After studying mental illness and personality disorders for the last few weeks, I was in the mood for something more lighthearted. I’ve made fun of the ‘what type of dog are you?’ tests before, but I still felt the urge to explore this theme.
Part of the reason I felt a desire to explore dogs and personality type is because my husband and I recently adopted an Australian shepherd mix puppy from our humane society. Quickly I noticed some distinctive personality traits that made him unique from other dogs I’d had in the past – for one, he’s a herder. When I take him out for walks with the kids he tries to herd them all into line and gets very upset if one of the kids is lagging behind or is too far ahead. During these daily walks, I started pondering different dog breeds and how they might match up to certain MBTI® types. While this post isn’t meant to be taken too seriously I think it can be a lot of fun to discover which breeds have certain characteristics in common with our personality types. I hope you enjoy this!
ESTJ – The Briard
One of the best canine guardians you’ll find anywhere is the Briard. While many dogs are bred for herding or guarding; the Briard was bred to do both jobs. They are intelligent, responsible, loyal, and vigilant – much like the ESTJ. Often called “a heart of gold wrapped in fur”, these dogs are known for their incredible memory and trainability. They like to herd animals or people into the correct boundaries, and they like routine and having a definite authority figure in charge. While they may seem to be all about work; these dogs have an unexpected gentle side, and grow very close to their families – often being very upset if left alone for long periods of time.
ENTJ – The Border Collie
Border collies are probably the most intelligent dog breed you’ll find anywhere. Known for their intense stare, unlimited energy, and working drive, these dogs exhibit a lot of ENTJ tendencies. Known as “workaholic dogs” these collies are not cuddly couch potatoes. They have intense mental and physical stamina and like to get jobs done and constantly learn more. These collies have no problem taking the lead and directing and will herd anyone – animal or human – into their designated location. They are known for their intuitive ability to predict their owner’s desire in advance – similar to the ENTJ’s intuition about how to predict future trends or business opportunities. Border collies are intelligent, intensely curious – and my pick for the best fit ENTJ dog breed.
ISTP – The Siberian Husky
A striking appearance. A quick mind. Extreme independence. Could you get more ISTP than a Siberian Husky? These dogs are known for their intelligence and ‘lone wolf’ status – finding a way to escape just about any enclosure to go out and explore the world for themselves. Husky’s tend to be on the quiet side, and aren’t too keen on pleasing people. They hate to be caged in, much like the ISTP, and if cooped up in a small space they will often become destructive and tear things apart. They long to explore the world, be free to roam, and are often some of the most difficult dogs to train – even though they’re so intelligent. In fact, Siberian Husky’s are so intelligent that they will “hack” their way through obedience school – performing for their teachers and then shirking what they’ve learned when they get back home.
INTP – The Schipperke
Often nicknamed “the little black devil” the schipperke is one of the most curious and clever dogs around. These dogs are quiet and thoughtful and are famous for patrolling their homes and eradicating any intruders (vermin, squirrels, etc) that invade their territory. They love their families and can be quite gentle-natured and affectionate, but they are wary of strangers and don’t like lots of people invading their space. The schipperke is very independent and curious, much like the INTP, so even though they are highly intelligent, they can be a lot of work to train because they like to do things their own way. The AKC calls the Schipperke “Alert, curious, intense, but with a dash of mischief and impudence”.
Related: Understanding INTP Thinking
ENFP – The German Shorthaired Pointer
This energetic, enthusiastic dog is famous for its hunting skills as well as its tendency to be a devoted family companion. German shorthaired pointers love people and can get very depressed if left alone for too long. These dogs have tons of energy and need to be exercised a lot. Like the ENFP, German shorthaired pointers are adventurous and love to explore the world with their family. They get bored easily, so they like to be involved in a variety of tasks and have the opportunity to explore new places. If you leave them cooped up for too long they can become excellent escape artists – they need to be kept busy and have plenty of time to roam without restrictions.
Related: Understanding ENFP Intuition
ENTP – The Standard Poodle
Named the second smartest dog in the world, poodles aren’t just foofy beauty queens. These dogs are experts in numerous fields including, but not limited to, herding sheep, hunting waterfowl, or crossing battlefields to bring supplies to wounded soldiers. Poodles are renowned for their dignity, intelligence, and playfulness. Poodles love people and want to stay close to their families – at the same time, they’re intensely curious, always wanting to explore new skills and learn new things. They are very mentally active and outgoing, much like the ENTP.
INFJ – The Tibetan Mastiff
These noble, quiet dogs are known for their sophisticated way of understanding people. They are loving, gentle, and patient – but also hard-working, protective, fearless, and loyal. Along with these positive traits, Tibetan Mastiffs are extremely independent. Like INFJs, they have a mind of their own and tend to stick to their guns on what they believe they should do. Dogtime.com says, “Tibetan Mastiffs have a strong instinct concerning people, and if they don’t get over their initial dislike of a particular person, there’s usually a reason.” They are extremely sensitive to human moods and will become distressed if there is anger, yelling or shouting in their home. They thrive in calm surroundings and usually prefer the closeness of their family to socialization with many other people.
