Are Pets' Personalities Like Their Owners'?

Puppies often reflect human personality traits.
Puppies often reflect human personality traits. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Your dog and his behaviors are often good indicators of the way you live, think and act. It is not foolproof -- some fitness addicts have lazy dogs and some hyperactive dogs have lazy owners -- but in many cases a dog’s personality can be similar to that of its owner. There are several reasons this can occur, starting at the moment you choose which dog to bring home.

Choosing a Dog

Studies have shown that many people choose a dog based on their own personality. For example, agreeable people have been known to adopt Labradors, while hardworking people have been known to adopt bulldogs. Because people often pick dogs that match their personalities and lifestyles, it is inevitable that the dog and human will show some similar behavioral traits.

Building Habits

Dogs are creatures of habit. They are extremely flexible and intelligent animals. Because of this survival mechanism, dogs slowly and surely become more like their owners as they adapt to the way in which their owner lives. An affectionate person can make a snuggler out of an aloof dog, and a snuggly dog can do the same to a distant person. Behaviors from human to dog and vice-verse are constantly being exchanged.

Emotional Cues

One of the strongest mechanisms dogs have developed for survival is the ability to read human emotional cues. Dogs can sense when a person is anxious, sad, angry or nervous. Because dogs read so much off humans and use that information as the basis for their behavior, they can often seem to mirror their owners by displaying the same traits. For example, a person who gets anxious at night will pass that anxiety to the dog, which will be seen as mirroring that person’s traits.

Temperament by Breed

Dogs do read quite a bit from their owners and can learn to act in any manner of ways, but certain breeds do come with temperaments that are not easily overwritten. Border collies need exercise and German shepherds need mental stimulation regardless of the preferences of the owner. Still, these temperaments can meld into the existing human habits and form a personality bond without being completely erased.

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