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Stress and worries make the dogs' hair (or rather the hair) whiten. Those defined as more anxious and impulsive by their masters show an early appearance of white hair on the face. To say it is an article published in the December issue of Applied Animal Behavior Science.

Camille King, veterinarian and ethologist from Denver, Colorado, asked 400 dog owners to evaluate, in a questionnaire, the impulsivity and anxiety predisposition of their four-legged cronies, all aged between 1 and 4 years (older dogs could simply turn gray for reasons of age).

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Behavior. To estimate animal anxiety levels they were asked if they tended to crouch at the sight of a stranger, if they had destructive habits when left at home alone or if they lost hair during visits to the vet. For impulsiveness, ease in calming animals, their ability to concentrate and hyperactivity were evaluated even after physical exercise.

The portrait of fear. A separate group of volunteers then looked at the pictures of the dogs and judged their level of gray hair on a scale from zero (not at all grizzled) to three (completely graying). The dogs most susceptible to loud noises or more frightened by the sight of other animals or people were also the most gray. Females tend to whiten more than males, while size and health conditions are not decisive factors.

Glance. Previous studies have shown that stress causes mice to age and whiten early. The visual evaluation of the color of the hair of the animals (especially of the youngest) could be useful to those who work with dogs to get an initial idea of ‚Äč‚Äčtheir psychological well-being.