Recent studies are pointing towards confirming the myth that dog owners and cat owners do have differing personalities. Associate professor Denise Guastello believes that these differences can be due to the preferred environments of cat and dog people. “It makes sense that a dog person is livelier, because they're going to want to be out there, outside, talking to people, bringing their dog," she said. “Whereas, if you're more introverted, and sensitive, maybe you're more at home reading a book, and your cat doesn't need to go outside for a walk.”
Research was conducted on 600 colleague students. Among them, 60 percent identified themselves as dog people while 11 percent said they were cat people. The rest stated no preference or that they liked neither. They were asked if they are dog or cat lovers as well as about an attractive quality of their pet. These questions plus additional ones aimed to assess the personality traits of the student.
Dog lovers in the study were found to be more outgoing and spirited while the cat lovers were more reserved but more liberal than dog lovers. Also, cat lovers tend to be less compliant than dog lovers, being more pragmatic rather than to abide by the rules. Findings showed that dog and cat lovers found companionship and affection respectively to be an attractive quality in their pet. It is possible that people choose their pets based on their own personality. One controversial finding was that cat lovers in the study were found to be intelligent compared to dog lovers. Past studies have had similar outcomes. In 2010, a study done on more than 4500 people also found that dog lovers were more extroverted.
Since the study participants were solely college students, the findings may not generalized. However studies such as these may be helpful in improving pet therapy. “[It will allow] better matches between owners and pets who participate in pet therapy,” Guastello shared.