A study on matching dog breeds with people personalities
By Leslie Phelan
Please note: Get Leashed totally advocates for adopting and rescuing dogs of every age. This article focuses on puppies for reasons noted below. Thanks!
Do you think it’s true that certain types of people are naturally drawn to certain breeds of dog? I’m not talking about people who take in rescues, or those who are happy with whatever breed comes their way. I’m talking specifically about the people who were on a mission to get a particular type of dog, and no other breed would do.
Well, the British Psychological Society says, yes, the breed you choose can reflect your personality in many ways. Two researchers, Jo Fearon and Dr. Lance Workman of Bath Spa University, conducted a poll in collaboration with the Kennel Club of one thousand dog owners in an online questionnaire assessing personality traits. Questions pertaining to traits such as extroversion, agreeableness and emotional stability were posed, along with the space for participants to give details on the dogs they own and love.
Breeds were broken down into seven major groups, each group being assigned a certain personality trait that seemed to shine more commonly in the humans drawn to those breeds. The first group was the Gun dogs, which included spaniels, pointers and retrievers and the second was Toy dogs, like Chihuahuas, Yorkies, pugs and Pomeranians. Apparently both types are likely to be owned by people who are typically very agreeable and conscientious, with Toy dog owners being voted most likely to be open to trying new things. The third group represented the floppy-eared Hound dogs of the world, whose owners scored highest as far as emotional stability went, and the Pastoral and Utility breeds, such as shepherds, collies, corgis, and bulldogs, poodles and schnauzers, tended to be owned by the most extroverted participants.
Not to sound skeptical, but I think studies like this are a bit loose and fluffy as they could never be totally conclusive. There are just too many wildcards to factor in, like a person’s pet nostalgia that would have less to do with personality type, and more to do with childhood memories. I think studies like this, while potentially interesting and informative, mostly appeal to the narcissist inside us, who wants to hear that there is a special, unique, personality-geared reason why we make the choices that we do, when really there can be no way of knowing for sure why we like the things we like. I couldn’t find where the BPS says any deep and profound truths about people who prefer the Working breeds like boxers and Dobermans, but rest assured that Cesar Milan’s dog site says people who choose from this breed group tend to be energetic leaders who are determined but playful. See? The answers are as broad as that of the horoscope page in a tabloid.
But while studies like this can’t give absolutes, they can certainly help the dog-seekers of the world by creating a helpful guideline of suggestions and considerations to make when you are ready to choose a breed. They may not be able to tell you for sure who you are based upon your favorite style of dog, but they may be able to help you see your potential future with the breed you desire and assist you in finding out whether bringing one home would comfortably suit your aims and your lifestyle.