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Study: Dog Breeds Don't Strongly Determine A Dog's Personality

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -  We might think we know which dog breeds have the best and crankiest personalities, but it turns out those stereotypes are not supported by science.

Every dog is unique.

Larry Rosenberg says his Cavalier King Charles spaniel is ideal for New York apartment living.

"He's only five months old and he's a puppy. He requires a tremendous amount of exercise. But they eventually really evolve into lapdogs, which is what they are sort of bred to be," he said.

And Roxana Enriquez says her rat terrier is the affectionate pup she was hoping for.

"He's very just chill and very loving," she said

But a genetic study at the University of Massachusetts finds the breed explains only 9% of a dog's behavior.

The rest might be shaped by environment and life experience.

Meaning, that not all retrievers retrieve, and not all huskies howl.

"You know, sometimes I think we have a tendency to pay attention to the dogs, kind of remember the ones that fit into our stereotypes and forget about the ones that don't fit into our stereotypes," said Elinor Karlsson, the study co-author at the University of Massachusetts.

A dog's breed might not predict its behavior, but it might tell us something about how long your pup is likely to live

A study from the Royal Veterinary College found a broad range in life expectancies.

Jack Russell terriers live the longest, averaging 12.7 years.

French bulldogs are at the bottom of the list, with a life expectancy of just 4.5 years.

But at the dog park, age is just a number.

It's all about attitude.

"I would describe her personality as friendly, but she's also kind of the queen bee, so she doesn't get pushed around really easily," said dog owner Elizabeth Kelly.

With dogs, just like their human friends, each one is truly unique.

Researchers surveyed the owners of more than 18,000 dogs for the personality study.


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