Rudy Professor of Biology Sue Carter and colleagues have found that levels of the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin influence canine social behaviors and aggression. Significantly higher levels of oxytocin were found in the blood in service dogs, bred for their placid temperament, than in the average canine. Dogs that were more aggressive towards other dogs, however, had more vasopressin.
Although Carter has been studying these hormones for decades, this is the first study that has examined vasopressin and aggression in dogs. She notes that it opens up novel treatment opportunities.
Results of the study can be found in the Frontiers in Psychology article "Endogenous oxytocin, vasopressin, and aggression in domestic dogs."