As pet owners and animal lovers, we ascribe a lot of human traits to the cats and dogs in our lives. (After all, we’re preoccupied with figuring out whether our cats or dogs love us. Here’s a hint, though: They definitely do!) Just as people have personalities, pets have their own unique temperaments and characteristics. And, according to a fascinating study by Perky-Pet, we’ve come to associate at least a few traits with cats, dogs, and even specific dog breeds.
Below, check out some of the traits that your friends or family might ascribe to your pet.
1. Dogs are more comforting than cats
Perky-Pet asked survey respondents to rate dogs and cats on different personality characteristics. The first up? The ability of each kind of pet to be a comforting presence for their owners. Dogs came out ahead with this personality characteristic. That might be because many cats only hang out with their owners when they feel like it — unlike dogs, who are happy to cuddle and comfort their owners any time.
2. Dogs are more disciplined than cats, too
Interestingly enough, Perky-Pet also found more survey respondents characterize dogs over cats as “disciplined.” Some pups are certainly more disciplined about staying off the furniture or listening to your commands than others. But dogs definitely have a reputation for being a lot easier to train than cats. (Cats are primarily disciplined about napping and giving themselves baths.)
3. Cats are more assertive than dogs
Perky-Pet reports most survey respondents consider cats more assertive than dogs. Dogs might be able to make more noise when they want to go outside or think it’s time for you to feed them. But any cat owner will tell you that cats have their own ways of getting what they want. Some cats will knock your water glass off the table. Others will intentionally defy your instructions. Still, other cats will loudly meow to tell you it’s time for food — all evidence that cats really are assertive little animals.
4. Cats are smarter than dogs
This one will definitely be a controversial opinion among dog owners. There’s scientific evidence that cats are just as smart as dogs. But more Perky-Pet survey respondents said that cats are smart. That could be because though there are lots of intelligent dog breeds, there are plenty of dogs that are a little slower to learn or a bit more difficult to train. Meanwhile, most people don’t own purebred cats, so a particularly bright cat might convince them that cats are, across the board, smarter than dogs.
5. Dogs are more energetic than cats
Perky-Pet’s survey respondents also weighed in on which animals are the most energetic. It’s no surprise that they decided that dogs are more energetic than cats. While dogs run around the yard, play catch and fetch, and love taking walks around the neighborhood, cats are content to nap on your couch. They probably sprint across the living room occasionally, but probably only to capture a toy or go after an insect.
6. Dogs are friendlier than cats
Another Perky-Pet survey finding that probably won’t come as a surprise to people who own or have owned cats? Respondents reported that dogs are friendlier than cats. While some dogs are nervous around strangers and need to be convinced that houseguests aren’t a threat, many dogs are happy to meet new people and make new friends. Many cats, on the other hand, often hide when houseguests arrive. And some might not even be that friendly with their owners either.
7. Dogs are happier than cats
Scientists may not be able to tell us for sure whether dogs or cats are happy living with their human families. But most of us can get an idea of whether our pets are happy or grumpy about their living arrangements. More Perky-Pet respondents said that dogs are more happy than cats. One possible reason why? Dogs have a reputation as happy-go-lucky pets, while cats have a much grumpier reputation.
8. Cats are more cautious than dogs
Perky-Pet survey respondents also evaluated which kind of pet is the most cautious. Cats came out ahead of dogs in that regard. While many dogs are happy to say hello to any newcomer or investigate any situation, cats often like to survey the scene from afar. They might even be cautious about displaying their affection for their owners (unlike dogs, who aren’t at all shy about making their attachment known).
9. Chihuahuas are assertive, but cautious
The people who responded to Perky-Pet’s survey also answered questions about the personality characteristics they associate with different dog breeds. Survey respondents reported that Chihuahuas, for instance, are assertive little dogs. In fact, they were the most assertive dog breed, according to survey respondents. But despite the bluster, respondents also characterized the breed as cautious.
10. Yorkies are energetic and assertive, but still one of the most comforting breeds
Perky-Pet survey respondents characterized Yorkshire terriers as energetic and assertive. That probably won’t surprise anybody who’s spent time with one of these independent little dogs. However, people who responded to the survey also crowned the Yorkshire terrier as one of the most comforting breeds. That may be because Yorkies are happy to be your companion wherever you go. They quickly get attached to their owners and will happily spend all day cuddled up next to you.
11. German shepherds are energetic and assertive
People who responded to Perky-Pet’s survey crowned the German shepherd as one of the most energetic dogs. They also characterized the breed as one of the most assertive dog breeds you can own. But German shepherds make great family dogs, so survey respondents also cited them as one of the most comforting dog breeds, as well as one of the smartest and most disciplined.
12. Shih Tzus are energetic, assertive, and friendly
Perky-Pet’s survey also revealed that people think of the Shih Tzu as an energetic and friendly little dog. The breed also made the list of the most assertive dogs. (Respondents might be talking about the breed’s propensity for barking to get what they want or to get their owners’ attention.) The breed also made the list of the happiest dogs. Respondents also named the Shih Tzu one of the smartest and most disciplined dogs — a claim that may be a little controversial among Shih Tzu owners.
13. Golden retrievers are energetic and friendly, but also cautious
The golden retriever is another dog breed that earned a lot of praise from Perky-Pet survey respondents. In fact, they ranked as the most disciplined and the most cautious dog breed. (Some pet owners with particularly open goldens might contest that claim!) The golden retriever also earns the top mark as the friendliest and happiest dog breed, which does sound pretty accurate.
14. Pit bulls are energetic, but friendly
Perky-Pet survey respondents characterized pit bulls as one of the most comforting breeds (even more comforting than Yorkies, poodles, and German shepherds). Survey respondents also characterized them as one of the most disciplined breeds. And they make the list of the smartest dog breeds, according to the people surveyed by Perky-Pet. The company notes though people often characterize pit bulls as a dangerous and unpredictable breed, there’s no scientific evidence that pit bulls are any different from other dog breeds. So, as Perky-Pet notes, it’s not surprising to hear about pit bulls’ lovable nature.
15. Poodles are cautious, but comforting
Poodles impressed Perky-Pet survey respondents in a couple categories of characteristics. Respondents characterized these intelligent and alert dogs as cautious. They also reported that these reserved dogs are comforting pets, perhaps referring to the breed’s famous loyalty to their owners. In fact, poodles make great family dogs, and they make great companions for adults and children alike.
16. Dachshunds are cautious and smart
The dachshund is another dog breed that survey respondents characterized as “cautious.” These intelligent dogs also made the list of the smartest dog breeds, according to the people who responded to Perky-Pet’s survey. Both claims will probably be unsurprising for anybody who’s owned or spent time with one of these spunky little dogs.
17. Labrador retrievers are cautious, but also one of the friendliest breeds
The Labrador retriever is the most popular dog in America, so it’s no surprise that the people who answered Perky-Pet’s survey had several things to say about this lovable breed. They characterized this breed as cautious but also crowned it one of the friendliest types of dogs. Survey respondents also cite Labrador retrievers as one of the happiest breeds. Surprisingly enough for these happy-go-lucky dogs, survey respondents also consider one of the most disciplined dog breeds.
18. Beagles are one of the friendliest — and most comforting — breeds
The beagle routinely makes it onto lists of the best family dogs. So it’s no surprise to hear that Perky-Pet survey respondents characterize the breed as one of the friendliest you can own. The beagle also appeared on the list of the most comforting dog breeds, a claim that most beagle owners will be happy to corroborate.