Related: Understanding INFJ Intuition
INTJ – The Chinese Shar-Pei
These quick-witted, intelligent dogs are famous for their strong will and independent nature. They were bred as fighting dogs and watchdogs – and they will guard their family devotedly. Shar peis are wary and aloof with new people and don’t prefer a busy, social environment. They are a largely silent breed, barking only when they perceive a real threat. Like INTJs, the Shar pei is insightful and intense – although, as dogs, they use this tendency to try to protect their family or territory from potential dangers. They are incredibly smart dogs, who have a strong will and independence which makes them somewhat difficult to train if not done at an early age. They are calm, reserved but extremely faithful to the ones they love.
Related: Understanding INTJ Intuition
ESFJ – The Labrador Retriever
This warm, intelligent dog breed is known for its loving, people-oriented nature and keen intelligence. Friendly and devoted, labs love to serve their family, and many lab owners refer to their dogs as “angels with fur”. They make excellent therapy dogs; visiting homes for the elderly and hospitals to brighten the day of patients. They are smart, so they are often used as assistance dogs for the handicapped or as search and rescue dogs. Just like the ESFJ is caring and devoted to the needs of their friends and family, the labrador retriever has an undying devotion to their family, and wants to do what they can to cheer everyone up.
ENFJ – The Collie
This incredibly devoted, insightful dog is famous for coming to the rescue of people and animals in distress. Like the ENFJ, collies have an uncanny ability to know when something is wrong, and this ability has made them the subject of many heroic dog stories including Lassie. Good-natured and friendly, collies are usually easy to train – longing to please their family. They are very protective, and while they seem good-natured and playful, if they perceive a threat they will be unyielding in their fight to protect their loved ones. Collies love to spend time with their family; especially children and make wonderful assistance or therapy dogs.
INFP – The English Toy Spaniel
Known for their sweet-natured personality and gentle spirit, the English toy spaniel is quiet and sensitive – often enjoying the company of just one person or one family. While they get along with other dogs, they tend to be on the timid side, especially with strangers. They love children and are often extremely devoted and protective of them. They are very insightful to the moods of their companions and detest conflict of any kind. They don’t like a lot of commotion and excitement and get easily overstimulated from a lot of sensory overload in their environment. Overall, these spaniels are incredible companions and are perfect for a quiet, loving family or individual who needs a devoted four-legged friend.
ISFP – The Saluki
This intense, beautiful dog is the very definition of grace and agility. Known for their speed, strength, and endurance the Saluki embodies the physical mastery so common to Se-dominant or auxiliary types. Personality-wise, the Saluki is reserved but affectionate. While not overly demonstrative, Saluki’s are extremely devoted and gentle – even shy. Saluki’s thrive on quiet companionship and usually form a strong bond with a single person, disliking large groups of people. They are extremely sensitive and will become stressed by tension within their home. Much like Se-users, Saluki’s love special luxuries – although more of the canine type of luxuries. Soft furniture to lay on, special grooming and brushing, and decadent treats are a favorite of the Saluki. They are fastidious about being clean and love to have a well-groomed appearance.
ESFP – The Papillon
This highly active dog is one of the best entertainers around, much like the ESFP. Papillons are bright, busy, and endlessly curious – always flitting around looking for something new to do and discover. The papillon is extremely outgoing and energetic and loves to be “clownish” to entertain his people. They hate to be alone and will become quite distressed if left to themselves for too long. Papillons are listed as the 8th smartest dog breed, and they have an abundance of energy and enthusiasm for learning new skills and tricks.
ESTP – The Dalmatian
Sleek, athletic, and charming – Dalmatians capture the adventurous spirit of the ESTP. Dalmatians are jacks-of-all-trades; making excellent hunters, firehouse dogs, and even circus performers! Dalmatians are high-energy dogs with little patience for sitting around on someone’s lap. They’re smart, with a sly sense of humor that they love to use to make their people laugh. The dalmatian is alert and highly aware of everything going on around them, much like Se-dominant types are. They’re also very independent and have a tendency towards wanderlust. The world has so much to explore that the dalmatian is going to want a lot of opportunities to get out and run around in it.
ISFJ – The Newfoundland
This gentle giant is known for its sweet nature, intelligence, and strength. Newfoundlands are naturally gentle and friendly, often doting on children as is evidenced by “Nana”, the fictional Newfoundland employed as a nanny by the Darling Family in Peter Pan. Newfoundlands have a strong work ethic, learning quickly, and using their skills to help people in distress. There are many stories of Newfoundlands rescuing people from shipwrecks or pulling children from icy deep water just in time. They are responsible, hard-working dogs that capture a lot of traits similar to the ISFJ.
ISTJ – The Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian Ridgeback was bred in Africa as a hunter, famous for hunting lions and bears or guarding homes against danger. They are loyal, responsible, smart, and somewhat stubborn. This breed likes mental stimulation, and even their eyes seem to have a quiet, thoughtful look about them. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are soft-spoken dogs unless faced with a threat – then they are fearless at defending their people. They are reserved with strangers, but gentle and affectionate with family. They are strong-willed dogs that thrive under clear boundaries, a structured environment, and strong leadership.
Find out more about your unique personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer, and The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
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What are your thoughts?
Do you feel like my assessments are correct? Do you disagree? Let’s talk dogs in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!