Our golden retrievers, Fidelio (the one born with Spina Bifida and now being treated for a Gingival Fibrosarcoma), Rodolfo and Casey are all related. Fidelio and Casey are brothers from the same litter (wombmates?), while Rodolfo was born a year later to the same mother, making him their half-brother.
8 years ago when we went to get Fidelio, our neighbor CC had just euthanized his ancient dog, and was lonely. He came along with us, fell in love with Casey, and adopted him. Living nearby, Casey would be brought over to romp with our dogs during playtime, and was well-socialized with other animals. When CC died in 2014 at the ripe old age of 86, Casey came to live with us.
The difference in personality between Casey and his bothers is quite evident. He doesn’t crawl into laps like his brothers, and while they relish being hugged and cuddled, he sits there looking rather embarrassed. He also won’t come up on a bed when invited, and when placed there can’t get off soon enough. His brothers, meanwhile, LOVE sharing the bed with their people.
Part of it may be from the fact that he was left “intact”. CC was an old-school man, horrified by the idea of castration. As a result, Casey was a world-champion leg humper when we got him. Needless to say, we remedied that quickly enough.
But the fact remains that we don’t see much of the family traits in Casey, and attribute it to his upbringing in a different environment. He’s probably the best proof of Nurture trumping Nature that we’ve seen.