Canine; REML mixed effect model; diseases spread; global positioning system; predictors

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