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Personality Test for Dogs

By Lynn Published: October 7, 2010

Do you want an intelligent dog? An ambitious dog? A social dog? An independent dog? An affectionate dog?

Most shelters and rescue organizations would agree that more dogs are "surrendered" because of behavior problems than for any other reason. Behavior is, of course, in the eye of the beholder and is often a reflection of the pet/pet parent bond or lack thereof.

In her fantastic new book Through a Dog's Eyes, Jennifer Arnold teaches us a bit about testing that is available to determine whether the dog you want to adopt is a good match for  you and your household. As the owner of a therapy dog training facility, Ms. Arnold has learned a bit about what temperament dog is best for training for use by handicapped individuals. What she learned can help the rest of us.

  • Does the puppy seek human interaction?

  • Does the puppy care enough about people to follow them willingly?

  • Is the puppy as interested in maintaining contact with people as in playing?

  • Is the puppy sensitive to touch? Excessively so?

  • Is the puppy afraid of loud noises or have other fears that could develop into phobias?

  • Does the puppy react strongly to visual stimuli? To novel circumstances?

  • Is the puppy confident or fearful?

After basic observation and testing of a puppy, and selection for training based on that, Ms. Arnold's Canine Assistants, tests the dogs more thoroughly after about one year. They use a Canine Behavior Type Index developed by an Australian veterinarian. This test results in a dog being classified as one of 12 profiles

  • Commando

  • Director

  • Defender

  • Sentry

  • Deputy

  • Diplomat

  • Rebel

  • Aristocrat

  • Adventurer

  • Dreamer

  • Investigator

  • Companion

This test is available for free at

Of course the flip side of all of this is knowing what you want. The personality type labels above may help with this task. Of course, you could go get a personality typing test on yourself! That might help you determine what you need as well as what you might want!

I recommend Ms. Arnold's book, and I'll be writing more about it.

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