No two dogs are the same.

You may have already noticed that your dog is different from your neighbor's aside from appearance.

Some dogs like hanging around with people, while others don't care that they're alone.

A lot of dogs prefer an active lifestyle that involves running.

But some dogs just want their 20 hours of sleep.

So what gives? Why do dogs behave differently?

Well, it turns out, dogs have personality traits just like us!

And knowing their personalities can have will help you decide whether they fit your lifestyle or not.

So for this blog, I'll be talking about dog personality traits!

To do that, I'll be discussing:

  • What are the five dog personalities?
  • What are the different dog personality traits or temperament?
  • Are dogs’ personalities unique?
  • Do breeds really affect the trait characteristics of a dog?
  • Can dogs copy their owner's personalities?

Ready to learn what personality traits and temperament your dog has?

If your answer is yes, then let's start!

what are dog personality traits

What are Dog Personality Traits?

Simply put, personality traits are specific characteristics of a dog concerning behaviors.

In theory, we have five areas to measure when it comes to dog personality traits.

These traits are sociability, playfulness, chase-proneness, curiosity, and aggressiveness.

The presence or absence of these traits in a dog tells how the dog behaves.

For example, if your dog is social, it can befriend strangers easily.

The lack of sociability, on the other hand, means that your dog prefers to be alone.

It also means that your dog will become wary and vigilant to strangers, instead.

sociable dog personality trait


Sociability is the dog’s personality trait that refers to interacting with other dogs, creatures, or even people.

The more sociable your dogs are, the more they can tolerate social interactions.

If your pet dog is sociable, it’ll have no trouble fitting in with other dogs.

But if it’s lacking sociability, you may find your dog behaving negatively around crowds.

To humans, this trait is similar to introversion and extroversion.

Extroverts will tolerate social interactions while introverts do otherwise.

Despite all of these, dogs can still behave differently during various social instances.

The sight of an intimidating stranger can scare even the most sociable dogs.

So they resort to snarling, fleeing, and even running behind you for cover.

In the same manner, a dog who doesn't like crowds may still show you, its owner, loyalty.

Some dogs with social aptitude will cooperate, and others will even lead the group in the pack.

playful dog personality trait


As the name suggests, playfulness is the tendency of your dogs to play.

Playfulness is also associated with how likely your dog is to create bonds and share empathy.

But why, you may ask? 

It's in the act of playing where playful dogs find the opportunity to get close to their playmates.

Every interaction with playmates is a step closer to fostering bonds with them.

Playing also facilitates creating a sense of trust and loyalty with dogs.

Because of the bonds formed, playful dogs tend to be more empathetic.

They become more cooperative and easy to handle as pets.

These make them great companion pets to have in your house.

Think of it as a trait that’s synonymous with the agreeableness trait of humans.

When someone is agreeable, they're most associated with trust, kindness, and affection.

But if your dog is not playful, it becomes aloof and slightly apathetic toward its owners.

They’ll have a hard time responding to your stimuli and even commands.

RELATED: 7 Best Games to Play With Dogs

chase-proneness dog personality trait


Another dog personality trait that affects dog behaviors is chase-proneness.

Chase-proneness is about the susceptibility of dogs to chase an object or a creature.

This specific dog personality trait is related to the predatory instincts that a dog has before domestication.

Author and dog trainer Simone Mueller explains that:

Predation is a behavior chain consisting of several parts that merge into each other and that are intrinsically reinforcing for your dog.

She also added that these parts “include orientation in the environment, stalking, creeping towards prey, chasing, grab-biting, kill-biting, possessing, dissecting, and consuming.”

Nowadays, chase-proneness refers to responding to stimuli and tendencies.

So, if your dog is not prone to chasing moving objects, it likely has good control of its impulses.

In human terms, having control of impulses is similar to conscientiousness.

Conscientious persons avoid disorder by not getting easily distracted from stimuli.

curious dog personality trait


Do you have a dog that is fascinated by its surroundings?

Does your dog like to roam around the vicinity?

Chances are, your dog is one curious fella!

Curiosity is a dog personality trait that refers to the strong desire to gain insights.

Your dog will open its senses, react to various stimuli, and respond to objects that it finds interesting.

Curiosity can also mean a dog’s fearlessness of the unknown.

Often, people mistakenly interchange the curiosity trait with chase-proneness.

After all, both traits respond and react to stimuli.

But there’s a hard difference between the two.

Chase-proneness trait acts on impulse and pure instinct.

On the other hand, curious dogs can have good control of their impulse but still follow a stimulus.

They are far more independent and intelligent thinkers than instinct-induced dogs.

aggressive dog personality trait


Aggressiveness is a dog personality related to displaying hostile behaviors.

