03.05.2012 change 03.05.2012

Scientists confirm: dog breed reflects owner's personality

PAP © 2011 / Grzegorz Michałowski PAP © 2011 / Grzegorz Michałowski

Dog breed of choice can reveal our traits, for example owners of hound dogs belonging to breeds of hounds are emotionally stable, and owners of toy breeds open to new ideas, researchers announced at the British Psychological Society conference in London.

These are the conclusions of Jo Fearon and Dr. Lance Workman of Bath Spa University in Bath (UK), reached after analysing the results of an online survey, in which thousands of dog owners completed an online questionnaire. It allowed to assess a number of personality traits such as extraversion, emotional stability and agreeability. Respondents also declared the breed of dog they owned.

Study authors split breeds into seven groups: gundogs (eg golden retriever), hound dogs (eg greyhound), pastoral (eg German shepherd), terrier (eg Staffordshire bull), toy (eg Chihuahua), utility (eg bulldog) and working (eg Doberman).

Analysis of the survey showed "interesting differences" between the two groups of chosen breeds in connection with the personality traits of owners, the authors found. In their view, the owners of pastoral and utility breeds turned out to be more extroverted; gundog and toy dog owners were more agreeable, and owners of utility, toy and gundogs were more conscientious and meticulous. A common trait among hound dog owners is emotional stability, and toy breeds - a relatively greater openness 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 likely that personality types are subconsciously drawn to certain breeds" - said Dr. Workman.

"Associations between personality and dog breed may relate to owners\' lifestyles. 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" - he added.

The study was conducted in collaboration with the Kennel Club and OnePoll.

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