Sayings like ‘A man is known by the company he keeps’ or ‘A man’s character is revealed by the shoes he wears’ are old and outdated. If you want to know whether the cutie you met at the pub or in the market is right for you, follow him to the park when he is out walking his dog. Recent research has re-written the rules of social connection.
Now, the modern man is known by the dog he pets!
Traditionalists have forever believed that dogs match the personality of their owners. However, if modern researchers are to be believed, it isn’t cohabitation that makes the dog like its owner. The process begins much earlier than that, in the deep recesses of the mind of the owner. Young people who are less agreeable or friendly in nature when compared to their peers are more likely to have aggressive dogs for pets. The breeds most preferred by people with markedly low agreeableness are Boxers, German Shepherd, Bull Terrier etc, believed researchers from the University of Leicester’s School of Psychology.
This study, however, does not suggest that a preference for aggressive and menacing looking dogs has any connection to streaks of delinquency in the owners but merely reflects their less agreeable social standing. It is a common belief that people with such intimidating dogs are ‘show offs’ and the reason behind men having Boxers or Terriers for pets is to impress the ladies. However, this finding negates such theories.
“This study is important as it shows assumptions are not the whole picture. It is assumed that owners of aggressive dogs are anti-social show offs. But we did not find such persons had committed more delinquent acts,” said Dr Vincent Egan, lead researcher on this study.
So next time you see a man walking in the park with a German Shepherd or a Bull Terrier or a Boxer on leash, you know how to judge his personality. What do you think about those who own a Mastiff or a Labrador, then? And a Chihuahua?