Unfortunately cowardice is hereditary. It's a very big problem in our breed because of uneducated / irresponsible breeders. They bred dogs that should have never been bred and now there are a ton of AB bloodlines that are full of cowards. Also, genetics can be funny and weak temperament could pop up even after many generations of no issues. Therefore likely even good breeders who've been doing it long enough with special attention to this could end up producing a weak temperament pup, but it should be relatively rare and there are pretty obvious signs even at 8 weeks old. Temperament is arguably the earliest thing you can test on a small pup. 1. Observe each pup in a new environment - a new room, outside, etc. You want to see the pup be outgoing and curious. Not one that stays back and doesn't want to explore. 2. Loud noises - observe reaction to dropping your keychain behind the pup. Of course the pup will be surprised, but you want to see quick recovery and the pup going toward the keychain to figure out what it is instead of staying away from it out of fear/uncertainty. 3. Popping balloons is one of the great temperament tests - could be done at 8 weeks. Should be done with care, but easy to identify strong and weak temperament. There could be a thin line between testing and traumatizing if done out of nowhere. First start playing with the balloon on the floor and get the pup involved and interested, and then observe what the pup does once he pops the balloon. If the pup isn't really interested to begin with, you can pop the balloon yourself. The pup would naturally be surprised but should recover quickly and inspect the popped balloon remnants. Then rinse and repeat. Fear of sounds is probably the worst and a sign of the weakest temperament. It can really incapacitate a dog for life.