In the first study of personality differences among dogs, psychologist Samuel D. Gosling of the University of Texas at Austin and his colleagues have found that certain personality traits differ as much among dogs as they do among people.
If further studies confirm the presence of distinctive canine personalities, it could enable researchers to investigate the genetics and development of personality traits in many mammals, Gosling's group concludes in the December 2003 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The researchers devised a 34-item canine personality survey for dog owners to fill out. It focuses on four traits–energy, cooperativeness, emotional sensitivity, and a mix of intelligence and curiosity. Human personality surveys probe for similar traits.