LIFE

The Personality Differences Between Cat And Dog People Are Exactly What You'd Expect

With one startling exception.

10/06/2017 6:56 PM AEST | Updated 10/06/2017 6:56 PM AEST

When it comes to classifying 'cat' and 'dog' people, there are two pretty distinct stereotypes. A dog lover is a ball of boundless, lovable energy potentially lacking in the smarts department; whereas a cat lover is a shrewd introvert who could take or leave your affection, frankly.

But is there any actual science to back up the difference between the two camps?

"There has actually been a bit of research done on the topic, believe it or not," Dr Pauleen Bennett, Director of the Anthrozoology Research Group, tells HuffPost Australia. "There are three or four papers that look at personality differences between dog and cat people, with probably the strongest study being an online survey of four and a half thousand people conducted out of the US."

The survey essentially looked at the "Big Five" Personality Traits -- extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism -- and asked users (who identified as either cat or dog people, or both) to rate themselves on the scale accordingly.

And the results were pretty much exactly what you'd expect.

"Dog people tend to be more on the extraversion end than cat people, who were rated more at the introversion side of things," Bennett says.

"Dog people also tend to be higher on agreeableness and conscientiousness."

The survey shows dog people are more extroverted, more agreeable and more conscientious.Dr Pauleen Bennett

"Next on the list is neuroticism, which can refer to depression and anxiety and things like that," Bennett continues.

"And yes, cat people tend to be higher on the scale in this regard."

But just when you thought the results were getting a little too predictable, there was one notable surprise.

"The fifth dimension is openness and being open to new experiences, and cat people were higher on that scale. Which is not what you would expect, but that's how it turned out."

Yair Kivaiko / EyeEm via Getty Images
According to the survey, dog people are more extroverted, more agreeable and more conscientious.

According to a different study which came out of Melbourne in 2015, competitiveness was higher in dog people, as was social dominance orientation.

"Social dominance orientation is not what you think it is, it's not about personal dominance, it's about believing the world is structured and there are differences between higher ranked groups and lower ranked groups," Bennett says.

"So as it turns out, dog people tended to believe the world was a more structured, ranked type of thing, whereas cat people didn't necessarily view it that way."

This same study also debunked the theory that pet owners would be attracted to animals with opposite personalities (with the idea that you would balance each other out).

"People want to own animals that complement their personality," Bennett says.

Radius Images via Getty Images
When it comes to pets, opposites do not attract.

Cat people and dog people even use the internet differently.

"There was this new study that came out just this year, a US study, which looked at dog and cat social media sites," Bennett says. "You know, places you can go online and link up with other cat and dog people.

"Dog people tended to focus on their relationships with their pets and looking for advice to do with their dogs, whereas cat people were more about building communities and getting to know other cat owners."

efenzi via Getty Images
Sooo... wanna cat-ch up later?

Where the data doesn't drill down to, however, is looking at the differences within dog and cat people circles.

"I think the differences within dog people would be as big as the differences between cat and dog people," Bennett said.

"You know, there's a big difference between someone who chooses a small fluffy dog and someone who has a giant one."

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