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Study: More Hostile People Own Aggressive-Type Dogs

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File photo of a caged Rottweiler. (credit: FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a caged Rottweiler. (credit: FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE (CBS Charlotte) — A new study finds that the type of dog someone has is tied into the person’s personality.

The study – conducted by psychologists Deborah Wells and Peter Hepper at the Queen’s University Belfast – concluded that people who have a more hostile behavior will get aggressive dogs, while those people more laid back will get a docile dog.

“This might imply (although has yet to be proven) that people choose pets that are an extension of themselves,” Wells told LiveScience in an email.

LiveScience reports that Wells and Hepper conducted the survey with 147 dog owners from Northern Ireland obedience classes and only used owners of German shepherds, Rottweilers, Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers.

According to LiveScience, Wells and Hepper found that those who owned German shepherds and Rottweilers scored higher in psychoticism, a personality trait of aggressiveness.

“We deliberately wanted to focus on breeds that are commonly owned, but at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of public perception of temperament — both German shepherds and Rottweilers are commonly perceived to be aggressive, while labs and retrievers (breeds frequently used to advertise organizations such as Guide Dogs for the Blind) are more likely to [be] regarded in a nonaggressive light,” Wells told LiveScience.

The study will be published in the October 2012 issue of Personality and Individual Differences.

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