Curious Cocker Spaniel and loyal Jack Russell owners: Research reveals what dog breed choices says about an owner

  • Defining personality traits of popular dog breeds revealed by new research
  • The statistics show that people often unconsciously select breeds that match their own personality
  • However, half of people who chose a dog based on its personality and looks, rather than how well it fits their lifestyle, say they cannot meet all their dog's needs
  • The Kennel Club urges would-be owners to find their ‘pawfect’ personality match at Discover Dogs this weekend, bringing together 200 different breeds

New research has revealed that Jack Russell owners, like King Charles and the Queen Consort, are the most loyal, whilst Cocker Spaniel owners, like Prince William and Princess Kate, top the list for being most curious and family-orientated.

The research, carried out by The Kennel Club ahead of its Discover Dogs event this weekend (15-16 October), revealed what the dominant personality traits are for the owners of some of the UK’s most popular and well-loved breeds.

The top five most dominant personality traits that defined Jack Russell owners are:

  1. 88% agree they are loyal and faithful
  2. 87% agree that they like to help others
  3. 84% agree that they are friendly
  4. 83% agree that they are trustworthy
  5. And 82% agree that they are good listeners

Similarly, owners of Cocker Spaniels, like the Prince and Princess of Wales, had dominant personality traits of loyalty (85%), helping others (84%) and trustworthiness (83%), but also amongst their top five traits were curiosity (81%) and being family-orientated (83%).

The research also revealed which owners ranked the most highly for certain personality traits when compared to those who own other breeds:

  • Springer Spaniel – Most traditional, reserved, and punctual
  • Border Terrier  – Most charming, lively and exuberant
  • Cocker Spaniel –  Most creative and family-orientated
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier – Most affectionate and trustworthy
  • Jack Russell Terrier and Miniature Schnauzer – Most loyal and faithful

Based on the Big Five traits, a common way of evaluating personalities, the research saw owners of the UK’s most popular dog breeds ranked against personality statements, which can be used to reveal their levels of extroversion, openness, agreeableness, emotional stability and conscientiousness.

Those who enjoy new experiences, have lots of hobbies and enjoy taking risks, suggesting they rank the highest within the ‘openness’ personality trait, owned Whippets, and those owners who ranked most emotionally stable, stating they were positive and happy, had Golden Retrievers. Owners who displayed the highest level of conscientiousness, including being organised and preferring to stick to the rules, had Miniature Schnauzers.

Those that ranked the most highly on traits relating to agreeableness and traits relating to extroversion, and came out on top overall across the Big Five, owned Pomeranians.

The research also showed similarities between owners and their breed, indicating people unconsciously select dogs that reflect their own personalities:

  • Golden Retrievers are known to be happy in temperament, and their owners ranked as the happiest and most positive, compared to owners of other breeds
  • Staffies have affectionate personalities, much like their owners who ranked as the most affectionate
  • Jack Russell Terriers are described as friendly, the third most dominant characteristic owners recognise in themselves

However, the research also showed that whilst people might select breeds they feel an affinity with, owners aren’t always so good at selecting dogs that match their lifestyle. With 63% choosing their four-legged friend based on looks or following their heart, rather than their head, 50% of those then admit they can’t offer their dog everything that they need. For those who did lots of research, saying they spent a long time understanding every aspect of their breed before buying, 88% agree their canine companion is the perfect match for their personality and lifestyle.

Bill Lambert, spokesperson for The Kennel Club which runs the Discover Dogs event, said: “It appears that we can often tell a lot about a person from the type of dog that they own, with the dominant personality traits of Jack Russell owners – owned by the likes of King Charles – being their loyalty, generous spirit for helping others and their trustworthiness.

“Each breed has distinct characteristics, traits and care needs, which helps would-be owners understand more about whether they might be a good fit for them. It is quite striking to see how many people unconsciously select dog breeds with personalities that match their own character, showing that birds of a feather really do flock together.

“However, it is also shocking to see how many people say that they choose with their hearts, not their heads, when finding a pet, and how many admit they can’t provide for all their dog’s needs. Our Discover Dogs event in London on 15 and 16 October is a unique chance for people to get up close and personal with almost 200 different breeds, to find their perfect match.”

More information about finding the right breed and tickets for Discover Dogs are available at