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What kind of dog are you?

How to better understand yourself and others
by the dogs you each like the most and least

By Gini Graham Scott          Send a link to a friend

[JUNE 25, 2004]  Do you know that you can learn more about yourself by knowing what kind of dog you most and least like? You can also use the dog preferences of others to learn more about them and improve your relationship. Plus you can call on the assistance of various types of dogs -- such as "Guide Dogs" to give you advice and "Power Dogs" to give you support, power and help acquiring desired personal qualities -- all in a fun, lighthearted way.

It's called the "What Kind of Dog Are You" system, and it's a new approach to personal and professional development that combines the broad appeal of Myers-Briggs, astrology, tarot cards, with serious research on psychology, cognition and learning. You don't even need to own a dog, although both dog owners and dog lovers will find this system especially appealing. Even cat lovers can use the system.

The program is based on the book "What Kind of Dog Are You?" which will be published in a number of countries throughout the world, including the United States, Japan and China.

I got the idea for the program after teaching classes on psychological profiling and writing a book called "Do You Look Like Your Dog?" published by Broadway Books/Random House in January. The book is based on the website I noticed that people not only looked like their dogs, but shared many personality characteristics with them -- and I discovered that many other people, whether they owned dogs or not, were much like the dogs they most liked. And thinking about other people as different types of dogs gives you insights into their personalities, lifestyles and how to best relate to them.

To use the system, start by selecting your favorite dog or the dog you most identify with. This is called your "Top Dog." The dog you like or identify with the next most is called your "Watch Dog." Then, through a series of exercises, such as imagining yourself as this dog, you discover what these choices tell you about yourself. For example, if you chose a Siberian husky, you tend to be a fairly independent, high-energy person very aware of power and politics in relationships. If you choose a Pomeranian, you tend to be a very warm, social, affectionate person.

Next pick the dog you least like or identify with, called your "Underdog." This represents the qualities you don't have or would like not to have, and you can work on getting rid of these.


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The What Kind of Dog system additionally provides insights on how to deal with different types of people, based on the type of dog they prefer or the kind you associate with them. For instance, if you have a co-worker who comes on like a bulldog, you might want to back down and be more accommodating. Or if a co-worker is more like a collie, that's someone who will be especially gentle and patient -- and a great source of help and support. They're usually very loyal and trustworthy too.

Use the system to learn about people you meet too. Just ask a new acquaintance: "What's your favorite dog?" It's like asking, "What's your sign?" You immediately know more about that person's characteristics and lifestyle -- and just asking gives you an opening to break the ice.

The system is also a great way for singles seeking to meet others, since knowing someone's preferences in dogs tells you a lot about them. For example, if you're looking for someone with similar personality traits and lifestyles, choose someone who likes a similar type of dog. Though sometimes people who like different types of dogs may make a perfect match -- such as the strong, silent guy who likes Rottweilers but finds that women who like small, warm, friendly pugs or Pomeranians are just right for him.

Even managers and supervisors at work can use the system to help with team-building -- say by bringing together people with similar preferences to create a stronger bond in the group.

In short, the What Kind of Dog Are You system provides a new way to gain insights into yourself and others and use these understandings to improve your relationships. So if someone should ask you, "What kind of dog are you?" think of it as a new icebreaker and a way to understand each other.

So what kind of dog are you? And what does that say about who you are?

[Gini Graham Scott]

Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D. is the author of over 40 books, including "What Kind of Dog Are You?" and "Do You Look Like Your Dog?" She specializes in business relationships and professional and personal development and does workshops on these topics, which now include programs on "What Kind of Dog Are You?"

For more information, visit or visit Gini Graham Scott's website at Her e-mail address is

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