Aggressive People Choose Aggressive Dogs: Study

By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran
By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran

(CBS News) Another study shows how dogs reveal a whole lot about their owners.

Psychologists at the Queen's University of Belfast found that people tend to get dogs with similar personalities: those with hostile personality traits will get aggressive dogs, while more laid-back individuals will have docile pets.

"This might imply (although has yet to be proven) that people choose pets that are an extension of themselves," said Deborah Wells, one of the psychologists who conducted the study, said in an e-mail to LiveScience.

Wells and her partner, Peter Hepper, surveyed 147 dog owners from Northern Ireland obedience classes, according to LiveScience.

The study took a look at owners of German shepherds, Rottweilers, Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers.

German shepherds and Rottweilers are more aggressive dogs than labs and golden retrievers. Owners of the former two scored higher in psychoticism, a personality trait of aggressiveness.

This is not the first study to show that opposites don't attract as far as man's best friend is concerned. A U.K. research paper from April found that owners of toy dogs score higher on "openness," a personality trait that measures how intellectually curious and open to new experiences someone is, LiveScience reported. Owners of friendly dogs, like labs, were particularly easy to get along with.

Scientific research has also proven the popularly-held belief that people choose dogs that resemble themselves. A 2004 San Diego study showed that participants were usually able to easily match pictures of dogs with those of their owners, based on appearance (but only if the dogs were purebreds).


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