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Like Dog, Like Owner: What Breeds Say About Personality

What Fido's Breed Says About You

A chocolate labrador retriever with sad eyes.

(Image credit: Sam Strickler, Shutterstock)

A study being presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the British Psychological Society finds that dog breeds reflect certain facets of their owners' personalities. Read on for the main findings and some famous owners of certain breeds. Do you think they fit their pets' personalities?

Extroverted Pups

Two cute French bulldog puppies.

(Image credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock)

Pastoral and utility breeds score highest on extroversion.

What is extroversion? An extrovert is someone who is outgoing, talkative and the "life of the party."

Representative Breeds: Pastoral breeds include collies, sheepdogs, heelers and corgis. Utility breeds include Dalmatians, bulldogs, poodles, schnauzers and shar peis. 

Famous Owners: Actor Adam Sandler owns a bulldog, as did Winston Churchill. Actor Chris Evans owns a German Shepherd. The Queen of England owns a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

Agreeable Breeds

A golden retriever outdoor portrait.

(Image credit: Joop Snijder jr., Shutterstock)

Gundog and toy breed owners are highest on agreeableness.

What is agreeableness? Agreeableness is a trait that makes people easy to get along with. Agreeable people sympathize with others, care about their feelings and try to make other people feel at ease.

Representative breeds: Gundogs include spaniels and retrievers of all sorts, as well as setters, pointers and Weimaraners. Toy dogs include Yorkshire terriers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas

Famous owners: Gwyneth Paltrow owns a Labrador retriever, and Jennifer Aniston owns a golden retriever. Sir Isaac Newton owned a Pomeranian, and Paris Hilton owns multiple Chihuahuas.

Conscientious Canines

The Dalmatian is a utility breed.

(Image credit: Alex White, Shutterstock)

Utility dog owners are the most conscientious.

What is conscientiousness? People who are conscientious are dutiful and self-disciplined. They like order and schedules.

Representative breeds: Utility breeds include Dalmatians, bulldogs, poodles, schnauzers, Shar Peis, chow-chows and Boston terriers.

Famous owners: Mariah Carey owns a Shih Tzu, part of this category. Warren G. Harding owned a Boston terrier, as did Gerald Ford and Helen Keller. Martha Stewart owns and shows chow-chows.

A Mark of Stability

A male Rhodesian ridgeback showing its ridge.

(Image credit: Elisabeth Hammerschmid, Shutterstock)

Hound dog owners have the highest emotional stability.

What is emotional stability? It's the opposite of neuroticism, a trait marked by anxiety. Irritation and stress. People low in neuroticism are calm, cool and collected.

Representative breeds: Rhodesian ridgebacks, foxhounds, beagles, dachshunds, whippets and greyhounds.

Famous owners: George Washington owned a foxhound. Lyndon B. Johnson owned a beagle. Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas owns two dachshunds.

Creative Spirits

Two Chihuahuas sniff outside.

(Image credit: Utekhina Anna, Shutterstock)

Toy dog owners are the most open.

What is openness: People with open personalities are intelligent, open to new experiences and appreciative of art.

Representative breeds: Toy dogs include Yorkshire terriers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, Pekingese and pugs.

Famous owners: Fashion designer Valentino owns a pug. Natalie Portman, Paris Hilton, Alyson Hannigan and Lindsay Lohan all own Yorkies.

Traits of a Terrier

A brown and white Staffordshire bull terrier.

(Image credit: Yco, Shutterstock)

Terrier owners score high in agreeableness and openness.

What are agreeableness and openness? Agreeableness is a trait that makes people easy to get along with. Agreeable people sympathize with others, care about their feelings and try to make other people feel at ease. People with open personalities are intelligent, open to new experiences and appreciative of art.

Representative breeds: Bull terriers, calm terriers, border terriers and Staffordshire bull terriers.

Famous owners: Simon Cowell owns a calm terrier. Late conservationist Steve Irwin owned a Staffordshire bull terrier, as does action star Vin Diesel.

Agreeable and Open

A floppy Great Dane runs down a beach.

(Image credit: Eric Gevaert, Shutterstock)

Working dog owners are high in agreeableness and openness.

What are agreeableness and openness? Agreeableness is a trait that makes people easy to get along with. Agreeable people sympathize with others, care about their feelings and try to make other people feel at ease. People with open personalities are intelligent, open to new experiences and appreciative of art.

Representative breeds: Portuguese water dogs, Great Danes, Rottweilers, mastiffs, St. Bernards and boxers.

Famous owners: Justin Timberlake owns a boxer. President Obama owns a Portuguese water dog. Jim Carey owns a Great Dane and Will Smith owns a Rottweiler.