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Dog personality algorithm will improve work and home placement

Experts in canine behavior and artificial intelligence have made a groundbreaking advancement. The team has created an algorithm aimed at revolutionizing the evaluation of personality in working dogs.

This innovative approach seeks to assist dog training organizations in efficiently determining the suitability of dogs for roles in law enforcement and assistance for individuals with disabilities. 

Dog-human compatibility 

Additionally, this technology holds promise for enhancing dog-human compatibility in shelters, potentially reducing the rate of animals returned due to poor matches with their new homes.

This study, titled “An Artificial Intelligence Approach To Predicting Personality Types In Dogs” and published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, was led by researchers from the University of East London and the University of Pennsylvania, under the sponsorship of Dogvatar, a pioneering canine technology firm based in Miami, Florida. 

Canine personality traits 

Leveraging nearly 8,000 responses from the Canine Behavioral Assessment & Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ), the AI algorithm was trained to recognize and categorize canine personality traits. 

The C-BARQ, with its 100 questions, has been the benchmark for assessing potential working dogs for over two decades. However, the AI’s objective is to refine this process by accounting for the subjective nature of certain survey responses.

Study significance 

James Serpell, a professor of ethics and animal welfare emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and co-Principal Investigator of the study, highlighted the significance of addressing subjectivity in the C-BARQ responses. 

“C-BARQ is highly effective, but many of its questions are also subjective,” said Serpell. “By clustering data from thousands of surveys, we can adjust for outlying responses inherent to subjective survey questions in categories such as dog rivalry and stranger-directed fear.”

Personality profiles

The AI algorithm categorizes dog personalities into five distinct types: “excitable/attached,” “anxious/fearful,” “aloof/predatory,” “reactive/assertive,” and “calm/agreeable,” based on key behavioral attributes. This classification helps create a comprehensive personality profile for each dog, which can guide their training and placement.

“It’s rather remarkable – these clusters are very meaningful, very coherent,” Serpell remarked, emphasizing the algorithm’s accuracy in reflecting genuine canine personality traits.

Exciting breakthrough 

Dogvatar’s CEO, referred to humorously as the “Alpha Pack Leader” Piya Pettigrew, expressed enthusiasm about the project’s potential. 

“This has been a really exciting breakthrough for us,” Pettigrew said. “This algorithm could greatly improve efficiency in the working dog training and placement process, and could help reduce the number of companion dogs brought back to shelters for not being compatible. It’s a win for both dogs and the people they serve.”

The collaboration between Dogvatar and the research team signifies a significant step forward in the application of AI in animal behavior studies, promising enhancements in the selection and training of service dogs as well as in the adoption process in shelters.

More about dog personalities 

Dog personalities are as varied and complex as human personalities. Just like people, dogs have distinct characteristics that can define their behavior, preferences, and interactions with both humans and other animals. 

Influential factors

A dog’s personality can be influenced by its breed, upbringing, environment, and experiences. For instance, some dogs are naturally more outgoing and sociable, always eager to greet new people and explore new environments with enthusiasm. Others may be more reserved or cautious, possibly taking time to warm up to strangers or new situations.


Certain breeds are known for specific traits, such as Labrador Retrievers, who are often friendly, outgoing, and highly trainable, making them excellent family pets and service dogs. 

On the other hand, breeds like the Shiba Inu can be more independent and reserved, showing loyalty and affection primarily to their immediate family members.


The upbringing and training a dog receives play a crucial role in shaping its personality. Positive reinforcement and socialization from a young age can help develop a well-adjusted dog that is comfortable in various situations. Conversely, negative experiences or lack of socialization can lead to behavioral issues, such as anxiety or aggression.


Dogs also exhibit a range of emotions that influence their personality, including joy, fear, affection, and even jealousy. These emotions can affect how they interact with their environment and the people and animals within it. A dog’s personality can change over time due to life experiences, much like humans.

Understanding a dog’s personality is key to fostering a strong, positive relationship with them. It helps in training, in providing the right kind of care and environment, and in matching a dog to the right home or job. Whether a dog is adventurous, laid-back, protective, or playful, each has a unique set of traits that make them special companions.

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