Puppy personality matching is so very important to ensuring your precious puppies are adopted by people they’re compatible with. The welfare of their dogs and their owners is uppermost in the minds of ethical dog breeders. This is why they personality match their puppies to their best-fit owners. In this way owners end up with a dog they can not just tolerate, but adore and live happily ever after with. Such care by the breeder engenders a strong commitment to their dogs by owners and an enduring relationship between them, and dramatically reduces the risk of dogs being abandoned.
A Dog Breed’s Temperament is Far from Typical
While every breed has its “typical” temperament, every dog is an individual just like people are, and a range of personality types within breeds is the norm just as it is within human races. This was in fact one of the main findings from the Q-BARQ survey conducted by Professor James Serpell which surveyed the behavior of thousands of dogs. You can listen to and read about it in the interview I did with Professor Serpell about choosing a dog here.
It is said that you can predict a fair bit about a puppy’s personality by that of it’s parents. But even then, it’s not uncommon to get extroverts and introverts within the same litter, as in the litter I provide a case study on of Puppy Personality Matching below.
What is Puppy Personality Matching?
Puppy Personality Matching involves having owners complete an Owner Questionnaire or Quiz like the free one here. Breeders use the results to ascertain what temperament puppy would suit their owners best. At seven weeks old, the breeder then runs puppies through personality tests (like the 8 simple tests we developed available here). The puppy’s personality is revealed by how they score. The breeder uses this information to match owners with their best fit puppy. This ensures that inexperienced owners or those with very small children don’t end up with incompatibly cheeky, boisterous dogs that may instead be sought after by more confident owners.
Puppy Personality Matching in Practice
This is a case study of Puppy Personality Matching of an actual litter of six Miniature Schnauzer puppies. It illustrates the kind of information breeders can gather from prospective owners and how we can use it for puppy personality matching to their ideal temperament puppy in the litter. Breeders can also use the puppy personality test results to provide tailored guidance to owners on the best way to get the most out of their new puppy based on its temperament and their ownership style.
Perfect Match 1: The Whiteheads
The Whiteheads grew up with dogs. While neither partner had ever personally owned one as adults, they were committed to actively training their new puppy and willing to enforce basic discipline. Their son is a strapping boy in his early teens likely to enjoy a lively, active puppy, and be able to give it the level of interaction and play one with a medium energy level would relish.
The family expressed a preference for a salt and pepper boy and there was just one puppy like that in the litter. We would have swapped them over to the other boy in the litter, a black and silver, if it had been a better match. However, the personality tests for each of the boys showed they were pretty similar in temperament, so we decided to allocate Mr Salt and Pepper to them.
Profile of Mr Salt and Pepper
This puppy is a sociable and friendly fellow with a moderate energy level. He is well suited to an active life and should prove highly trainable. Though perhaps a little too energetic to suit homes with infants, or to co-exist with small, timid pets, he is likely to get along very well with the Whiteheads.
Their commitment to ongoing training and regular exercise with their new puppy will bring out the best in him. In turn, his outgoing, happy personality will be a source of ongoing joy for them all.
Perfect Match 2: The Hatfulls
The Hatfulls were an older couple who not only grew up with dogs, but had clocked up over a decade of personal ownership experience. They knew what they’re doing and indicated they’d be training their puppy and enforcing basic manners and discipline throughout its life. While I counted them as strong owners, they needed a dog that would also be safe around their little grandchildren.
The family wanted a girl, preferably black or black and silver, but weren’t terribly set on the colour. We had two black and silver girls in this litter. One was a gentle, quiet and slightly introverted puppy and the other still gentle, but a little more outgoing. We decided to allocate the more introverted puppy to a mature, experienced home without children.
Profile of Gracie
Gracie’s temperament sat midway between the submissive/cooperative profile (considered safest with small children and best for first time owners), and the sociable/friendly one that had a little more spark and cheek. We believed the Hatfulls, with their confident ownership style, would really enjoy this puppy and be well placed to keep her slight natural exuberance in line. Gracie is likely to become a highly trainable and cooperative dog who gets on well with everyone.
