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10 Types of Dog Personalities: Which One Is Your Dog?

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

Black labrador wagging it's tail

10 Types of Dog Personalities: Which One Is Your Dog?

Personality types may sound like a concrete set of characteristics, but each type has subcategories to help define who you are. Animals also have personality types, which is partially why people connect with them so well. And, just like people, dogs also have a wide range of personality types. You probably already know your dog’s personality type if you have a dog. Read on to see which personality type fits your dog the most—you might find that your dog fits more than one category!

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The 10 Types of Dog Personalities

1. The Dedicated Worker

Police dog with a German shepherd dog
Image By: wellphoto, Shutterstock
  • Hardworking
  • Reliable
  • Obedient
  • Usually high-energy dogs
  • Not for first-time dog owners

Potential Breeds: Belgian Malinois, German Shepherd Dog, Border Collie, Dutch Shepherd, Australian Shepherd, Doberman Pinscher, German Shorthaired Pointer, Weimaraner, Tibetan Mastiff, Poodle

Some dogs thrive when working, especially breeds like Shepherds and Collies. The dedicated worker personality type is a hard-working, obedient dog who knows what to do and when. They seem happiest when it’s time to head out for the day, whether doing police work, tracking, farming, or herding. If nothing else, a dog in this category is reliable because of their dedication.

The dedicated worker might be a challenge for novice dog owners to handle, so be very careful when looking at breeds in this category. Most of them are energetic, intensely smart dogs that need hours of training and exercise, which rules out many potential dog owners.

2. The Guardian

Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock
  • Protective
  • Watchful
  • Imposing
  • Can be dominant
  • Needs confident owner
  • Needs extensive socialization

Potential breeds: Bullmastiff, Chow-Chow, Rottweiler, Giant Schnauzer, Cane Corso, Dog de Bordeaux, English Mastiff, German Shepherd, Dogo Argentino, American Pit Bull Terrier, Boxer, Tibetan Mastiff

The guardian will do anything to protect their family. Potential owners search for them when they want a guard dog, especially if the breed is also large. The guardian needs a very confident owner to prevent dominance issues. A dog with the guardian personality should never show signs of aggression toward the family and anyone they’ve socialized with, so it’s important to know what you’re doing if you get a dog with this personality type.

3. The Class Clown

Siberian husky running in the yard
Image Credit: LynetteC, Pixabay
  • Goofy
  • Sociable
  • Entertaining
  • Can be unfocused
  • Clumsy
  • Stubborn

Potential Breeds: Boxer, American Bully, Labrador, Siberian Husky, Brittany Spaniel, French Bulldog, Yorkshire Terrier, Springer Spaniel, Bichon Frise, Corgi, English Springer Spaniel, Boston Terrier

A dog with the class clown personality type wants to have fun! A class clown-type enjoys playing, running, and spending time with people or other dogs. They are simply a happy-go-lucky, fun-to-be-around dog with a goofy personality.

Although it’s hard to fault the class clown, it can be challenging to reign in that type of personality. Stubbornness and lack of focus can cause training to be a headache, so it’ll take patience and time to train a class clown. They are also usually clumsy and boisterous, which spells disaster if they are a bigger breed.

4. The Family Dog

Image Credit: Wavebreakmedia_Shutterstock
  • Well-rounded temperament
  • Great with children
  • Reliable
  • Harder type to find
  • Can become over-protective
  • May demand attention

Potential Breeds: Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, English Mastiff, Poodle, Schnauzer, Boxer, American Bully, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Newfoundland, Bullmastiff

The classic, reliable family dog personality type is one that many visualize when they want a dog: happy yet calm, playful but not rough, and pleasant but not overly friendly. TV shows often portray dogs with this personality type, especially in sitcoms involving families with children. A dog with this personality type usually has a great temperament and a happy demeanor, even under stressful situations.

A dog in this category may need more attention than other breeds. Guardian dogs also fall into this category, so socialization is necessary to prevent aggression.

5. The Watch Dog

dog watching on grilled meat from a distance
Image Credit: Hanna Dyka, Shutterstock
  • Vigilant, alert
  • Highly aware
  • Excessive barking
  • Requires a lot of attention
  • Needs extensive socialization

Potential Breeds: Keeshond, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Pekingese, Japanese Chin, Boxer, Corgi, Beagle, Alaskan Klee Kai, Siberian Husky, German Shepherd, Poodle, Chihuahua

The watchdog may seem like the guardian type, but not all watchdogs are natural guardians. A dog with this personality loves to bark and alert the household of possible intruders, which can easily turn into a dog with excessive barking issues. However, they can be quite friendly and can be trained to bark less.

