Temperament is inherited and IMO is just as important as any physical feature in a breed standard. Since temperament can be passed on genetically, I personally would not include an excessively shy or environmentally fearful dog in a breeding program, and I would absolutely never breed an aggressive dog.
There is a degree to which shyness and even aggression (i.e. an alpha personality dog that has never been properly trained) can be attributed to personality and environmental factors: lack of proper socialization, isolation, neglect, or abuse. If you stick a puppy in a crate, kennel or backyard for the first 6 months of its life with very little interaction with people, other dogs, places and experiences, then one can expect excessive shyness, nervousness, excitability, and fearfulness ... even fear-related aggression. I suspect a percentage of "bad termperaments" seen in the conformation ring could probably fall under this category and might not necessarily be attributed to inheritance.
Personality can be modified with training and conditioning; temperament is pretty fixed.
Posted on Jul 7, 2010, 3:32 PM from IP address 188.8.131.52