Home > Animal Rescue, Dog Breed Information, Fun Stuff, Pet Adoption, Pet News > Can your personality pick your dog breed?

Can your personality pick your dog breed?

I love personality tests and questionnaires that give you some insight into yourself. When I volunteered at our local shelter, we introduced the Meet Your Match program to help improve dog retention numbers for adopted dogs and cats. I took the short questionnaire and was surprised to find out that I prefer “Green” dogs. I was also surprised to learn that I was not all that common amongst the group of volunteers I worked with every day. Most of my friends preferred the Orange or Purple dogs. It sure gave me insight into myself and the dogs I preferred. I’m not sure I knew that I liked the really busy and active dogs as much as I did. Now? I totally recognize it. I gravitate towards the busy ones the most.

Maybe that’s why I was so interested in this story when I saw it. “What Your Dog’s Breed Says About You” highlights a new study on the correlation between personality and dog breed preferences. It seems pretty similar to Meet Your Match, but reveals new information that may help with pet adoption in the future.

The researchers wanted to see how personality traits would influence real-world behavior and preferences.What they found out was interesting.

“We go for dogs that are a bit like us, just as we go for a romantic partner who is a bit like us,” study researcher Lance Workman, a psychologist at Bath Spa University in the United Kingdom, told LiveScience.

Here’s a quick highlight of what was shared in the article:

They researchers asked 1000 purebreed dog owners to take an online survey that measured these personality traits:

  • openness
  • conscientiousness
  • extroversion
  • agreeableness
  • neuroticism.

The researchers also split the dog breeds into categories using the seven Kennel Club breed groups:

  • Gun dogs (e.g., Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, English Setter, Brittany Spaniel, Weimaraner, etc.))
  • Hound dogs (e.g., Greyhound, Afghan, Bloodhound, Saluki, Basenji, Borzoi, Dachshund, etc.)
  • Pastoral breeds (e.g., German shepherd, Collis, Anatolian Shepherd, Shetland Sheepdog, Border Collie, etc.)
  • Terriers (e.g., Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Airedale Terrier, Norfolk Terrier, Soft-coated Wheaton Terrier, etc.)
  • Toy breeds (e.g., Chihuahua, Bichon Frise, King Charles Spaniel, Papillon, Havanese, etc.)
  • Utility breeds (includes Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Poodle, Schnauzer, etc.)
  • Working breeds (e.g., Doberman,Β  Boxer, Newfoundland, Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Dane, Mastiff, etc.)

They found that there were some correlations between personality types and dog breed preferences.

  • Extroverts were more likely to own pastoral or utility breeds
  • Owners of gun dogs and toy dogs were most agreeable.
  • Hound owners tend to be the most emotionally stable people.
  • Toy dog owners were the most open and imaginative.

The researchers presented their results to the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in London. Their hope is that this new information will help people pick the right breed the first time and lessen the chances that a dog ends up in an animal shelter.

What do you think? If you could identify which dog breed, or mix of dog breeds, best fits your personality would you want to know? Would you use it to help you select your next dog?

  1. October 22, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    What fun. I can’t wait to read the link you referred to.

    For myself, choosing Honey was more an aspiration than a description of my personality. My strong leanings are toward German Shepherds and their mixes which I think of as intelligent, hard-working, loyal, and dedicated.

    I got Honey because I knew she’d be more suited toward the volunteer work I wanted to do. But I was also hoping her friendliness would help me nurture that in myself.

    It was hard to be outgoing toward strangers when I had a protective, one-woman dog on the end of my leash.

    The other thing I wonder is the role appearance plays in our choices. As I’ve learned more about dogs, I’ve learned to find the beauty in all kinds of breeds. But my strongest leanings are toward dogs with thick, double coats.

    I think you’ll get a lot of interesting comments on this post. Can’t wait to see what everyone else has to say.

    • Mel
      October 22, 2012 at 10:30 PM

      How interesting Pamela. I never knew you liked GSDs and the mixes like them. It makes sense that Honey would be a good choice for a service dog. I have always wanted to do the same, but all my dogs would be too fearful to do that kind of work. Honey is perfect for it – especially now that she passed her God Citizen test!