But rather than just treating it as a trait, you can also treat at it as a response.

It's most likely that a dog becomes agitated and hostile when faced with triggers.

They may bark, snarl, growl, and even bite whenever they are scared or anxious.

You may look at the trait like this:

Dog aggressiveness is how often or fast your dog resorts to hostile behaviors when overwhelmed or faced with triggers.

Behaviors that come from aggressive dogs mirror that of human neuroticism traits.

These behaviors are mostly emotionally unstable, anxiety-driven, and frequently irritated.

What are Dog Personality Types?

Now that we’ve talked about what dog personality traits are, you should also know what dog personality types are and how these two differ.

While dog personality traits are characteristics, personality types are categories that exhibit a certain set of personality traits.

Think of it like a Myers-Briggs indicator where each individual falls under specific personality types.

Dog personalities are also synonymous with dog temperament.

Overall, your dog can have one of five general dog personality types. Understanding what personality type your dog has can give you better means of taking good care of your dog.

confident dog personality type

Confident Dog Personality

A confident dog always imposes assertive and dominating tendencies toward people, their surroundings, and other dogs as well.

They often showcase high self-esteem through body language, such as standing straight, with pointed ears, and with heads held up high.

Confident dogs will show dominating behaviors such as climbing to higher ground and excessive guarding of territories, toys, and food.

They have large body build and high energy levels, which is typical across most dog breeds with a confident personality.

These physical traits help them maintain composure when up against danger or an authority figure.

When it comes to handling confident dogs, you should establish trust with them while becoming an authority that they’ll look up to.

Being cautious with dog handling and training through positive reinforcements helps you achieve just that.

When trained well, confident dogs become one of the most loyal and hardworking dogs among any other dog trait type.

Because of these traits, a confident dog functions best as a working dog, such as in the police force or in herding duties.

And while confident dogs are loyal pets, they’re not suited for first-time owners with no dog training experience.

The potential breeds that people most commonly associate with these dog breed personalities are:

  • German Shepherd
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • English Mastiff
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Dutch Sheperd
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Alano Español
  • Irish Terrier
  • Anatolian Shepherd

laidback dog personality type

Laidback Dog Personality

A laidback dog possesses traits that are amiable and happy-go-lucky toward people.

They showcase calm and worry-free body language, such as mouth hanging open, slow wagging of the tail, and soft squinting eyes.

The size of laidback dogs varies per dog breed, ranging from gentle giants to dwarf breeds.

Many owners associate laidback dogs with laziness. This is because laidback dogs are low-energy creatures that would prefer napping all day.

They also prefer walking instead of running, which is what most dogs do. Despite the droopy characteristics, laidback dogs are friendly with their owners and great with people of all ages.

If you want to keep a laidback dog, you need to know that these dogs will not be as athletic as most outdoor dogs are.

Nevertheless, you should still require your pet their a minimum amount of daily exercise. You should also monitor their nutrition as their lazy lifestyle can make your dog fat and unhealthy.

Laidback dogs are also social dogs that would need a decent amount of interaction from people and other dogs.

The potential breeds that people most commonly associate with these dog breed personalities are:

  • St. Bernard
  • Pug
  • Basset Hound
  • Pekingese
  • Havanese
  • Greyhounds
  • Bernese Mountain Dog

independent dog personality type

Independent Dog Personality

If your dog is aloof and inquisitive, chances are, your dog has an independent personality.

Independent dogs display curiosity in their body language starting with their wide eyes, nose pointing, and even dog purrs.

Independent dogs are generally curious regardless of how energetic they can be.

High-spirited dogs will mostly roam the backyard and scratch the ground. They’re also susceptible to overstimulation which could easily distract them.

Low-energy independent dogs, on the other hand, are calm, alert, and seemingly less enthusiastic. They’ll tend to ignore things that don’t pique their interest.

Because of these traits, independent dogs make good companions for owners who want low-maintenance pets.

After all, these dogs won’t require your constant love and attention all the time.

When tending to independent dogs, it’s best to leave them to their own devices rather than forcing interactions and social situations.

These dogs are self-assured and smart enough to enjoy their surroundings and their own company.

Training these dogs, however, is difficult as they’ll act only on things that interest them. So if it deemed you’re uninteresting, it won’t budge at all.

The potential breeds that people most commonly associate with these dog breed personalities are:

  • Akita Inu
  • Polish Lowland Sheepdog
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Chow Chow
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier


timid dog

Timid Dog Personality

When your dog possesses a timid personality, they live in insecurity, anxiety, and a lack of social exposure.

The timidity reflects in the body language of the dog: constant yawning, aggressive growls, and even frequent panting.

