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Could Your Personality Be Reflected in Your Pooch?

FRIDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- The breed of dog a person chooses may mirror his or her own personality and outlook, a new study suggests.

The online survey of 1,000 dog owners by researchers at Bath Spa University in Bath, England, found certain personality traits, such as extroversion, agreeableness and emotional stability, are linked to specific breeds.

The research is to be presented Friday at the British Psychological Society annual meeting in London.

"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," study author Lance Workman said in a society news release. "It seems likely that personality types are subconsciously drawn to certain breeds."

Researchers divided the breeds owned into seven groups:

  • Gundogs, such as golden retrievers
  • Hound dogs, such as greyhounds
  • Pastoral, such as German shepherds
  • Terriers, such as Staffordshire bulls
  • Toys, such as chihuahuas
  • Utility, such as bulldogs
  • Working, such as dobermans

Owners of pastoral and utility dogs were more extroverted, while those who chose gundogs and toy dogs were more agreeable. The study also found those who owned utility, toy and gundogs were more conscientious, while owners of hound dogs were more emotionally stable. Toy dog owners were more open to new experiences.

"The differences in personality factors found between owners of different breeds might arguably be related to the lifestyle of the owner," Workman said. "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 findings and conclusions of studies presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The American Psychological Association provides more information on personality.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: British Psychological Society, news release, April 19, 2012

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