What your choice of dog says about you

Apr 20 2012 11:32 AM

The breed of dog you own may reflect your personality.

That is the finding of a study by Jo Fearon and Dr Lance Workman of Bath Spa University presented today (20 April) at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference held at the Grand Connaught Rooms, London (18-20 April).

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

A thousand dog owners completed an online questionnaire that assessed several personality traits, such as extroversion, agreeableness and emotional stability. They also provided details of the breed of dog they own.

These breeds were then split 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)
•      Working (eg doberman).

Findings revealed some interesting variation between breed groups relating to owners’ personality features. In particular, owners of Pastoral and Utility breed groups were more extroverted; owners of Gundogs and Toy dogs more agreeable; owners of Utility, Toy and Gundogs more conscientious; owners of Hound dogs more emotionally stable, and owners of Toy dogs were more open to new experiences.

Dr Workman said: "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."

He also suggested that: "The differences in personality factors found between owners of different breeds might arguably be related to the lifestyle of the owner. 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."

Press release originally issued by the British Psychological Society.