If you suspect that you and your dog are a lot alike, you’re right! A new study reveals that humans and their dogs share similar personality traits.
People sometimes say that dogs and their people start to look alike after a while, but is the same true of the way they act? New research says “yes”!
Apparently, a dog’s personality evolves over time as a result of “nurture”. In other words, how a dog is raised, and who he shares his life with, can have an effect on his character. This ultimately shapes the dog he becomes – and that can include sharing personality traits with his human guardian.
The fascinating study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, is the largest of its kind to examine changes in canine personalities. Lead researcher William Chopik surveyed the pet parents of more than 1,600 dogs, which included more than 50 different breeds of varying age and gender. The human participants were asked to evaluate their dogs’ personalities as well as their own by answering a series of survey questions pertaining to behaviour, likes, dislikes and other qualities.
The results revealed that humans and their canine companions often have personality traits in common. For instance, dogs rated as more excitable and active tended to have extroverted guardians, while dogs that were more fearful and less responsive to training were often raised by people claiming to have a high rate of negative emotions.
The research proves how much influence we have on our dogs, and demonstrates that, much like children, dogs are “sponges” and internalize the things we say and do. It also shows how fluid dogs’ personalities can be.
“When humans go through big changes in life, their personality traits can change,” says Chopik. “We found this also happens with dogs – and to a surprisingly large degree. We expected the dogs’ personalities to be fairly stable because they don’t experience the wild lifestyle changes humans do, but they actually change a lot.”