      I think appearance plays a lot into my selections. I see sad eyes, a cowering body pose or fear and I want to show them what the world can be when they have love and patience. Does that match my personality? I wonder.

      You’re right, I got a lot of interesting responses!

  2. Sam
    October 22, 2012 at 8:23 AM

    I always wonder about those quizzes – do we answer a certain way because we think we will get the results we want? I.E. – I love retrievers, do I base my answers on what I think will point towards them, maybe without thinking of it? Regardless of what the answer would be, I still would only adopt a retriever.


    • Mel
      October 22, 2012 at 10:10 PM

      It’s a great point Sam. I think the personality quiz was totally a personality assessment and then matched up to the breed dogs owned by these same people and assessed for correlations. The Meet Your Match program asks questions about lifestyle and what you need a dog to be (e.g., good with kids) and you don’t know if you are an orange, purple or green until a counselor meets with you and tallies up your results.. But, I totally agree with you on many of the online quizzes. I think I sometimes gravitate towards certain answers too.

  3. October 22, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    I like this but where are Shelties? They are herding dogs …I didn’t see any personality traits listed for those.

    • October 22, 2012 at 7:13 PM

      Caren, check under the Extroverted Pups picture. Shelties are part of the pastoral group (the United Kingdom herding group).

      • Mel
        October 22, 2012 at 9:48 PM

        Thanks Dawn – I wanted to say the same thing, but couldn’t access from work. I have a Sheltie so I looked for that right away. LOL!

    • Mel
      October 22, 2012 at 10:07 PM

      They are in the pastoral category. It was the first breed I looked up. Can’t imagine why. πŸ™‚

  4. October 22, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    What does my crazy, poop-eating dog say about me? LOL I wish more shelters/rescues/breeders used this kind of testing. I just heard of an older couple who went out and bought a border collie because they thought the dog was cute. They had no idea the personality and energy this dog had.

    Besides educating people about where pet store puppies come from, I think it’s important to suggest they educate themselves about dog breeds before bringing a dog into their home.

    In my case Sampson (Lab/Golden mix) is an adaptable dog. When we are having a ‘chillax’ day he’s perfectly content to lie next to you and snuggle, but when we say let’s go for a hike, he’s up and raring to go.

    Switch to Delilah who REQUIRES daily exercise, she’s just that “pure Labrador OMG what are we doing next” kind of dog. In retrospect I’m glad for this, because it keeps me from being a lump. πŸ˜‰

    • Mel
      October 22, 2012 at 10:06 PM

      Ha! I don’t know Jodi, but I hope it doesn’t mean what I think it could mean. Yikes!

      How sad to hear about the older couple and the BC. OMG. I once had a woman ask if I could walk her dog. She was confined to her house and she had an Aussie with major issues. Can you imagine why?

      I laughed when I read your comment on Delilah. Daisy is not a typical Lab, so my pure Labrador would have to be Jasper. πŸ™‚

  5. Alicia x
    October 22, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    The dog that is most like me is an Alaskan Malamute! If you like go to this website…

    • Mel
      October 22, 2012 at 10:03 PM

      Does that mean you have one Alicia? πŸ™‚

  6. October 22, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Programs like these are interesting for sure, but I am always cautious about labeling people based on how they answer a quiz. Some people might think they know what they want and answer the questions accordingly but the reality is very different. If I had filled out a quiz before adopting my dog, I am sure the shelter would have steered me far away from taking her home. She was nothing like the dog I thought I was suited for. But it turns out, I was wrong!

    Of course, I do think we need to be realistic about what we can handle. I know I don’t want a dog that will have a lot of grooming needs. Even a sheltie probably requires more brushing than I am inclined to take on. While I love how they look I think sticking with shorter haired dogs is probably better for me. I like a dog who can get dirty and brush it off without too much fuss.

    Thanks for sharing the links!

