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What your dog says about your personality

Apr 23rd, 2012
Staff writer / LifeApps Media

Dog and your personalityThe dog you select for a pet may say something about the type of person you are, according to new research.

While psychologists probably won't do away with traditional personality measures and tests, a new study indicates that people may choose a breed of dog that meshes with their personalities.

British researchers used a traditional questionnaire that assesses personality traits to survey 1,000 dog owners. The study participants provided information on what breed of dog they owned. The dogs were divided into seven major types:

Gundogs (such as golden retriever)
Hound dogs (such as greyhound)
Pastoral  (such as German shepherd)
Terrier (such as  Staffordshire bull)
Toy (such as chihuahua)
Utility (such as bulldog)
Working (such as doberman).

The researchers' analysis showed some patterns between breed groups and owners' personalities. For example, owners of pastoral and utility dogs were more extroverted. Owners of gundogs and toy dogs had more agreeable personality types. Owners of utility, toy and gundogs were more conscientious. Owners of hound dogs were more emotionally stable and owners of toy dogs 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," said a co-author of the study, Lance Workman, of Bath Spa University in Bath, U.K. "It seems likely that personality types are subconsciously drawn to certain breeds."

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

The study was presented last week at the British Psychological Society annual conference in London.