Unlike confident dogs, timid dogs usually meet their fears with an immediate fight-or-flight response.

Because they lack self-esteem, they easily get agitated and aggressive towards their fear factor.

On the other side, a timid dog may also cower behind their owners as a form of flight response.

What your timid dogs need is building confidence and self-assurance, proper conditioning and training do just that.

An anxious dog in training, however, is prone to attention diversion or completely breaking down.

When this happens, your course of action is to completely remove the target trigger first before resuming the training.

It also helps to expose your pet to the trigger gradually at your dog’s pace. This exercise is similar to how a dog gets used to a stranger’s presence.

Be patient at producing progress with the training and make your dog’s confidence larger than their anxieties.

The potential breeds that people most commonly associate with these dog breed personalities are:

  • Papillon
  • Shih Tzu
  • Pomeranian
  • Dalmatian
  • Chihuahua
  • Great Dane
  • Chinese Crested Dog

outgoing dog personality types

Outgoing Dog Personality

An outgoing personality is the most affable type across all dogs.

Outgoing dogs display submissiveness in their behaviors. They frequently display body language, like stretching their front while lifting their butt and rolling on their backs while exposing their bodies.

An outgoing personality is also called an adaptable personality because dogs exhibiting this type of are enthusiastic to please their owners.

Some dogs may go overboard with their enthusiasm, and they may cause unintended harm simply from their excitement.

Combined with a high-energy breed, they can run to someone while causing damage along the way and can tackle hard small children.

You can easily train and condition an outgoing dog as they see it as a way to please you.

In this way, you can train them to have some bit of restraint and manners when meeting a new face.

Outgoing dogs are dependent on social needs and will require your constant love and attention.

In some cases, dogs with extreme attachment issues can have the same separation as timid dogs. As such, if you dislike a high-maintenance pet, then this dog personality is not for you.

The potential breeds that people most commonly associate with these dog breed personalities are:

  • Bichon Frise
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Golden Retriever
  • Siberian Husky
  • Maltese
  • Beagle
  • Boxer
  • Poodles

Are Dogs’ Personalities Unique?

We are all different in our ways, and personality is one aspect that makes each and every individual different.

The same is true with dogs.

No dog can have the same personality as other dogs. Even two dogs of the same breed will have distinct and varying personalities.

This is because there is a multitude of factors that affects and shapes your dog’s personality traits.

Some of these factors are dog temperament, the training that the dogs receive, and the environment where the dog lives.

do dogbreeds affect personality

Do Dog Breeds Affect the Personality Characteristics of a Dog?

People generally assumed that dog breeds have something to do with personality traits.

After all, you often see a dog breed showing specific personality traits that seem exclusive to them.

But that is one of the most prevailing dog misconceptions in keeping dog pets.

A recent study concludes that the surroundings play a larger role in shaping the dog’s personality traits.

Another study suggests that dog personalities can change over time, which is counterintuitive if dog breed personalities are genetic.

This means the type of training and treatment for your dog matter more than what type of breed the dog is.

Are Dogs’ Personalities Like Their Owner?

In many ways, dogs are like people. They show personalities better than most pet animals and can even display emotions just like humans do.

But did you know dogs can adapt their owner’s personalities to their own?

Studies suggested that dogs mimic their owner’s personalities, traits, and behaviors and adopt them as if it’s theirs.

Dogs observe and watch their masters with how they act, move, and even talk. Like babies that’s learning from their parents, dogs will eventually incorporate some of their owner’s behaviors into theirs.

So what does that mean for you as an owner?

It means your dog will copy most of your habits and behaviors, intentional or not.

If you have a rather large set of list all of your bad habits in your house, you may want to change them slowly. Otherwise, you'll risk your dog copying that bad habit of yours.

how owners influence their dog's personality

How Do Owners Influence Their Dog Personality?

There are many ways pet owners can influence their dog’s behavior. Interactions with your dog teach and condition certain behaviors to them.

So, showing your behaviors and habits is one thing. But how do you shape your dog’s behavior even more?

Owners can train their dogs and disciple them. They can also resort to changing not only their lifestyle but their dog’s as well.

What are Dog Personality Traits – Summary

In summary, dog personality traits are behavioral characteristics of a dog. Dog personality types, on the other hand, contains a specific set of personality for each category.

While breeds dictate dog temperament, the responsibility of shaping your dog’s behavior ultimately falls on you.

You can influence your dog’s personality types through discipline, training, lifestyle, and adapting habits from you.

Understanding what dog personality traits are can help you give an idea of how your dog behaves and what will be your approach in handling your pet.

So the next time you’re asked, “What are dog personality traits,” you now know to better guide your dog’s personality.