People are likely (often without even realizing it) to pick a dog with a personality that is similar to theirs, according to a new study led by the Kennel Club – the UK’s largest organization dedicated to dog health, welfare, and training. However, even if their personalities match, people do not always choose the right dog for their actual lifestyle.
The researchers ranked over 1,500 current and past dog owners of 16 popular dog breeds against several key personality traits, such as openness, extroversion, agreeableness, or emotional stability. The analysis revealed that, quite frequently, people choose dogs that match such personality traits.
For instance, people who enjoy new experiences, have many hobbies, and enjoy taking risks are more likely to own whippets, while those who are positive and happy often had golden retrievers. Owners with strong organizational skills who preferred to stick to the rules had miniature schnauzers, and people ranking the highest on agreeableness and extroversion owned Pomeranians. Finally, those who ranked themselves as being most affectionate tended to pick Staffordshire bull terriers, while owners of Jack Russell terriers (often described as very friendly dogs) described themselves in similar terms.
“It appears that we can often tell a lot about a person from the type of dog that they own, with the dominant personality traits of Jack Russell owners – owned by the likes of King Charles – being their loyalty, generous spirit for helping others, and their trustworthiness,” said Bill Lambert, a spokesperson for the Kennel Club.
“Each breed has distinct characteristics, traits and care needs, which helps would-be owners understand more about whether they might be a good fit for them. It is quite striking to see how many people unconsciously select dog breeds with personalities that match their own character, showing that birds of a feather really do flock together.”
However, the analysis also revealed that, while owners often choose breeds which they have similar traits with, they are not always very good at picking ones that match their lifestyle. For example, 63 percent of the participants reported they picked their favorite dog based on looks or “following their heart,” and 50 percent claimed they can’t offer their dogs everything that they need. However, among people who did considerable research to understand their chosen breed before getting the dog, 88 percent claimed their pet was a perfect match for their personality and lifestyle.
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