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Are There Differences Between Dog and Cat People?

All of the theorizing on the differences between dog lovers and cat lovers has some new research to fuel the rivalry. A new study led by Denise Guastello, an associate professor of psychology at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, suggests that “dog people” and “cat people” are quite distinct in their personalities.

People who said they were dog lovers in the study tended to be more lively—meaning they were more energetic and outgoing. They also tended to follow rules closely. Cat lovers, on the other hand, were more introverted, more open-minded and more sensitive than dog lovers. Cat people also tended to be non-conformists, preferring to be question rather than follow the rules. All within reasonable assumptions, but here’s the kicker … the study shows cat owners scoring higher on intelligence than dog lovers.

Study researcher Guastello attributes some of these personality differences to the types of environments cat or dog people prefer. “It makes sense that a dog person is going to be more lively, because they’re going to want to be out there, outside, talking to people, bringing their dog,” Guastello 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.”

The researchers surveyed 600 college students, asking whether they would identify themselves as dog lovers or cat lovers, and what qualities they found most attractive in their pets. Participants also answered a slew of questions to assess their personality.

More people said they were dog lovers than cat lovers: About 60 percent of participants identified themselves as dog people, compared with 11 percent who said they were cat people. (The rest said they liked both animals, or neither animal.)

Dog lovers found companionship to be the most attractive quality in their pet dogs, whole cat people liked the affection from their cats. Because the study involved college students, it’s not known whether the results apply to other age groups, Guastello said. But previous studies have had similar findings. A 2010 study of more than 4,500 people found that dog lovers tend to be more extroverted (or outgoing), and conscientious (or rule-following).

It is to be noted that we could not find out just how the intelligence differential was measured, but it seems highly suspect considering all the factors that would need to be accounted for to get an accurate IQ assessment.

Cameron Woo is The Bark's co-founder and publisher. thebark.com
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Submitted by JoYouDog | May 31 2014 |

Lucky me. I've had two animal soul mates, first a cat and now a dog. Or does it mean that I'm introverted and not very bright?

Submitted by Adele | May 31 2014 |

A couple of things... Even online mags should proofread and edit prior to publishing. There are a number of glaring grammatical errors or typos such as:

"Cat people also tended to be non-conformists, preferring to be question rather than follow the rules."

"All within reasonable assumptions..."

"Dog lovers found companionship to be the most attractive quality in their pet dogs, whole cat people liked the affection from their cats." As opposed to what -- partial cat people? Let's not discuss redundancy either.

Indeed, the findings of higher intelligence among cat people compared to dog people is highly suspect and so is defining "rule following" as conscientiousness. Those who prefer doing the right thing aren't sheep, believe me. The cost of living honestly and doing the right thing (being conscientious) gets higher every day and those who do, are taking the road less traveled in this day and age. Conscientious people are responsible people. So, using the logic put forth by this study, one could actually conclude that cat lovers are irresponsible compared to dog owners. And, the truth is my personal opinion is that dog lovers truly are for the most part more responsible than cat owners, more capable of making decisions and are more often held accountable for their actions. Therefore, the reality is that dog lovers are the more sensitive in nature and certainly the more mature of the two groups. I could go on and on, but I have to run and get "out there" now. Want to guess into which group I fall?

Submitted by K9mensan | May 31 2014 |

As a very introverted dog lover with an official IQ score in the 99.5th percentile who dislikes cats I think the findings are dubious at best.

Submitted by Frances | May 31 2014 |

I am never quite sure where this sort of research leaves those of us who like cats AND dogs! Are we well balanced or conflicted? Best of both or worst of both? Or boringly in the middle?!

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