The watchdog type needs an owner who can curb excessive barking and socialize them to prevent aggression or people-based fear. They may also have a “favorite” person, which can lead to possessiveness and aggression toward anyone else. A dog with a watchdog personality may also have a shrill bark, as some breeds were created for that purpose.

6. The Aristocrat

chow chow_VKarlov_Shutterstock
Image Credit: VKarlov, Shutterstock
  • Feline-like
  • Prefers quieter homes
  • Self-assured
  • Can be hard to train
  • Not the best type for families with kids

Potential Breeds: Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Shar Pei, Chow-Chow, Afghan Hound, Akita, Poodle, Schnauzer, Airedale Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Chinese Crested Dog, Japanese Chin, Pharaoh Hound, Chihuahua

The aristocrat dog personality may come off as stubborn or moody, but that’s due to their self-assured, independent nature. They can be active but not necessarily playful, often sitting around and watching instead. They have an elitist vibe, especially breeds that attach themselves to one person.

A dog with this personality type can be a great pet, especially for quieter or single-pet homes. However, motivating them can be challenging for training, as some may shut down when bored. However, the aristocrat type is usually an intelligent dog, which can be both a benefit and a challenge.

7. The Independent Thinker

Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock
  • Self-assured
  • Intelligent
  • Self-starter working type
  • Hard to train
  • May get into trouble
  • Pushes buttons when bored

Potential Breeds: Jack Russell Terrier, Bloodhound, Basset Hound, Siberian Husky, Cairn Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, Pekingese, Chow-Chow, Chihuahua, Borzoi, Akita, Afghan Hound, Beagle

The independent canine is similar to the self-assured, aristocratic type but usually without the “elitist” vibe. A dog with this personality isn’t overly affectionate and doesn’t mind spending time alone. The independent thinker is usually a working breed that completes tasks without cues from the owner.

They typically enjoy the company of their family but may seem a little wary of new people. They may also balk at traditional training methods, which means you’ll have to out-think the thinker. However, they’re ideal for single owners and make excellent pets.

8. The Social Butterfly

group of dogs playing in the park
Image Crredit: Joy Brown, Shutterstock
  • Sociable
  • Outgoing
  • Loves attention
  • Varied energy levels
  • May not enjoy a household with kids or other pets

Potential Breeds: Papillon, Pomeranian, Keeshond, Poodle, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Newfoundland, Bichon Frise, Great Dane, Boxer, Brittany Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Bichon Frise, Maltese

The social butterfly loves to be in the spotlight, whether in public or at home. They want to be the center of attention, sometimes to an obsessive degree, and they enjoy meeting new humans. However, some social butterflies don’t get along with other pets. They may also share traits with other personality types, such as the class clown or family dog types. They’re usually intelligent and can learn various tricks, so competitive sports may also be an option.

9. The Athlete

doberman pincher exercise
Image Credit: DragoNika, Shutterstock
  • Loves exercising
  • Can be sociable
  • Highly intelligent
  • Usually very energetic
  • Requires a lot of daily attention

Potential Breeds: Belgian Malinois, German Shepherd, Weimaraner, German Shorthaired Pointer, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Poodle, Doberman, Newfoundland, Chesapeake Bay Retriever

The athlete enjoys the outdoorsy or competitive lifestyle, whether long hikes in the mountains or flying through an agility course. They aren’t just physically athletic but truly live for exercise. They are ready for any challenge as long as it’s entertaining. They are usually sociable, which is crucial for competitive sports.

Many working breeds, especially hunting and herding breeds, fit into the athlete type of personality. They have a lot of energy and require more daily exercise than most breeds. However, they make excellent pets for singles and families.

10. The Old Soul

greyhound standing on grass
Image Credit: nonmisvegliate, Pixabay
  • Laid-back
  • Wise
  • Gentle
  • Can have bouts of energy
  • Can be hard to train more than the basics

Potential Breeds: Greyhound, Borzoi, Irish Wolfhound, Scottish Deer Hound, Italian Greyhound, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Old English Sheepdog, Polish Lowland Sheepdog, English Mastiff, Anatolian Mastiff

The old soul personality is a dog that seems to have wisdom far beyond their years. They have a laid-back personality with a keen awareness of their surroundings. They’re polite around people, and although they prefer quieter homes, most tolerate children.

A dog with an old soul type of personality can bring calmness to others, almost like a beacon of peace. They seem to know precisely what a person needs, whether it’s comfort or space. They can be tricky to train beyond basic obedience, preferring to nap or hang around instead. However, some energetic breeds have old-soul personalities and may still have some bouts of energy.

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Summing Up

Isn’t it incredible that dogs can have so many different personalities? Do you have a dog that matches one of the personalities in this article? Or do you want to have a dog with a specific personality? Even if your dog is not listed in this article, we bet they have their own distinctive personalities.

Featured Image Credit: danielle828, Pixabay

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