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Can your personality pick your dog breed?

October 22, 2012 31 comments

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,  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?

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