What does your dog say about you?
Dr Vincent Egan from our School of Psychology has led a study into the reasons why some people prefer aggressive dog breeds.
Participants indicated their preference for different types of dogs, and filled in personality tests. The dogs were independently rated according to how aggressive people perceived them to be. Bull terriers were rated as most aggressive, followed by boxers; retrievers and cocker spaniels were seen as least aggressive.
Analysing the findings, the research team found that certain personality factors indicated a preference for dogs perceived to be more aggressive. Low Agreeableness was found to be the best predictor of a preference for those dogs seen as more aggressive, such as bull terriers or boxers. Individuals low in Agreeableness are typically less concerned with others' well-being and may be suspicious, unfriendly and competitive.
However, the study found no link between liking an aggressive dog and delinquent behaviour, or the possibility that liking an aggressive dog is an act of 'status display' to show off or attract romantic partners.