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
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
- Bull type terriers
- Teacup dogs
- Golden Retriever
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Brachycephalic dogs
- Chinese Crested Dog
- Northern companion spitzes
- Retrievers/Flushing dogs
- Parson type terriers
- Australian Shepherd
- Bichon type dogs
- Mastiff type dogs
- English herders
- Welsh Corgis
- Fighting Dogs
- Labrador Retriever
- Other breed
- Hunting terriers
- Other companion dogs
- Miniatur Pinscher
- Border Collie
The least friendly dog breeds
- Livestock guardian dogs
- Asian primitive breeds
- Primitive sighthounds
- Northern hunting spitzes
- Sled dogs
- German Shepherd Dog
- Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
- Middle European utility dogs
- Smooth Collie
- Lapponian Herder
- Finnish Lapponian Dog
- Miniature Schnauzer
- European sighthounds
- White Swiss Shepherd Dog
- Spanish Water Dog
- German spitz related breeds
- Mixed breed
- Yard terriers
- Belgian shepherd dogs
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Rough Collie
- Bermese Mountain Dogs
- 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.
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.