Perfect Match 3: The Walters
The Walter family had never owned a dog before and did not grow up with them either. Like families with infants, their best match was a gentle, cooperative little dog that would be easy to train and get along with. Their commitment to ongoing training and enforcement of basic manners, plus twice daily walks looked set to ensure they got the most enjoyment and satisfaction out of their new fur-kid.
Their preference was for a girl, salt and pepper if possible. We had two salt and pepper girls in this litter, one an outgoing, friendly type and the other a gentle, submissive type. Due to their lack of experience we allocated the gentler girl to them.
Profile of Mochi
Mochi fit almost perfectly into the gentle, submissive temperament type. This personality is ideal for first time owners and has a natural desire to cooperate with humans. Mochi with her calmness and ease of training was ideal for the Walters.
Perfect Match 4: Margaret’s Puppy
Margaret was an active, mature lady with no children. Though she grew up with dogs, she’d only owned a dog personally for less than 5 years. Her last ownership experience was slightly problematic, so despite her experience as a dog owner this made matching her with a gentle, cooperative pup a high priority.
Margaret preferred a girl puppy. We decided Daisy was a good match for her.
Profile of Daisy
Daisy is a gentle dog that is happiest in quiet company. Her personality test score signified her as submissive and eager to please people. A bit of an introvert, Daisy is going to enjoy the quiet but active life that Margaret offers. As a Miniature Schnauzer, Daisy is sure to relish the twice daily walks she will be blessed with, while being easy to handle and a joy to accompany. Margaret’s commitment to socialize her thoroughly with frequent daily positive exposure to the world, particularly throughout their first month together, will help to build Daisy’s confidence, bring her out of her shell, and overcome Daisy’s slight tendency towards fearfulness.
Perfect Match 5: Hick Family
The Hick family were strong dog owners, having both grown up with dogs and clocked up over a decade of ownership experience without difficulties. They described themselves as capable of providing strong leadership to their new puppy, and relished the prospect of having a smart, intelligent dog with heaps of personality. However, owing to the presence of both young and older children in the family, a kid-friendly dog was a must.
The Hicks desired a female dog, preferably with salt and pepper or black and silver colouring.
Hick Puppy Profile
This little girl is a happy, bouncy dog that loves to meet people. In our Perfect Match Puppy Personality Quiz she scored as the typical sociable-friendly profile. Sociable, friendly dogs are easy to train, exuberant and clever. Personality-plus little characters like her respond beautifully to a firm, capable hand like the Hicks are able to offer. Her new family enjoys excellent health and are committed to providing their new puppy with the daily exercise she requires to be a happy and sane companion. Thorough socialization during puppyhood, plus their able supervision and correction will ensure she grows up to be safe around the children in the family.
Perfect Match 6: Kate’s Puppy
Kate was a mature lady with many years of ownership experience. Describing herself as able to provide strong leadership for her puppy, she nevertheless preferred one no smarter than herself!
There were no children sharing Kate’s home with her, so owning a bold outgoing puppy would present no difficulties or challenges to overcome.
Kate’s preference was for a boy, preferably with black and silver colouring. It turned out that our one black and silver boy in this litter was a great match for her.
Kate’s Puppy Profile
This little guy is a happy-go-lucky black and silver fella whose profile revealed him to be sociable and friendly with gentle tendencies.
Such a puppy will thrive under Kate’s able supervision.
His medium energy level is well suited to her determination to take him for a 30 to 40 minute daily walk, curbed slightly by his slight leaning toward the calm and gentle temperament profile.
So that’s how ethical caring breeders can use puppy personality testing alongside quizzing their prospective owners to create forever homes for their puppies and years of fun and joy for their owners :). Puppy Personality Matching is just one way great breeders combat the problem of unwanted dogs in our society.