Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What Does Your Dog Say About You?

Dog Breeds
Photo Credit: Pixaby
Pet magazines and websites are filled with articles like “How to choose the right pet?” or tests to help you decide what kind of animal to take as a companion. If you really want a dog, what breed would suit you best? Rather funny than useful, these “pet-matches” have, however, started more recently to be studied also from a scientific perspective. Psychologists have started to study this issue, wondering if there really is a correspondence between the personality of a human being and the companion pet who chooses it intuitively. And there are some interesting and exciting discoveries.

Dog persons tend to be more active, dynamic and inclined to follow the rules. But things can be much more interesting. Choosing a certain dog breed of the hundreds of species can say something about a person’s personality. Of course, when you think of having a dog, you balance the time you have to take care of him, last but not least the financial aspects, from case to case. There are some objective criteria, but there might be some subjective criteria that come into the game unconsciously when you decide to have a certain type of dog.

And there are simpler or more demanding studies (at a scientific level) that reveal interesting correlations between certain characteristics of dog owners and their dog breeds. Here are two examples:

Recently, a study with 200 dog owners revealed the following:
  • Those owning a Yorkshire Terrier described themselves as the happiest, claiming to laugh, on average, 10 times a day
  • Those owning a Golden Retriever generally had a higher level of education, a quarter of them having a master’s degree or even a doctorate
  • Those owning a Chihuahua said they spend most of their time with their puppies – 16 hours a day on average
  • Dalmatian owners tend to spoil their dogs, spending more money a week on dog treats and toys, compared to average spending by owners of other breeds. Also, Dalmatian owners were more likely to have a sports car.
  • Those owning a Bulldog described themselves as “the biggest rockers” and had the most marked tendency to say that their pet knows what they think. They also frequently declared they are involved in a relationship, but they want to end it.
  • In the case of Labrador owners, it was more likely that these people would be single (not involved in a relationship)
  • Those owning Pugs most often said they had happy marriages and they also declared the highest earnings among those surveyed
At a higher level of scientific rigor, the connection between humans and their dogs have also concerned psychology specialists. An interesting study was taken among 1000 dog owners. With the help of a questionnaire, the five great features of the human personality (the “Big Five”) were evaluated.
  1. Openness – to new experiences, emotions, adventures; curiosity and imagination.
  2. Conscientiousness – self-discipline, compliance, purpose-orientation; tendency towards organization rather than spontaneity.
  3. Extraversion – energy and positive emotions; social.
  4. Agreeableness – the tendency to be empathetic and cooperative.
  5. Neuroticism – the tendency to easily feel negative emotions such as anger, worry, feeling vulnerable
And that is what psychologists Lance Workman and Jo Fearon found out when they looked for connections between certain personality traits and the possession of a certain dog breed:

  • People with a Chihuahua dog had high scores on Openness (and the ones with little dogs, from breeds generally called “Toy dogs”)
  • The owners of particularly friendly dogs, such as Labradors, had the most Agreeable personalities
  • Those who had German Shepherds, Collies, and Bull Dogs were the most Extraverted
  • The most emotionally stable people tended to have hunting dogs such as Beagles.
While it may not always be true that dogs and their owners resemble one another in a physical sense, there is certainly a great deal that people can learn about us by looking at our dogs. For good or for bad, our dogs and the way we treat them reflects our personalities, our preferences, and our lifestyles.

So, what does your doggie mirror say about you?

About the Author:
John Stuart works on behalf of petsbyplane.com in outreach and content creation. He creates engaging content that help businesses connect with their audience and stand out from the crowd.

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