4 for 3 on Purina® diets here

Advertisement

Does a dog's personality vary based on the breed?

A bunch of dogs in a field advice

Do each dog breeds have the same personality?

© Shutterstock

What makes a dog a dog? Is it all about nurture? Or is their nature far more important to their development? Is every Rottweiler a brave and fierce guard dog? Are all Boxer dogs happy to play the goofy class clown?

By Ashley Murphy

Published on the 05/03/2020, 15:00

Well, let's take a closer look at the personality of dog breeds and find out!

Which breed of dog has the most personality? 

Every pooch has its unique little personality. Some are natural extroverts who love making new friends, while others are a bit nervous around people they don't know.  Some dogs are naturally aggressive and need the right kind of training to harness all that energy, and then other pups are just big softies who love nothing more than a snuggle up on their sofa. 

Why do different breeds of dogs behave differently? 

A lot of a dog's personality is down to nurture. In other words, owners who put in the time to train and socialize their pups are usually rewarded with a well-behaved pet. That being said, genetics still plays a big part in a dog's development, and certain breeds tend to display specific characteristics.

For example, Golden Retrievers are naturally loving and very playful. What's more, they tend to remain quite puppy-like well into their adult years. Other breeds, like the Great Dane and Basset Hound, become much more docile as they approach old age.

And then there’s the 'naughty breeds', although it's fairer to describe them as 'mischevious.' Jack Russels, Boxers, and French Bulldogs are high-energy dogs who love to get up to all kinds of tricks. These characterful pooches will be a lot of fun; They'll also keep any owner on their toes!

Why do personality traits generalize in dog breeds?

It's no coincidence that certain traits generalize in each breed. In fact, dogs were actually selected for particular characteristics by breeders looking to create the perfect working dog, companion dog, or guard dog.

That's why police and military dogs like the German Shepherd are loyal, brave, and highly intelligent, and why toy dogs like the Chihuahua will happily spend hours curled up in your lap. It's also why guide dogs and therapy dogs like the Labrador Retriever love being around people all the time.

Why do different breeds of dogs behave differently? 

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a great example of a dog bred for a very specific purpose. Ridgebacks are rare in the UK, and you won't find many of them living the life of your average domestic pooch. That's because these powerful animals were originally bred to track down big game, including lions!

Now, as you can probably imagine, a dog bred to hunt lions has a very unique personality type. As the American Kennel Club points out, Ridgebacks are fierce, highly independent, brave, and confident animals. As such, they're one of the dog breeds that require an expert handler. 

Does a person's choice of dog breed reflect their personality? 

According to leading psychologists, people are unconsciously drawn towards dogs that reflect their personality and lifestyle. One study looked at 389 dog owners and 518 dogs. Experts found that people and their pooches match on four of the big five personality traits - agreeableness, extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and openness. 

In other words, active owners who don't take life too seriously are likely to go for a playful, spirited dog like the Italian Greyhound. In contrast, older owners may prefer pooches who are a bit more laid back and easy going, including the Cocker Spaniel.

How to find a pet breed to fit my personality? 

If you want to find the perfect dog for your personality, the first thing you'll need to do is be honest with yourself. To put it another way, you need to figure out what you're really like and not what you think you're like. Otherwise, you could end up with a powerful Pitbull that might be too much to handle on your own.

How to select an appropriate dog breed? 

Ask yourself what you're looking for in a dog. Do you want a companion pooch or an intelligent breed that can compete in dog sports or trial competitions? 

Are you looking for something unusual, like the Portuguese Water Dog? If so, think carefully, because while these pups draw a lot of attention during trips to the park, water dogs are highly intelligent and will soon grow frustrated without the right type of mental stimulation.

Are you looking for an intelligent dog breed? Check out this list

You shouldn't judge a dog by its breed alone, and you should never assume that certain breeds will act in predetermined ways. Just like their humans, every dog is an individual, and they can often surprise us with their unusual personality quirks. But whatever pooch you do get, remember that nurturing them in the right way is essential for their long-term physical and mental health. And that every breed out there!