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Have you ever wondered what shapes a dog's personality? What makes a dog anxious or aggressive? A lot of people assume dogs’ breeds dictate their personalities: bull dogs tend to be more aggressive, for instance–or so the thinking goes. A study out of Michigan State University, however, suggests that dogs’ personalities are parallel to their owners’. Researchers asked 1600 dog owners about their own personalities and then asked about their pets’. The researchers concluded that owners significantly shape their dogs’ personalities.

I found this research to be interesting because it intimates that stereotypes about dog breeds may not be accurate. The relationship between dog parenting style (if you will) and dogs' personalities is similar to that which mediates parenting style and babies’ personalities. Therefore, instead of judging a dog solely on its breed, we might set up workshops and meetings to educate owners as to how to maintain healthy relationships with their dogs.

I thought that certain breeds of dogs are dangerous until I volunteered at an animal hospital this winter break. One of the doctors would bring her dog to the hospital every day so she could walk it at lunch. The dog is an American bulldog, so I was intimidated at first. Every time I passed by it, I would walk as fast as I could and avoid any eye contact. One day, I saw my coworker playing with the dog. I quickly discovered that it was incredibly sweet and began playing with it myself–and never looked back. The lesson for me is that, just as we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, we shouldn’t judge a dog by its coat.

- Angie Lee, Writer

Source: Megan Schmidt [Dogs and Their Owners Share Similar Personality Traits]

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