Dogs Often Take On The Same Personality Traits As Their Owner

Dogs Often Take On The Same Personality Traits As Their Owner

No wonder dogs are man's best friend. A study finds that dogs and their owners often develop similar personalities.

You may have heard that dogs and their owners really do look alike. Now, new research has shown that owners and their pups often share personality traits, too.

Do dogs and their owners really share the same personality trait?

A study published in the Journal of Research in Personality suggests that a dog's personality mirrors that of its owner. It indicates that dogs undergo personality changes akin to humans throughout their lives.

In 2020, a survey was conducted involving 1,600 dog owners covering 50 different breeds. The survey included questions about both the owners and their pets' personalities and behaviour. The findings revealed that, similar to humans, dogs' personalities evolve over time and are influenced by their lifestyles and experiences. This implies that the dog you bring home from the shelter or adopt as a puppy may not retain the same personality traits over the years.

After analysing the data, the researchers made an intriguing discovery: the personalities of dogs and their owners often reflect each other. Active and outgoing individuals tended to have dogs with similar characteristics, while those with anxious or aggressive dogs typically displayed more negative personality traits themselves.

It's likely that people choose dogs that align with their lifestyles, leading to a melding of dog and human personalities over time. While it may seem plausible that owners project their personalities onto their dogs, previous research cited in the study suggests otherwise. Friends or relatives often describe a dog's personality in a manner consistent with how the owner perceives it. Therefore, owner bias likely isn't the sole explanation for why dogs often resemble their owners in behaviour.

Do Dog Breeds Matter

The study found no significant correlation between specific dog breeds and personality traits. Although more than 50 breeds were included, the popularity of certain breeds made it challenging to establish clear associations. However, breed may still play a role in a dog's personality.

Another recent study suggested that behavioural tendencies in dogs are genetically rooted. Purebred dogs were observed to be less fearful and aggressive, with female dogs and those that were spayed/neutered showing similar traits. Unfortunately, dogs prone to such behaviours may not completely outgrow them.

Regardless of breed, obedience classes and training were found to positively influence a dog's personality. Dogs exposed to training tended to be less aggressive, less fearful, and more active, excitable, and trainable.

After assessing 16 popular dog breeds in relation to the five main personality types, the team found that pet parents' character traits often matched up with those of their chosen dog breed. When analysing the data, they came to the below conclusions:

  • Risk-takers were most likely to have whippets
  • Those with positive outlooks on life tended to have golden retrievers
  • Organised individuals had miniature schnauzers
  • Agreeable extroverts had Pomeranians
  • People who were affectionate and friendly had Staffordshire bull terriers or Jack Russell terriers.

Overall, while dogs and owners may not always have identical personalities, various factors, including breed and training, can contribute to similarities between them.

Contributing Factors When Choosing a Dogs Personality

Selection Bias: Owners often choose dogs based on factors like size, energy level, and temperament, influenced by their own personality traits. For example, calm individuals may opt for smaller breeds like Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, while outgoing ones may prefer energetic breeds like Golden Retrievers.

Environmental Influence: Dogs learn from their owners through observation, mimicry, and bonding. They mirror their owner's behaviours, body language, and emotional states. A calm owner may have a relaxed dog, while an energetic owner may have an enthusiastic one.

Shared Lifestyles: Dogs often share their owner's lifestyle, participating in activities like hiking or jogging. These shared experiences shape the dog's personality, with active owners having energetic dogs and sedentary owners having calmer ones.

Emotional Connection: The strong emotional bond between dogs and owners contributes to similarities in personality traits. Dogs provide support and companionship, reflecting their owner's emotions. A calm owner may have a dog with a similar temperament, while an anxious owner may have a nervous dog.

While similarities between dogs and owners exist, each dog is unique, and their personalities may differ. Dogs also influence their owner's behaviours over time through their companionship and bond.

Credit: Farmer Pete's

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