study reveals dogs experience puberty symptoms
(Image credit: Getty)

A study has revealed that dogs go through puberty just like humans do.

According to researchers at Newcastle University adolescent dogs can have changes in their mood just like teenagers can be moody or unpredictable.

“Generally teenagers that have a less secure relationship with their parents are those that are more likely to show more conflict behaviour towards their parents,” said Dr Lucy Asher, co-author of the research at Newcastle University. “That’s the same finding that we have [between adolescent dogs and their carers].”

Dr Lucy said that, like in human teenagers, dogs who have a less secure bond with their parents may “play up” to test their owners.

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“Perhaps they are not misbehaving just because they are naughty, but it is just like in humans – the hormones are raging and there are things going on in the brain,” she continued.

“We know that there are hormonal changes and we know there is a big reorganisation of the brain that occurs around that time across mammals, so we are fairly confident that is something that is going on in dogs,” added Dr Lucy. However she said that until this study it was unclear how this age period related to canine behaviour.

Looking at behaviour of German shepherds, golden retrievers, labrador retrievers or crosses of the these breeds, Dr Asher said that the puberty transition occurs around six to nine years old.

study reveals dogs experience puberty symptoms

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, professor of psychology and cognitive neuroscience at the University of Cambridge backed up the study, adding, “In humans, adolescence is often associated with increased risk taking, peer influence and conflict with parents.

“This is probably due to multiple factors including hormonal changes, brain and cognitive development and changes in the social environment,” she continued.

MORE: Study reveals how dogs actually communicate with humans

“The [canine] research suggests certain behaviours that we associate with teenagers are not unique to humans.”

Like anyone needed another moody teenager in the house…

Aleesha Badkar
Aleesha Badkar

Aleesha is digital shopping writer at woman&home - so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a fun Rioja and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she became so obsessed with the royals that she followed breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.


Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a slick of lip balm and a good slathering of SPF, cannot live without an eyelash curler by her side and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).

But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines.

When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group. Oh and she makes the most of her Disney+ subscription by watching the Marvel films on repeat (definitely not just for Chris Evans...).

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