Dogs 'reflect owner's personality'
Friday 20 April 2012
Dog owners are drawn to breeds that reflect their personalities, psychologists say.
Outgoing extroverts are mostly likely to be seen walking a German shepherd, collie or bulldog.
Owners of greyhounds and beagles tend to be emotionally stable, while fans of "toy" breeds such as the Chihuahua or Pekingese appear to embrace change.
The Kennel Club assisted the research conducted by scientists at Bath Spa University.
Psychologists Dr Lance Workman and Jo Fearon asked 1,000 dog owners to complete an online questionnaire that assessed several personality traits. Participants also provided details of the kinds of dog they owned.
Breeds were split into seven groups: gundogs (eg golden retriever), hound dogs (eg greyhound; beagle), pastoral (eg German shepherd; border collie), terrier (eg Staffordshire bull), toy (eg Chihuahua), utility (eg bulldog) and working (eg Doberman).
The findings, presented at the British Psychological Society's annual conference in London, revealed links between owners' personality traits and the breed of dogs they preferred.
In particular, owners of pastoral and utility breeds were more extroverted, gundog and toy dog owners were more agreeable, and owners of utility, toy and gundogs were more conscientious.
Owners of hound dogs turned out to be more emotionally stable, while 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 likely that personality types are subconsciously drawn to certain breeds."
Associations between personality and dog breed may relate to owners' lifestyles, 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," said Dr Workman.
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