Dr. James A. Serpell


Dr. James A Serpell, PhD is the Marie A. Moore Professor of Animal Ethics & Welfare at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine, where he also directs the Center for the Interaction of Animals & Society (CIAS).

He received his bachelor’s degree in Zoology from University College London in 1974, and his PhD in Animal Behavior from the University of Liverpool in 1980.

In 1985 he established the Companion Animal Research Group at the University of Cambridge before moving in 1993 to his current position at the University of Pennsylvania where he lectures on veterinary ethics, applied animal behavior and welfare, and human-animal interactions. His research focuses on the behavior and welfare of dogs and cats, the development of human attitudes to animals, and the history and impact of human-animal relationships.

In addition to publishing more than 100 articles and book chapters on these and related topics, he is the author, editor or co-editor of several books including Animals & Human Society: Changing Perspectives (1994), The Domestic Dog: Its Evolution, Behavior & Interactions with People (1995), In the Company of Animals (1996), and Companion Animals & Us (2000).

To facilitate his research, Dr Serpell and associates developed a survey instrument designed to provide dog owners and professionals with standardized evaluations of canine temperament and behavior. The survey is currently the only behavioral assessment instrument of its kind to be extensively tested for reliability and validity on large samples of dogs of many breeds.

Dr. Serpell has also featured in numerous TV and radio shows including the PBS specials, Dogs and More Dogs (NOVA) and Dogs that Changed the World (NATURE), and the BBC’s Pedigree Dogs Exposed.