Understanding personality by understanding companion dogs

Jacqueline Mary Ley, Pauleen Charmayne Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The study of personality is well established in human psychology, with trait theory being perhaps the most widely accepted of the personality theories. Animal personality research has utilized trait theory to identify personality factors in a wide variety of animal species. However, it has been somewhat hampered by attempting to apply human personality dimensions to animals rather than investigating the depth and breadth of personality in individual animal species. Research into animal personality offers human personality researchers the chance to explore the evolution and development of human personality. This can best be done by exploring the expression of personality in other species without restriction to human personality models. This paper suggests that the dog, Canis familiaris, is a suitable species to begin with because of its unique place in human society, its history and familiarity with humans, and its genetic plasticity. A potential structure of canine personality is proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113 - 124
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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