A dog’s personality, much like a human’s, is part-genetic, part-learned. Are you looking for a new dog to love or to understand your pup better? Learn more about the most common dog personality types amongst all your favorite doggo breeds!
Are you wondering, “what kind of dog should I get?”
When it comes to adopting your new best friend, you want to make sure you find a personality that fits in well with your own. That’s why it’s so crucial to meet a pup before you make a final decision to take them home and integrate them into your life – that initial meeting is the ultimate dog breeds personality test.
Though personality comes from how a dog’s raised, it’s also partly determined by the genes a dog possesses. Some dogs are more likely to be independent and aloof, while others are practically attached to their owner’s hip. A Boxer dog personality will be pretty different from a Husky dog personality and even further from a Dachshund.
Before you decide to adopt, take a long through our guide to determine which personality type you think would be the best fit for you and which breeds tend to possess those traits.
The 5 Dimensions of Puppy Personality
You may already be familiar with “The Big Five” personality dimensions, as commonly discussed in human psychology.
Here are the Big Five traits:
- Openness to Experience
Together, these aspects make up most of what we’d call a personality, whether in humans or dogs. For each trait, a pup will either rank high or low – a dog high in neuroticism may be prone to anxiety and oversensitivity, while those ranked lower in the trait will be better able to manage these emotions. A highly agreeable dog is friendly with anyone they meet, while a less friendly pup may be hesitant to make new friends.
Consider which traits are most critical for you to find the types of dogs with well-suited behavior.
Seven Common Canine Personality Types
Here are the most common combinations of the Big Five you’ll see in doggos. Not every dog or breed will perfectly fit into these categories, but many strongly lean toward one or two over others.
#1: The Anxious/Excited Pup
This dog’s personality is pervasive across many breeds, especially in young puppies or adolescents that aren’t yet fully developed. These puppy behaviors tend to make their attention wander, and they notice even slight changes to the environment out of anxiety, excitement, or a combination of the two.
These pups often feel overwhelmed, and their fight-or-flight responses are on extra-high alert at all times.
- Lack the ability to filter out stimuli, leading to “misbehavior.”
- Difficulty listening or responding to cues in strange environments
- Frequently pulls the leash to check out stimuli
- May stop walking or attempt to run away when in intense situations
- Enjoys playing with toys
#2: The Hard Worker Pup
These brilliant. dogs love to learn and “help” their owners by performing jobs. Naturally, most of these dogs are working breeds, with this drive written into their genetic code.
They’re high-energy, high-drive doggos that can be some of the very best dogs to own only with adequate training and exercise regimens from their owner. Includes shepherd, terrier, retriever, and Beagle personality.
- High energy – needs loads of rigorous daily exercise and playtime
- More interested in humans than other dogs
- Quick learner that picks up cues easily
- Can be aloof with strangers, especially around their owner
- Confident though not naturally social with dogs
#3: The Loving Pup
The loving pup is a sweet, pillowy pal that is easy-breezy in almost every situation. They’re not overly social, but they’ll tolerate just about anything you throw at them and love to cuddle their owners all day long. Includes large dogs like Bernese Mountain Dog personality, Great Pyrenees, or Newfies.
- Big snugglers and very affectionate with owners, though not always with strangers.
- Prefer low-intensity exercise over rigorous play
- Very relaxed in almost every environment – these pups are great travelers.
#4: The Policing Pup
These dogs tend to express themselves freely, especially if things aren’t looking right in their world. A pup with this personality tends to exhibit lots of vocal tendencies in response to the behavior of others – be it dogs playing, people passing, or a simple cry for more attention from their owner. Includes Jack Russells, shepherds, collies, terriers, and other herding breeds.
- Shows guard dog traits, like barking and growling at people or animals near the home.
- May bark or lunge at dogs when on a leash
- Barks when playing at the dog park or with toys
- Unpredictable around new people and children