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It seems that the connection between dog owners and their dogs is more than skin (or fur) deep. Just as the differences between dog and cat people merit investigation, as Nuwber explores, you can glean a wealth of psychological information about someone from their dog’s breed.

The Journal of Research in Personality tells us that a dog’s personality frequently reflects its owner. This means that dogs can be like mirrors that can help us learn more about our friends, our families, and ourselves.

According to the journal, dogs do not only reflect our personalities, however. They can also go through personality changes. This means that a) people may choose a dog similar to them in personality, but also that b) a dog may change its behavior due to that of its owner. Just as we grow and change according to our life experiences, so can our faithful friends.

The Deeper Connection Between Dogs and Their Owners

It’s worth considering that people may project personalities onto their animals (their own, for the most part) rather than genuinely observing the dog. According to earlier research, however, friends and relatives often give a similar account to their owners when describing dog personalities. This helps confirm a true connection between dogs’ personalities and dog owners.

There appear to be two ways people end up with dogs they match. They either gravitate to a breed and personality type that matches their own, or the dog learns the behavior over months and years with the owner.

Let’s consider someone gravitating to a particular dog first. While there are many factors to consider when choosing a dog, such as age, color, known history, and sex, the dog’s temperament remains a dominant factor for many.

And we can also tell a lot about a dog by sight. An image online can give us a strong impression of a dog’s character. And the dog can either confirm or disprove this when observed briefly.

Secondly, over months and years, that dog you picked up from a shelter is likely to start behaving differently. Fascinated by their owners, dogs look to them for cues and form incredibly strong bonds. It’s no wonder that a dog will begin taking on the personality of its owner. Some owners, being students or busy at work, have very little time for their dogs, which is a significant problem that a college paper writing service can handle.

People with certain personality types and lifestyles are likely to have dogs that behave – or learn to behave – similarly. Active, lively people are more likely to have excitable dogs than extreme introverts. An anxious dog owner may be more likely to have a nervous, aggressive, or defensive dog.

Having said that, it is not only dogs that learn to become like their owners. Dog owners also take cues from their companions. It might be a greyhound that demonstrates an admirable ability to relax (twenty hours a day, in fact) or a German Shepherd that inspires an owner to stand their ground in the face of adversity. The dog/owner connection works both ways.

How Dog Breeds Affect Personality

Purebred dogs in the survey were less fearful and aggressive than other dogs. So were female dogs and those that had been spayed or neutered. And a breed known for being territorial or protective, such as a German Shepherd, is unlikely to outgrow the trait completely.

Another study found that dog behavior is strongly linked to a breed’s DNA. It discovered that the most heritable traits were aggression toward strangers, chasing, and how readily a dog can be trained.

Border collies are known to lap up training and like to work hard. It’s not for no reason that these dogs often help round up sheep or other animals. Police forces worldwide employ German shepherds for their innate desire to protect and defend.

The study also demonstrated that the same genes guide behavior across many species. Anxious humans and anxious dogs may have the same gene that leads to underlying anxiety. This connection is interesting for us dog owners but also valuable for society.

Work is ongoing to find connections, verify them, and consider how they might help improve the treatment of animals and humans. Understanding the DNA links between dog owners and their dogs may lead to better treatments for anxiety-related disorders, for example.

What Your Dog’s Breed Says About You

Without further ado, here’s what owning some of the most popular dog breeds might say about your character.


Gentle, but immovably stubborn at times. Does this sound like you?

Border Collie

Busy, nurturing, welcoming, and protective. This dog would match a high-energy individual who craves stimulation.


Intelligent but down to earth, both dog and owner are likely to be cheerful and confident.


Loyal and outgoing. This playful dog might attract someone who likes life to be fun.


A sweet dog that may suit an owner with a strong independent streak.

German Shepherd

This dog will tend to be a strong and reliable protector. Law enforcement officers often form strong attachments to these animals with whom they share traits.

Golden Retriever

A reliable person looking for a trustworthy canine companion should look at a Golden Retriever.

Jack Russell Terrier

These little dogs may surprise their owners with their endurance. They know how to keep going, matching people who may be considered stubborn and opinionated, in the best possible ways, of course.


The most popular breed is known for being kind and happy to please, which would be a pleasant thing to say about their owners.


If you’re elegant, stylish, and arty, you may find a poodle to be the perfect companion.


Your schnauzer is likely to be at least as friendly and up for adventure as you are.

Yorkshire Terrier

Last but by no means least, the Yorkie is known for intelligence, courage, and confidence. Go boldly through this world with a lovable Yorkie at your side.

Whether there is a connection between your character and your dog’s breed is a great question. The response goes way beyond curiosity or dinner party chit-chat. We can learn so much about psychology and treating disorders from this research into dog breeds and our personalities.


Some other articles you might find of interest:

See if your dog makes it to the list here:

17 Coolest Looking Dog Breeds that Make Great Pets

Are you thinking about why your Yorkie feels blue lately?

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Yorkies

Help your Yorkie with his eating problems here:

Older Dog Not Eating? This Might Be Why