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Geniuses Can Be Identified By Their Dog, Study Reveals

What do eminent scientist Sir Isaac Newton and socialite Paris Hilton have in common? They both own or owned toy dogs, and according to a new psychological study this means that they share similar personality traits, including ranking the most highly on the intelligence scale.

The Bath Spa University study carried out in association with the Kennel Club’s Discover Dogs, found that a person’s choice of dog breed is likely to indicate how a person ranks in the five common personality traits – conscientiousness, intelligence and creativity, emotional stability, extroversion and agreeableness.

Toy dog owners most intelligent The study found that owners of toy dogs rate the most highly on the intelligence scale, which measures a person’s creativity, imagination and openness to new experiences. Toy dog owners include the likes of Paris Hilton, who owns a Chihuahua, fashion designer Valentino and Sir Isaac Newton, who owned a Pomeranian.

Extroverts opt for Pastoral and Utility breeds Extrovert owners are more likely to opt for Pastoral and Utility breeds (such as the Bulldog, owned by Winston Churchill and the Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi, famously owned by the Queen), and the most agreeable are owners of gundogs such as the American Cocker Spaniel owned by Oprah Winfrey and the Labrador, owned by Gwyneth Paltrow.

The study split the 210 pedigree dog breeds recognised by the Kennel Club into their seven official groups (utility, toy, pastoral, gundog, hound, working and terrier) and found that when it came to dog ownership:

•    Pastoral and Utility breed owners score highest on Extroversion

•    Gundogs and Toy owners are highest on Agreeableness

•    Utility dog owners top score on Conscientiousness

•    Hound dog owners have the highest Emotional Stability

•    Toy dog owners come out highest on Intelligence and Creativity

The dog owners were measured against a control group of non-dog owners. No dog owners, within any of the groups, were found to have personality problems when measured for the five major character traits, against the general population.

Personality dictates breed Dr Lance Workman, head of psychology at Bath Spa University, who supervised the study, said, “This study indicates that you can tell a lot about somebody’s personality by the breed of dog that they choose to own. It seems that certain personality types are subconsciously drawn to certain breeds.

“The choice could arguably be down to the lifestyle that people lead and how their chosen dog fits their lifestyle. It is easy to imagine a creative type, who is open to new experiences, owning a toy dog, who was bred for companionship and who can easily move around with the owner.”

A study by Bath Spa University last year found that dog owners were nicer or ‘more agreeable’ than the general population and that people were able to correctly match dogs with their owners, based on the way that they looked. But this study shows that the similarities between dogs and their owners may be more than skin deep.

Dr Workman added, “It would be interesting to look at the individual breeds of dog, within each group and to analyse the personalities of their owners. It is possible to surmise that people are being drawn to dogs with similar personalities to their own. For example, hound dog owners are the most emotionally stable and this might be reflected in their dogs being quite stable of character.”

Caroline Kisko, Secretary of the Kennel Club which organises the Discover Dogs event taking place at Earls Court, London this weekend, said, “Our Discover Dogs event introduces dog lovers and the dog owners of the future to almost 200 different breeds of dog. Choosing a dog is like choosing a partner – you have to get one that is the perfect fit for you and will suit your lifestyle and personality.

“This study provides a really helpful insight into which dog breeds might suit which owners. We are forever saying that people should base their dog choice on more than what breed a celebrity owns, or which one they have seen on TV, and this study may be very helpful in ensuring that dogs find the right homes.”



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