Date of Award

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Veterinary Clinical Science

First Advisor

Niwako Ogata

Committee Chair

Niwako Ogata

Committee Member 1

Chris Eckhardt

Committee Member 2

Alan M. Beck

Committee Member 3

Hsin-Yi Weng

Committee Member 4

Sheila D'Arpino


Animal shelters are often over-crowded with animals, and efforts to match potential adopters with shelter dogs, to improve the quality of adoptions, are increasing. However, a lack of evidence-based practices makes matching difficult. This research was conducted to investigate the role of dog and human personality, using questionnaire-based measurements, on adoption success in two Indiana shelters, Clinton County Humane Society and the Humane Society of Indianapolis. Ultimately, the aim of this project was to assess dog personality, human personality, and satisfaction, to evaluate adoption success in shelter dogs.^ The present thesis contains three studies exploring dog and human personality traits, and their possible effect on an adopter's satisfaction. The first study, presented in Chapter 4, assessed the agreement of rating dog personality between the relinquishers and adopters. The Monash Canine Personality Questionnaire-Revised (MCPQ-R) was distributed to owners relinquishing their dogs and also to adopters of those dogs two months post-adoption. The MCPQ-R is a 26-item questionnaire which categorizes canine personality traits based on adjective ratings. Possible personality categories were: Extraversion, Motivation, Training Focus, Amicability, and Neuroticism. Relinquisher-rated dog personality was compared to adopter-rated dog personality of each dog (n=197), and results show a lack of agreement between the two responders.^ The second study, presented in Chapter 5, assessed the relationships between dog personality and human personality. Because the previous chapter's results found that relinquishers and adopters did not agree on rating dog personality, both relinquisher-rated and adopter-rated dog personality were used to assess relationships with human personality. The MCPQ-R data were compared to the 50-item International Personality Item Pool questionnaire (IPIP) completed by the adopter. Human personality was measured with the IPIP, which categorizes personality traits based on the Five-Factor Model (FFM): Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Stability, and Openness. Results suggested that there were no associations between dog and human personality. ^ The third study, presented in Chapter 6, analyzed the predictability of adoption success with dog personality, human personality, and their interactions. The adopter's satisfaction with the new dog was measured using the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale (LAPS), a 23-item questionnaire. Using linear and logistic regression, the only statistically significant associations found were between adopter-rated dog personality and mean LAPS score, and adopter-rated dog personality and satisfaction. Those adopters who rated their dogs as Motivated, Training Focused, and Amicable were 4.2, 3.1, and 2.2 times more likely, respectively, to be satisfied with the adopted dog than those who rated their dogs as Extraverted. Additionally, those adopters who rated their dogs as Neurotic were 0.4 times less likely to be satisfied with the adopted dog than those who rated their dogs as Extraverted.^ Collectively, the results presented in this thesis provide a foundation to encourage animal shelters to shift their programs away from personality matching and towards other programs which may better promote a healthy human-animal bond.