How Your Dog’s Breed May Influence Their Personality

By Sarah Hinds Friedl on May 22nd, 2024

Does your dog’s breed affect their personality? 

You might remember seeing this topic in the BreezeGuard blog a couple of years ago! At that time, we found that much of the science agrees that breed is only a small portion, about 10 to 15%, of what goes into making your dog their unique self. Other factors like early life experiences and training are also important indicators of how your dog’s personality develops.

That being said, 10% is not insignificant! And, learning more about breed characteristics could help you give your dog the kind of lifestyle that aligns with their genes. In this article, we’re going to cover some of the quirks, energy levels, and other traits that could have to do with your dog’s breed. 

The Herding Dogs
When we think of herding dogs, our minds immediately go to the quintessential Border Collie. But this group also includes dogs such as the Belgian Malinois, German Shepherd, and even the Pembroke Welsh Corgi! Any dog with a background in herding sheep, cattle, goats, or other livestock may show some of the following traits:

  • Alertness
  • Eagerness to learn
  • Superior problem-solving skills
  • Seemingly endless energy
  • Athleticism (yes, even the Corgis!)

To keep your herding dog happy, it will be important to find the right levels of mental stimulation and exercise for them. A simple game of fetch might not be enough to satisfy them, but something like frisbee, which requires timing and precision, or an obstacle course could be the next level challenge they need. 

The Working Dogs
At first glance, the wide range of breeds included in this category seems a bit all over the place, with Huskies, Newfoundlands, Akitas, Doberman, Mastiffs, Saint Bernards, being lumped together. But what all working dogs have in common is that they were originally developed to perform some kind of manual job, be it rescue, personal protection, sled-pulling, or livestock guarding. As such, here are some common characteristics of working dogs:

  • Observant
  • Loyal to their family or one specific person
  • Independent thinkers
  • Possibly territorial or distrusting of strangers
  • Fearless
  • Quick to learn

To keep a working dog happy, you’ll want to, well, keep them working! These dogs love a challenge and will jump at the opportunity to have their intelligence and strength put to the test. Whether you’re training your Husky to pull you on cross country skis (a sport called Skijoring) or playing fetch at the lake with your water-loving Labrador (they were originally bred for water rescue), tailoring your activities to your dog’s original job title is a wonderful way to bond with them.

The Sighthounds
Sighthounds are a unique family of dog breeds that originated in the Middle East, where their incredible speed and sight made them ideal hunting partners in wide open spaces. Today, you can find sighthounds all over the world in modern breeds such as Greyhounds, Salukis, and the Irish Wolfhound. Here are a few traits common to sighthounds:

  • High prey drive
  • Short bursts of energy
  • Tunnel vision (sighthounds are prone to hyperfocus when they see something that triggers their chase instinct)
  • Low energy at home

Because they were bred for short sprints (they were often carried on camels until the very last part of the hunt), sighthounds are mostly laid-back dogs who are perfectly fine to laze around at home. They do need socialization with other dogs and small animals and will need a daily outlet for any built-up zoomies.

For easily distracted dogs like sighthounds (and all dogs with a chase instinct), installing BreezeGuards Screens can give you peace of mind when you’re driving! That’s because even if something enticing catches their eye, the screen will keep them safely in the backseat. 

The Digging Dogs
The word terrier comes from Latin, meaning “of the earth” and that’s exactly what these small to medium size dogs were designed for: digging up dirt to hunt vermin! Yorkshire Terriers, for instance, were miniaturized in order to fit in the deep pockets of miners who brought them down into the mines to hunt rats. Others, like the Fox Terrier, needed the tenacity to follow foxes and other larger animals into their underground dens. So, it’s no surprise that these dogs have some of the following characteristics:

  • Strong instinct to dig
  • Stubborn determination
  • Fearlessness
  • Pushiness
  • High energy and big personalities

Terriers are a lot of fun, but new owners to the breed are often overwhelmed by their strong will. In order to have a good relationship with a dog in the terrier group, it’s important to learn what makes them most willing to comply (usually tasty treats) instead of trying to force them into following your rules. They also need a surprising amount of exercise for those little legs. 

The Non-sporting Group

Some dogs were bred for the sole purpose of keeping us company, and we absolutely love them for it. These aptly named companion dogs include the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Boston Terrier, Bichon Frise, and others. While each breed does have a distant relative who once performed some kind of work (the tiny Boston Terrier can be traced all the way back to ancient bear-and-lion-fighting mastiff breeds), their modern form is all about being friendly, easy-going, and absolutely pampered. And although this group is the most difficult to group together in terms of personality, don’t be surprised to see the following traits in a non-sporting dog:

  • Desire to be with people most of the time
  • Sensitive demeanor
  • Low to medium energy 

Like all dogs, members of the non-sporting group will still need daily exercise to be happy and healthy! And, they are happiest in homes in which they can spend plenty of quality time with their favorite humans.

Does your dog fit their breed personality?
So, is your dog a spot-on example of their breed sample? Or does their personality completely break the mold? No matter how much their breed influences their personality, the best thing you can do is get to know their specific energy levels, habits, and adorable quirks!


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