Data Journalist

New data from YouGov Profiles proves something that previously we only guessed: dog and cat owners possess personality traits commonly associated with their pets

Describing the personality of dogs, we generally reach for adjectives such as loyal, friendly, and excitable. Cats, on the other tend, tend to get labeled as independent, distant, and cool.

According to recent data from YouGov Profiles, people who own a dog really are more likely to possess dog-like character traits, while people who own a cat really are more cat-like.

Analyzing profile data from a group of over 1000 dog owners (who do not own cats) and more than 1000 cat owners (who do not own dogs) consistently suggests that dog owners are more sociable and extroverted than cat owners.

For instance, statistics show that 31% of dog owners tend to get energy by being in a group of people, compared to 27% of the general public and 22% of cat owners. Conversely, 65% of those with a pet cat say they need alone time to recharge after being in a group, compared to 56% of the general public and 52% of dog owners. These traits are often seen as shorthand tests for whether you are an introvert or an extrovert.

Another example: dog people are more likely than both cat people and the average person to say they show up on time for their appointments. Cat people, however, are more likely to show up either early or late. Dog owners also report having a higher degree of social skills than the national average, while the same is true for cat owners when it comes to their level of imagination.

If opposites attract, there's no evidence for it here. If anything, the numbers suggest we like being around people — or pets — who are just like us.

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