Understanding your Doggo: A Guide to Canine Personalities

Dog facts

By Lucie Battaglia, VGRRR Chief Content Creator

Loyal, playful, energetic… These words are commonly used to describe dogs in general, but people often forget how varied personalities dogs can have. After all, most dogs in the past were carefully bred to do a job in particular, such as herding sheep, guarding a home, or tracing down an animal by scent. And not only did those dogs excel at their jobs, but they also developed unique personalities!

Fast forward a couple hundred years, and most domestic dogs still behave in ways that can be explained by DNA. Science is even backing this up: Evan MacLean, Noah Snyder-Mackler and colleagues have pinpointed 131 aspects of dog DNA which may contribute to 14 unique personality attributes. (1) But there’s no need to be a scientist to better understand your canine buddy’s personality: simply take a look as his breed lineage to see what he’s all about.

Is your hound the aloof type, sniffing about on his own? This might be because hounds’ jobs were to use their smell or sense of sight to hunt down prey. (Author’s note: thankfully, with VGRRR kibble products, your dog will be able to use this skill for more compassionate purposes!) Is your German Shepherd or Collie mix always in the mood for a walk? Does he or she show high intelligence? These dogs were bred for herding, so they needed to have stamina and a sharp mind. (2)

Now that we spiked your curiosity, here are a few more examples. Is your dog a toy variety, like a Pomeranian or chihuahua? His fussy appetite may be due to how toy dogs were treated like family members, spoiled enough to develop culinary preferences on their terms. If your dog has Husky or Malamute DNA, this may explain his need to run long distances and his friendly disposition, since such breeds are known to travel in packs. (2)

So, what does this mean for you? By knowing your pup’s personality, you can train him while showing some compassion about his quirks. If you’re still hesitant on which dog to choose at a shelter, you can check out the personality traits commonly linked to the mixed breeds you run into. For example, if you’re after simplicity, peace and quiet, a fussy and yappy toy dog may not be your best pick!

(1) https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/01/dog-breeds-really-do-have-distinct-personalities-and-they-re-rooted-dna

(2) https://limetreesvets.co.uk/different-breeds-dog-different-personalities/

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