    • Mel
      October 22, 2012 at 10:03 PM

      It’s a great point Kristine. I think what I liked about the Meet Your Math program is that it never told you up front what your match was, but I agree. I don’t know that I would have ended up with the dogs I have with it. Funny enough, Jasper ended up back with me because they couldn’t assess him for the Meet Your Match program because he wouldn’t eat in front of them! He’s so like Daisy – he prefers to eat without anyone watching.

      I am so glad you ended up with Shiva. I wonder if we ever would have met if not for her? (BTW – I groom Jasper and Cupcake about 1-2 times a week. I completely understand!)

  7. Jan
    October 22, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    If I’m not a Poodle person, the quiz has to be rigged. I’m off to see…

    • Mel
      October 22, 2012 at 10:31 PM

      LOL Jan! I think you MUST be a poodle person!

  8. To Shea
    October 22, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Hi Mel, That a Great idea!!! Being able to match a dog type to a prospective adoptee is wonderful idea. But that is just to get a genaral idea what the test thinks what would be a good match. Sometimes it works and sometimes not….Hey…You never know….LOL (Lotto)
    We would love to take that test if you have that link for us.
    Alex and Penny

  9. October 22, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    There is another one called Canine Colors that follows a similar process. I’m always a little skeptical, but I do think being able to say what you WANT or expect in a dog is important to the adoption process. I prefer dogs that are a bit edgy, for example, http://championofmyheart.com/2010/06/23/canine-colors-and-dog-matching/

    • Mel
      October 22, 2012 at 9:52 PM

      How interesting Roxanne. I had not heard about Canine Colors. We adopted the Meet Your Match program about a year or two before our shelter closed down. It was actually quite successful. What I liked is that you didn’t know what you were until after you completed the questionnaire. I had no idea I was a green. It asks about lifestyle and energy level, etc. More broad than just dog’s personality and activity level.

      How funny you like the edgy dogs. I am attracted to the ones who need to be built up – lack of socialization, fearful, etc. Draw at my heart strings.

  10. October 22, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Cool thanks for the links!

    • Mel
      October 22, 2012 at 9:48 PM

      Your welcome!

  11. October 22, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Interesting, but let’s break this down. Let’s say I am an extrovert. I would be equally happy with a GSD and/or a Lhasa? Really. Wonder what the reasoning is. You never know, could be sound. I just never would have imagined, which is the point of studies…

  12. October 22, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    I refuse to be defined! I like multiple breeds from different groups and have owned a variety. Right now my house includes Jack Russells and a Springer Spaniel. I’ve had a dachshund, a shepherd mix, a lab and a border collie mix in the past and who knows what dogs will share my life in the future.

    • Mel
      October 22, 2012 at 9:47 PM

      You go girl! Holy cow! I think you might fit into the “Open” category. That is a lot of different breeds! πŸ™‚

    • October 25, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      Hee hee hee, do multiple personality issues run in your family?

  13. October 22, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Emotionally stable! Yeah, that’s me! I’m not sure if my husband, the extrovert, agrees, but it seems right to me! πŸ™‚

    • Mel
      October 22, 2012 at 9:46 PM

      I think you are definitely stable Carrie! Tell the extrovert I said so! πŸ™‚

  14. October 22, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    I’d like to think I’m Free Spirit Green but the truth is, I’m probably more Couch Potato Purple. I didn’t read the article, only your excerpt and this is the line I’m puzzling over…”Toy dog owners were the most open and imaginative.”

    • Mel
      October 22, 2012 at 9:45 PM

      They actually delved into that by saying “It breaks down the stereotype that owners of toy dogs are airheads, basically,” Workman said.
      Owners of toy dogs… score high on a personality trait called openness, a measure of how intellectually curious, open to new experiences and appreciative of arts and culture a person is.

      Interesting no?
      I thought I liked the couch potato dogs and realized I prefer independent dogs much more. They keep me on my toes.

  15. October 24, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Ohhhhh yeah….we have six wiener dogs and life doesn’t get more hectic than this…I would say I’m the more emotionally stable parent(LOL) but my husband is definitely the pack leader due to his midwest farm upbringing. My blog mylifewithwieners reveals in excruciating detail and general hilarity what it is really like to live with a pack of 6 wienerdogs, all with superior intellects, at least when it comes to scrounging food.

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