Dog Choice Reflects Your Personality, Study Says

April 20, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Toy dog owners are more agreeable, conscientious, and open to new experiences, according to research from Bath Spa University. (Tanakawho/Wikimedia Commons)

The British are a nation of dog lovers, but now new research has shown the breed of dog you choose to own could reflect certain personality traits.

In the study, conducted in collaboration with the Kennel Club and OnePoll, 1,000 dog-owners filled in an online questionnaire to assess aspects of their personality including aggressiveness, emotional stability, and agreeableness.

Jo Fearon and Dr Lance Workman of Bath Spa University presented the results on Friday, April 20, at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in London.

Dogs were grouped into seven breed types: gundogs (e.g. golden retriever), hound dogs (e.g. greyhound), pastoral (e.g. German shepherd), terrier (e.g. Staffordshire bull), toy (e.g. chihuahua), utility (e.g. bulldog), and working (e.g. doberman).

After analysing the results of the survey, the researchers found certain breed types corresponded with certain personality traits in their owners. Pastoral and utility breed dog owners were more extroverted, while those who owned gundogs or toy dogs were more agreeable. Owners of hound dogs were more emotionally stable and toy dog owners were more open to new experiences.

“This study indicates that we might be able to make predictions about someone’s personality based on the breed of dog that they choose to own. It seems that likely that personality types are subconsciously drawn to certain breeds,” said Workman in a press release.

Workman said the findings of the research could help people decide which dogs to own.

“The differences in personality factors found between owners of different breeds might arguably be related to the lifestyle of the owner,” he said.

“For example, more extroverted individuals might be better suited to the pastoral breeds such as German shepherd or border collie, whereas those who are particularly emotionally stable might be suited to ownership of hound dogs such as a beagle or greyhound.”