The dog breeds that really ARE man’s best friend – so is YOURS on the list? 


They’re often described as man’s best friend, having been loyal pets for up to 40,000 years.

But a new study suggests that when it comes to getting on with humans, not all dog breeds are equal.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki have revealed the dog breeds with the highest and lowest levels of human sociability.

Their findings suggest that bull type terriers, teacup dogs and golden retrievers are officially ‘man’s best friends’.

In contrast, livestock guardian dogs, Asian primitive breeds and primitive sighthounds are least enamoured in our company.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki have revealed the dog breeds with the highest and lowest levels of human sociability. Pictured: a woman with a bull terrier

Researchers from the University of Helsinki have revealed the dog breeds with the highest and lowest levels of human sociability. Pictured: a woman with a bull terrier

Livestock guardian dogs, such as Border Collies (pictured), Asian primitive breeds and primitive sighthounds are least enamoured in our company

Livestock guardian dogs, such as Border Collies (pictured), Asian primitive breeds and primitive sighthounds are least enamoured in our company

In the study, the team set out to investigate the personality differences between dog breeds.

‘The breed of the dog is the most important determinant underlying personality differences,’ said Dr Milla Salonen, lead author of the study.

‘All dogs are individuals, and all breeds have different traits, but the breeds differ in what kind of personality most dogs within each breed have.’

The team collected an enormous behavioural survey dataset containing information on 11,000 dogs across 300 different breeds. 

These were were then categorised into 52 groups.

The most friendly dog breeds 

  1. Bull type terriers
  2. Teacup dogs
  3. Golden Retriever
  4. Jack Russell Terrier 
  5. Dachshunds
  6. Brachycephalic dogs
  7. Whippet
  8. Chinese Crested Dog
  9. Northern companion spitzes
  10. Retrievers/Flushing dogs
  11. Parson type terriers
  12. Schapendoes 
  13. Australian Shepherd
  14. Pointers
  15. Poodles
  16. Bichon type dogs
  17. Mastiff type dogs
  18. English herders
  19. Welsh Corgis
  20. Fighting Dogs
  21. Labrador Retriever
  22. Other breed
  23. Hunting terriers
  24. Other companion dogs
  25. Miniatur Pinscher
  26. Border Collie 

 

The least friendly dog breeds 

  1. Livestock guardian dogs
  2. Asian primitive breeds
  3. Primitive sighthounds
  4. Northern hunting spitzes
  5. Sled dogs
  6. Pinscher/Schnauzers
  7. German Shepherd Dog
  8. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  9. Middle European utility dogs
  10. Smooth Collie 
  11. Lapponian Herder
  12. Finnish Lapponian Dog
  13. Miniature Schnauzer
  14. European sighthounds
  15. White Swiss Shepherd Dog
  16. Spanish Water Dog
  17. German spitz related breeds
  18. Mixed breed
  19. Yard terriers
  20. Belgian shepherd dogs
  21. Scenthounds
  22. Shetland Sheepdog
  23. Rough Collie
  24. Bermese Mountain Dogs
  25. Lagotto Romagnolo

The data revealed a strong link between breed and seven personality traits.

These were insecurity, training focus, aggressiveness/dominance, energy, dog sociability, human sociability, and perseverance.’

In terms of human sociability, bull type terriers topped the list, followed by teacup dogs, Golden Retrievers, Jack Russell Terriers and Dachshunds.

At the other end of the scale, livestock guardian dogs, Asian primitive breeds, primitive sighthounds and Northern hunting spitzes were found to be the least sociable with humans.

In terms of human sociability, bull type terriers topped the list, followed by teacup dogs, Golden Retrievers (pictured), Jack Russell Terriers and Dachshunds.

In terms of human sociability, bull type terriers topped the list, followed by teacup dogs, Golden Retrievers (pictured), Jack Russell Terriers and Dachshunds.

At the other end of the scale, livestock guardian dogs, Asian primitive breeds like the Chow Chow (pictured), primitive sighthounds and Northern hunting spitzes were found to be the least sociable with humans

At the other end of the scale, livestock guardian dogs, Asian primitive breeds like the Chow Chow (pictured), primitive sighthounds and Northern hunting spitzes were found to be the least sociable with humans

Aside from breed, several other factors were also found to influence a dog’s sociability with humans.

Female dogs were found to score more highly than male dogs, while human sociability decreased with age.

Based on the findings, the researchers suggest that regardless of the breed, dog owners should try to familiarise their pets with humans from an early age.

‘Our findings indicate that new owners should familiarize their puppies as much as possible with unfamiliar people, places and animals,’ Dr Salonen said.

‘Of course, socialization must always be done on the puppy’s terms, which means that the puppy must not be forced into frightening situations.’

The study comes shortly after research revealed that owners with good relationships with their dog actually have the same personality as them.

These doting dog parents match with their pup on levels of warmth, enjoyment of outdoor exercise and selflessness with possessions.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany reviewed 29 published papers on dog-owner relationships. 

This revealed that strong bonds were also fostered when the dog was actually more open, agreeable and neurotic than their human.



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