I found the studies in this sponsored post, written on behalf of Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance, very interesting. Although the conclusions don’t apply to mixed breeds, I was nevertheless happy to read what was said about the personality and brainpower of owners of small dogs. Who knew that Sir Isaac Newton had a Pomeranian?
However, I do not resemble Frankie in the slightest. Never did, never will.
By Natasha French
We’re all familiar with the idea that people look like their dogs; it’s even been proved by scientists in the U.S. and the U.K. But here’s a new twist. Are you intelligent? Sociable? Kind? New research shows that your choice of canine is a clue to your character, too.
And the results may surprise you. The owners of Chihuahuas and other “handbag dogs” beloved by celebrities such as Paris Hilton and former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell are apparently the most intelligent, according to British psychologist Lance Workman. Dr. Workman, who conducted his research at Bath University, came to this conclusion after questioning more than 1,000 dog owners about their character traits.
The dog breeds were grouped into seven categories: gun dogs (e.g. Golden retriever), hound dogs (e.g. Greyhounds; Beagle), terriers (e.g., Staffordshire bull), utility dogs (e.g., Bulldogs), pastoral dogs (e.g. German shepherd, Border collie), toy dogs (e.g., Chihuahuas) and working dogs (e.g., Dobermans).
Extroverted individuals matched up with utility or pastoral dogs such as bulldogs and German Shepherds, whereas those owners who fell into the category of “emotionally stable” were more suited to hound dogs, known for their consistent temperaments.
Working dogs tend to find owners who score above average on agreeableness and intelligence, while gun dogs like Labradors are the breed of choice for friendly folk.
Dr. Workman said, “One of the great things was that toy dog owners, who are often seen as airheads, came out pretty much on top when it came to openness, creativity and intelligence,” adding, “Isaac Newton had what we’d today call a toy dog, a Pomeranian.”
The psychologist compared picking a pet to looking for a romantic partner. “If they fit in, they will probably last. But it also has to fit in with your lifestyle. If you are going to a get a gun dog, you need to be an outdoor type of person.”
He added: “Just like romantic partners, if your personalities match well, then things are far more likely to work out in the long run. The notion of ‘opposites attract’ is unfortunately a recipe for disaster!”
Perhaps it’s no coincidence then, that dating sites such as eHarmony not only profile personalities using the same attributes, such as agreeableness and emotional stability, but also look for matches between energy levels and lifestyle.
It means that there is hope that one day questionnaires not unlike those used on dating sites could help match pet-owners with suitable breeds. It might not only lead to happier pets and pet-owners, but also reduce the number of abandoned pets.
And what about me, you may ask. Well, that would be telling. Suffice it to say I’ve graduated from an adorable Irish terrier (at age six) to a mad, cornflake-colored English setter, the dog that ate the house, to two sweet, air-headed Cavalier King Charles spaniels who were ideal for a household full of small children, to a beautiful but eminently sensible black Labrador, the happy companion of many muddy walks and rides. Does that mean I have multiple personalities?
Au contraire. I’d maintain that Dr. Workman ought to add another level to his research: different dogs for different life stages.
Regardless of your pet’s personality type — or yours — don’t forget to take out pet insurance, which could cover your cat or dog against loss, theft and accident and illness. Vet’s fees can be extremely expensive, especially if your animal is diagnosed with a chronic condition or needs surgery.