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Can You Guess That Breed?

I'm not talking about the fun game on Dogster where you try and guess what breed a dog is by looking at a picture. Can...

Horst Hoefinger  |  Apr 10th 2009


I’m not talking about the fun game on Dogster where you try and guess what breed a dog is by looking at a picture. Can you guess what breed of dog a person might own by looking at them? According to one study the results show it’s possible.

A group of 70 people who do not own dogs were asked to match photos of 41 dog owners to three possible breeds – Labrador, poodle or Staffordshire bull terrier. They matched the owners to the dogs more than half the time. Yet given three choices, they should have been right only about a third of the time.

“This suggests that certain breeds of dogs are associated with particular kinds of people,” said study leader Lance Workman, a psychologist at Bath Spa University in the UK.

The analysis runs deep: Those who don’t own dogs used stereotypes to match the dogs to their owners, Workman figures. “These stereotypes persisted into judgments of the dog owners’ personalities: non dog owners considered the owners of each breed to share certain personality traits, such as level of conscientiousness and emotional stability.”

The real connection is only skin deep, however.

“But when we tested the dog owners’ personalities, we found no strong links between any particular personality trait and choice of dog breed, so any shared qualities are only skin deep,” Workman said.

The findings were presented at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in Brighton. What do you think about the study? Do you think some people look like their dogs? Give me a bark.

* In memory of Bo’s friend Bull Boy who left us too soon on March 28, 2009.

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