Dog personalities

Just like human personalities, there are many, quite different, dog personalities. Much of this is governed by breed, but it’s a mistake to believe that all dogs of a certain breed are calm, or hyper-active, or aggressive.

Because, in truth, all dogs are different. And so rather than making assumptions about dog personalities based solely on the breed, it’s important to identify what your dog’s temperament is.

This will allow you to tailor your training methods to be most effective. And it also lets you understand why your dog behaves the way they do, and helps you to know the best way to socialize them.

So let’s take a look at some of the main different types of dog personalities.

 There are many different dog personalities. Much of this is governed by breed, but it's a mistake to believe all dogs of a certain breed are the same.

Types of dog personalities

Bear in mind that your dog may not fit exactly into any of the categories below. There are dozens of variations of dog personalities and those listed here are just a guide.

And your dog may show elements of more than one of these types.

Compliant / adaptable dogs

Compliant and adaptable dogs are eager to please. They often learn quickly, making them easy to train. They work best when their training is kept upbeat and positive.

If you try to be too harsh or firm then you’ll upset them. And this will make training them a lot more difficult.

These types of dogs get along with with anyone – people, dogs, even other animals such as cats.

Relaxed dogs

Relaxed dogs do things at their own pace. This pace is often slow! They often take longer to train than other dogs, but they’ll get there in the end if you treat them in the right way.

You’ll need to be firm, but patient with them. And give them lots of praise when they get something right.

You should also avoid harsh commands or you’ll upset them.

High energy dogs

High energy dogs are excitable, and can be distracted with ease. They’d much rather just play around with you than do any kind of training.

A firm hand is important for these dogs. But it’s also important to stay calm and relaxed, or you’ll just get them wound up.

Patience is a virtue when it comes to these dogs. You should also keep training sessions short as they tend to have a short attention span.

Again, avoid any form of harshness and give praise in a quiet, relaxed voice.

Stubborn dogs

Stubborn dogs are often thought of as lacking intelligence, but in reality the opposite is true.

They’re often highly intelligent dogs, who know exactly how far they can push the boundaries.

If you let them, then they’ll turn their back on you and flatly ignore your commands.

It goes without saying that you’ll need to be incredibly patient and persistent with these dogs.

But don’t try to turn it into a battle of wills because there’ll only be one winner. And it won’t be you!

If you’re harsh with stubborn dogs, or try to force them to do things against their will, you risk losing their trust.

Shy dogs

Shy dogs need careful handling. These dogs tend to be fearful and timid, and they don’t like uncomfortable or unusual situations.

Harsh treatment or a loud voice will just turn them into a quivering mess, making them even more timid and shy.

So you need to stay calm and you must keep your tone soft and gentle. And also give them lots of praise and encouragement to reassure them.

Training is often an excellent way to bring these dogs out of their shell and build their confidence.

Aggressive dogs

Training aggressive dogs is a task often best left to a professional.

Aggressive dogs will respond to any command with aggression, growling, bristling, and even attacking if you persist.

The best advice is, don’t chance it. Get an expert to do it instead.


There are many different dog personalities, the main ones of which are described above. You should adjust your training methods for your dog based on their personality type.

Bear in mind that these dog personalities are only a guide and that every dog, regardless of breed, size or gender, is an individual.

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