What Your Dog Says About You

Man's best friend offers interesting clues into his owner's psyche. You can pick up after your pooch and make sure he plays nice, but it's your dog's breed that truly speaks volumes about what kind of owner you are.

Got a Beagle? You are inquisitive and willing to learn new things. The Beagle is constantly questioning. If you own one of these dogs, chances are you are a curious, willful person who is loyal to friends, tough on enemies and pretty stubborn.

Those with Cocker Spaniels are family oriented and nurturing. Gentle, playful and sweet in demeanor, they are the perfect size for smaller children. Owners of these dogs display the same affectionate qualities as their pups.

It appears affection--and an affinity for a pet--go a long way when times are tough. "Pets have become more like family than an animal left in the dog house in the backyard," says Daisy Okas, assistant vice president of communications at the American Kennel Club (AKC). "Just as people are not going to skimp on their children, they are not going to cut back on their dog."

Humans are so devoted to their canine counterparts that despite the economic downturn, it seems pet owners aren't willing to cut back on canine-related expenditures. In fact, spending on pet supplies and over-the-counter medicines is expected to reach $10.5 billion by the end of this year, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers' Association. In 2007, spending reached about $9.9 billion.

What does this say about us?

"Animals provide a consistency to the ups and downs of our life, whether that's the downturn in the economy or job stress," says Shari Curran, director of Therapet Foundation, a Whitehouse, Texas-based not-for-profit that provides animal-assisted therapy. "They don't care whether you won or lost a bunch of money in the stock market; they provide unconditional love and react the same way every time you come home."

Dogs are such an important part of many families that even President-elect Obama felt his daughters would need a furry friend when they move into the White House. They are likely to choose a hypo-allergenic breed like a poodle or miniature schnauzer, given his daughter Malia's allergies.

But the breed the Obamas choose will also affect how they are perceived by the country. That's because owners typically identify with animals who have similar personality traits, quirks and physical activity levels, Okas says. To identify which breeds bestow which qualities, we asked the AKC and ASPCA for insight. Their answers are based on scientific studies of breed behavior and the buying habits of pet owners.

Canine Characteristics

Owners of Golden Retrievers, for instance, tend to be social butterflies who prefer to be in group settings, while Chihuahua owners are often mischief-makers, taking after their high-energy canine.

"All toy breeds were bred to be companions," says Okas. "So Chihuahuas , along with Pomeranians and Maltese, may have a hard time being home alone all day." Poodles, America 's choice for the next presidential dog according to a survey conducted in August of more than 42,000 Americans by the AKC, tend to have owners who are detail-oriented and appreciate art and culture.

But the type of breed does not always tell the whole story. Dr. Emily Weiss, Ph.D, certified applied animal behaviorist and senior director of shelter research and development at the ASPCA, advises those seeking a new member of the family "look at the individual dog and their personality and characteristics, not just the generalizations of the breed."

Since each individual dog has its own unique personality, regardless of its breed, it's essential you spend time with the pup in order to evaluate if its energy level, amount of training and disposition are a good fit.

Dog fun facts!

Dogs only sweat from the bottoms of their feet, the only way they can discharge heat is by panting. Dogs and wolves yawn as a sign of contentment.
Dogs have about 100 different facial expressions, most of them made with the ears. Unfortunately, the likes of bulldogs and pitbulls only have 10, due to their breeding. Therefore, these dogs easily get misinterpreted by other dogs and often get into fights.
One of the worlds oldest breeds of dog is the Saluki. It is thought to have been developed in ancient Mesopotamia around 3000 B.C.
The fastest dog, the Greyhound, can reach speeds of up to 44 mph. (Most dogs run at a speed of 30 mph.) They were known to exist in ancient Egypt as many as 6,000 years ago. and were traditionally used to hunt large prey such as wolf, deer, and wild boar.
A dog's sense of smell is one of the keenest in nature. If a pot of stew was cooking on a stove, a human would smell the stew, while the dog could smell the beef, carrots, peas, potatoes, spices, and all the other individual ingredients in the stew. In fact, if you unfolded and laid out the delicate membranes from inside a dogs nose, the membranes would be larger than the dog itself.
Bassets can't swim. Their legs are too short to keep their heavy, long bodies afloat.
Two dogs survived the sinking of Titanic. They escaped on early lifeboats carrying so few people that no one objected. Miss Margaret Hays of New York brought her Pomeranian with her in lifeboat No. 7, while Henry Sleeper Harper of the publishing family boarded boat No. 3 with his Pekinese, Sun Yat Sen.
Giving dogs chocolate could be fatal for them, because theobromine, an ingredient of chocolate, stimulates the central nervous system and cardiac muscle. About 2.4 lbs of milk chocolate or just 5.14 oz of cooking chocolate (which has more theobromine per ounce) could kill a 50 lb dog.
In the original 101 Dalmatians movie, Pongo has 72 spots, Perdita has 68 and each of the puppies has 32.
Chewbacca, the hairy Wookiee in the Star Wars movies, was inspired by George Lucas' loyal dog Indiana, an Alaskan Malamute.
Dogs exist in a wide range of sizes, colors, and temperaments. Some, such as the Doberman pinscher and the German shepherd, serve as alert and aggressive watchdogs. Others, such as the beagle and the cocker spaniel, are playful family pets, even though they were bred for hunting. Still others, such as the collie and the Welsh corgi, can herd farm or range animals.
Dogs have been domesticated for most of human history and have thus endeared themselves to many over the years. Stories have been told about brave dogs that served admirably in war or that risked their lives to save persons in danger. When Pompeii--the Roman community destroyed by Mount Vesuvius in AD 79--was finally excavated, searchers found evidence of a dog lying across a child, apparently trying to protect the youngster.