The relationship between pet-keeping and owner personality has attracted considerable attention. Little focus, however, has been directed towards the personality of pet owners in relation to the type of pet owned. This study therefore explored the personality of pet owners in relation to the type of dog breed owned, focusing specifically on owners of breeds widely considered to be “aggressive” versus those more generally perceived as “non-aggressive”. One hundred and forty seven owners of “aggressive” (German shepherd dogs, Rottweilers) or “non-aggressive” (Labrador retrievers, Golden retrievers) dog breeds completed the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire short scale. Breed of dog owned was significantly related to owners’ psychoticism scores, with people who kept “aggressive” dogs having significantly higher scores on this trait than owners of “non-aggressive” dogs. Dog breed ownership was not significantly related to neuroticism, extraversion or lie scale scores, although male owners of “aggressive” dogs were found to be significantly less neurotic than women who kept “aggressive” or “non-aggressive” dogs. Overall, findings suggest that there is a significant relationship between dog breed ownership and specific personality traits, with owners of breeds widely considered to be “aggressive” harbouring more psychotic tendencies than people who choose to keep dogs with a reputedly less aggressive temperament.
ASJC Scopus subject areas