Why We Love The Dogs We Do
Why We Love the Dogs We Do – How to find the dog that matches your personality
by Stanley Coren
“When a dog and its human fit each other well, the resulting bond can make both lives richer and more satisfying. The love for a well-chosen dog can transcend life itself.”
These beautiful words come from Dr. Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology and the author of one of the most insightful books I’ve ever read, ‘Why We Love The Dogs We Do – How To Find The Dog That Matches Your Personality’.
Dr. Coren contrasts the great love some humans demonstrate to their dogs with the sad fact that nearly half of all puppies purchased do not make it through the first year in their new home, ending up returned to their breeders, sold or given away, dropped off at shelters, or cruelly abandonned. Disturbed by the number of unwanted dogs, Dr. Coren decided to study the subject and surveyed over 6000 people to determine what personality traits in humans were complemented by which breeds of dogs. The result is a personality test that pinpoints which types of dogs will be the most successful match for the human.
Another innovative aspect of Dr. Coren’s study is the categorization of dogs into seven classifications. These completely novel groupings of dogs are based on temperament as opposed to the AKC breed groups based on function. The dog groups were developed by Dr. Coren and his team of eleven dog experts. The groups are:
Group 1: Friendly – affectionate and genial dogs (bearded collie, collie, curly-coated retriever, flat-coated retriever, golden retriever, labrador retriever, old english sheepdog, soft-coated wheaten terrier)
Group 2: Protective – territorial and dominant dogs
Group 3: Independent – personable and strong-willed dogs
Group 4: Self-Assured – spontaneous and audacious dogs
Group 5: Consistent – self-contained and home-loving dogs
Group 7: Clever – impulsive and trainable dogs
This book isn’t just a personality test and discussion of the dog groupings – the most compelling and fascinating part of the book is Dr. Coren’s evaluation of famous people and their relationships with their dogs. There are stories and photographs of celebrities, royalty, writers, painters, politicians, and famous professionals from all walks of life. Many of the stories are touching and give you a new, sympathetic perspective on people for whom you may have never felt any compassion – like Richard Nixon who was known to drive around the White House lawn with his Irish Setter King Timahoe seated on the golf cart next to him. Nixon is quoted as explaining, “We’re not really going anywhere, it’s just that Tim likes to ride in the cart and I like to see him happy.“
There is also a list of each breed in Dr. Coren’s study and the names of the famous people who own or have owned that particular breed. For instance, did you know the Bouvier des Flandres has been a favorite pet of comedian Bill Cosby, Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon, Star Wars director/producer George Lucas (who is said to have based the Wookie character Chewbaca on his dog), country singers Barbara Mandell and Reba McEntyre, President Ronald Reagan, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, Beatles drummer Ringo Star and actress Debra Winger? It certainly can be an ego boost to find out that Halle Berry, Matthew Broderick, Uma Thurman or T. Boone Pickens has the same taste in dogs as you do!
In many cases, Dr. Coren also provides the celebrity’s dog’s name which makes this book a super resource for individuals searching for original names for a new pet or a rescue group needing to name dozens of dogs on a frequent basis. In addition, in the book Dr. Coren addresses people who don’t like dogs as well as people who prefer cats.