TIME psychology

8 Things Your Pet Says About Your Personality

dog and cat
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Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

1) Researchers have established some general conclusions about pets and their owners personalities:

  • Fish owners are happiest.
  • Dog owners are the most fun to be with.
  • Cat owners are the most dependable and emotionally sensitive.
  • Reptile owners are the most independent.

2) Yes, there are differences between cat people and dog people:

  • Dog people were generally about 15 percent more extraverted, 13 percent more agreeable and 11 percent more conscientious than cat people.
  • Cat people were generally about 12 percent more neurotic and 11 percent more open than dog people.

3) According to research by Richard Wiseman, people often see their pets’ personality as a reflection of their own.

So, more often than not, a quick way to find out what someone is like it to ask them to describe their animal friend’s temperament.

4) You can tell a liberal from a conservative by the breed of dog they own.

Via The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion:

We found that people want dogs that fit their own moral matrices. Liberals want dogs that are gentle (i.e., that fit with the values of the Care foundation) and relate to their owners as equals (Fairness as equality). Conservatives, on the other hand, want dogs that are loyal (Loyalty) and obedient (Authority).

5) That guy with the pit bull might be just as scary as his dog:

A study carried out at the University of Leicester’s School of Psychology has found that younger people who are disagreeable are more likely to prefer aggressive dogs, confirming the conventional wisdom that dogs match the personality of their owners.

6) Dog owners are healthier.

Via 59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute:

dog owners coped well with everyday stress, were relaxed about life, had high self-esteem, and were less likely to be diagnosed with depression.

Dogs provided more health benefits than a cat — or a spouse for that matter. Further research showed that at least some of these effects were causal, not correlative.

You don’t even need to own a dog to get some of the stress-relieving benefits: watching a video of a cute animal can reduce heart rate and blood pressure in under a minute. Stuffed animals can improve your immune system.

7) Researchers know the type of person who doesn’t clean up after their dog:

Fewer males (35.3%), those with a lower income (18.2%), and owners who allowed their dogs off the leash (26.2%) cleaned up their dogs’ feces than females (58.2%), those with higher earnings (68.7%), and those who kept their pets on a leash (72.6%).

8) A few other fun facts about pets:

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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