Social personality in sheep: Can social strategies predict individual differences in cognitive abilities, morphology features, and reproductive success?
Social personality can be key factor in evolution because of intraindividual consistency, heritable basis, and linkage with fitness. The aim of this study was to identify the existence of sheep personality profiles based on the use of social strategies and its associations on morphological, cognitive, and reproductive success. Fifty adult ewes, housed indoor, were studied in terms of social and maintenance behavior, stress response, morphological variables, and productive performance. The cognitive abilities of the ewes were also analyzed. A factor analysis was used to summarize the data of 7 social behavioral variables. Agonistic and nonagonistic behaviors were grouped in classes. The factors were extracted using principal components. A hierarchical cluster analysis was performed to identify clusters or profiles. The results demonstrated the existence of 4 personalities profiles (avoider, affiliative, aggressive, and pragmatic), determined by social behavior and the index of success. The study addresses the multidimensionality of personality, showing that sheep personality comprises several social and nonsocial dimensions. The data confirm that the use of social strategies and the index of success are a useful tool to predict individual differences or personalities in a flock.