Personalities of dog and cat fans differ

Jan. 13, 2010 at 3:19 PM
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AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- There is a real difference between "dog people" and "cat people," a University of Texas at Austin psychologist says.

Sam Gosling, who conducted the study with graduate student Carson Sandy, says that those who define themselves as dog people are more extroverted, more agreeable and more conscientious than self-described "cat people."

Meanwhile, fans of felines are more neurotic, but more open than their canine-loving counterparts.

"There is a widely held cultural belief that the pet species -- dog or cat -- with which a person has the strongest affinity says something about the individual's personality," Gosling says in a statement. "This research suggests there are significant differences on major personality traits between dog people and cat people."

The researchers asked 4,565 volunteers if they were dog people, cat people, neither or both. The same group was given a 44-item assessment used by psychologists to study personalities.

The findings, published in the journal Anthrozoos, indicate:

-- Forty-six percent described themselves as dog people, 12 percent said they were cat people, almost 28 percent said they were both and 15 percent said they were neither.

-- Dog people were generally about 15 percent more extroverted, 13 percent more agreeable and 11 percent more conscientious than cat people.

-- Cat people were generally about 12 percent more neurotic and 11 percent more open than dog people.

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