At the end of the day, Jules Winnfield, the gangster from Pulp Fiction, gets it right: “A dog’s got personality, and personality goes a long way.” Rachel Licker, who lives with Piper, reminds us exactly why personality is so important. “I hope people really enjoy their dogs being more than just amicable, and give their dogs more leeway to be multi-dimensional beings. I think they might enjoy their dogs more, and I think it would create more space for the dog and owner to be happy together.”
Fratkin, J.L., D.L. Sinn, E.A. Patall, S.D. Gosling. 2013. Personality consistency in dogs: a meta-analysis. PLoS One 8(1): e54907.
Gosling, S.D., V.S.Y. Kwan, O.P. John. 2003. A dog’s got personality: a cross-species comparative approach to personality judgments in dogs and humans. J Pers Soc Psychol 85(6): 1161–1169.
Hsu, Y., J.A. Serpell. 2003. Development and validation of a questionnaire for measuring behaviour and temperament traits in pet dogs. JAVMA 223(9): 1293–1300.
Ley, J., P. Bennett, G. Coleman. 2008. Personality dimensions that emerge in companion canines. Appl Anim Behav Sci 110(3-4): 305–317.
McMillan, F.D., D.L. Duffy, J.A. Serpell. 2011. Mental health of dogs formerly used as ‘breeding stock’ in commercial breeding establishments. Appl Anim Behav Sci 135(1-2): 86–94.
Svartberg, K. “Individual Differences in Behavior—Dog Personality,” in The Behavioural Biology of Dogs, edited by P. Jensen. 2007. Oxfordshire, UK: CABI.
Julie Hecht, MSc, is a PhD student in Animal Behavior and Comparative Psychology at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and a science writer. She would really like to meet your dog. Follow on Facebook and Twitter @DogSpies.