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

Nicole Cosgrove

Personalities are an important part of society, giving everyone a unique touch that separates them from the rest. 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. If you have a dog, you probably already know your dog’s personality type. 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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Top 10 Types of Dog Personalities:

1. The Dedicated Worker

Belgian Shepherd Malinois_Flickr upload bot_Wikimedia
Image Credit: Flickr upload bot, Wikimedia
Pros
  • Hardworking
  • Reliable
  • Obedient
Cons
  • 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 from working, especially dog breeds like shepherds and collies that are bred for work. 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 it’s doing police work, tracking, farming, or herding. If nothing else, a dog in this category is reliable because of its dedication.

The dedicated worker might be a challenge for novice dog owners to handle if they don’t have a daily job to do, so be very careful when looking at breeds falling into this category. Many breeds in this category are high-energy, intensely smart dogs that need hours for training and exercise, which rules out a moderate amount of potential dog owners.


2. The Guardian

rottweiler-standing_Ricantimages_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock
Pros
  • Protective
  • Watchful
  • Imposing
Cons
  • 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 is the type of dog personality that will do anything to protect their family. This is the type of dog personality that people look for when they want a guard dog, especially if the breed is also large. The guardian needs a very confident owner to prevent dominance issues, which can be prevalent in breeds that have this natural personality type.

Though the breeds that fit this type are usually imposing and visually intimidating, many of them are absolute teddy bears with their families. A dog with the guardian personality should never show signs of aggression towards 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
Pros
  • Goofy
  • Sociable
  • Entertaining
Cons
  • 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

Goofy and usually running around with the case of the zoomies, a dog with the class clown personality type wants to have fun! A class clown-type dog 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 a challenge 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. A class clown-type of dog is also usually clumsy and boisterous, which spells disaster if they are a bigger breed.


4. The Family Dog

Golden retriever_sasastock_shutterstock
Image Credit: sasastock, Shutterstock
Pros
  • Well-rounded temperament
  • Great with children
  • Reliable
Cons
  • 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, sociable but not overly friendly. TV shows often portray dogs with this type of personality, especially in sitcoms revolving around the idea of families with children. A dog with this personality type usually has a great temperament and a happy demeanor, even under stressful situations.

The family dog type is hard to predict with puppies since many breeds can fit this description. A dog in this category may need more attention than other breeds, especially if it’s a dog breed that loves affection. Dog breeds that are natural guardian-type dogs will also fall into this category, so socialization is a must to prevent aggression.


5. The WatchDog

Biewer-Yorkshire-Terrier_Liliya-Kulianionak_shutterstock
Credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock
Pros
  • Vigilant, Alert
  • Highly Aware
Cons
  • 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 type loves to bark and alert the household of possible intruders, which can easily turn into a dog with excessive barking issues. A dog with this type of personality can be quite friendly, barking aside.

The watchdog type needs an owner that can curb excessive barking, as well as socialize them to prevent aggression or people-based fear. They may also have a “favorite” person, which can lead to possessiveness and aggression towards anyone else.  A dog with the 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
Pros
  • Feline-like
  • Prefers quieter homes
  • Self-assured
Cons
  • 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, Pharoah Hound, Chihuahua

The aristocrat type of dog personality is the type of dog that may come off as stubborn or moody, but that’s due to its self-assured, independent nature. A dog with this personality can be active but not necessarily playful, often sitting around and watching instead. A dog with an aristocrat personality has 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 homes or single-pet homes. But motivating a dog with the aristocrat-type can be a challenge 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

Basset-Hound-outdoors_Mary-Swift_shutterstock
Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock
Pros
  • Self-assured
  • Intelligent
  • Self-starter working type
Cons
  • Hard to train
  • May get into trouble
  • Pushes buttons when bored

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

The independent type personality is similar to the self-assured, aristocrat type, but usually without the “elitist” vibe. A dog with this type of personality will have its own agenda and plan, which can lead to trouble. A dog with this personality type will push buttons, which can get old quickly. The independent thinker is usually a working breed that knows its job without cues so that training can be a mixed bag.

A dog with an independent thinker personality will typically enjoy the company of people 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, an independent thinker-type dog that fits right into an individual’s lifestyle can be an extremely rewarding pet to have.


8. The Social Butterfly

Pomeranian
Image Credit: Nick Stafford, Pixabay
Pros
  • Sociable
  • Outgoing
  • Loves Attention
Cons
  • Varied energy levels
  • May not enjoy household with kids/pets

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

A dog with the social butterfly type personality loves to be in the spotlight, whether out in public or at home. This personality type loves to be the center of attention, sometimes to an obsessive degree. A dog with the social butterfly personality enjoys greeting everyone, regardless of its energy level.

The social butterfly type of personality doesn’t necessarily mean it enjoys being around children and may not even like other animals. The social butterfly type may also share traits with other personality types, such as the class clown or family dog types. A dog with the social butterfly type is usually a smart dog that can learn a wide variety of tricks, so competitive sports may also be an option.


9. The Athlete

weimaraner standing on the seashore
Image Credit: MichaelGaida, Pixabay
Pros
  • Loves exercising
  • Can be sociable
  • Highly intelligent
Cons
  • 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 type of dog is the one who enjoys the outdoorsy or competitive lifestyle, whether it’s long hikes in the mountains or flying through an agility course. This dog type isn’t just a dog that is physically athletic but truly lives for exercise. A dog with the athlete type of personality is ready for any challenge, as long as it’s entertaining. They are usually sociable, which is crucial for competitive sports.

Many working breeds will fit into the athlete type of personality, especially hunting and herding breeds. A dog with this type of personality will also have a lot of energy, so getting an athlete-type dog requires a significant chunk of time. A dog with this personality can be a great solo companion or family dog, as long as they can exercise daily.


10. The Old Soul

greyhound standing on grass
Image Credit: nonmisvegliate, Pixabay
Pros
  • Laid-back
  • Wise,
  • Gentle
Cons
  • Can have bouts of energy
  • Can be hard to train more than 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 type is a dog that seems to have wisdom far beyond its years. They tend to have that calm, laid-back personality with a keen awareness of their surroundings. Often polite around people, a dog with the old soul type of personality tends to like quieter homes but will 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 exactly what a person needs, whether it’s comfort or space. A dog with this type of personality can be tricky to train beyond basic obedience, preferring to nap or hang around instead. However, some energetic breeds have old-soul types of personalities and may still have some bouts of energy.


Featured Image Credit: danielle828, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.