Skip to main content

Try this puppy personality test to pick the perfect dog for your family

When choosing the perfect puppy, there’s the temptation to pick the cutest one. However, as with any relationship (human or pet), it’s what’s on the inside that counts the most. The beauty of a dog is more than fur-deep. Prospective puppy parents will want to look beyond those big brown eyes and all that fur and learn more about an animal’s personality before adopting them.

Choosing a puppy based on personality will help ensure the two of you are a perfect match. For example, you might prefer a really affectionate dog who wishes to live in your lap, or perhaps you want a more independent pup who lets you go to the bathroom with the door closed. A puppy personality test can help you learn your preferences before you even start meeting potential forever friends.

a group of puppies on a wooden step
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Puppy personality types

Puppy personalities run the gamut. Some are shy, and others are social. Puppies can be dominant or submissive. The experts at RaisingRascal narrowed puppy personality types down into six basic ones. It’s important to note that not every puppy will fit neatly into one category, but these personality types can give pet parents a general idea of what’s out there.


These pups have bossy alpha personalities. They can be rebels and may display aggressive tendencies. They do best with an owner who is confident, experienced, and willing to put in the work to train and socialize the animal. Puppies who fit this personality generally need to be “king or queen of the castle” and are best suited for homes without other pets or children.


These pups are also alphas but not as much as the dominant/aggressive types. They’re spirited and may be easily distracted, making them harder to train. However, they need training and socialization and a confident, patient parent willing to help them be the best version of themselves. Their ideal home is one with active adults and perhaps older children.


Puppies in this category don’t necessarily need to be the alpha, but they are often a bit bossy. They’re confident, can be stubborn, and are not into cuddling. On the other hand, they’re not as susceptible to separation anxiety — when these puppies grow up, they’re often cool to be left alone while you work an 8-hour day. These puppies need patience and consistent training.


Responsive/affectionate puppies are friendly, fast learners, and want to make you happy. They’re typically good with other pets, older children, and adults. They require lots of love. Their dream home is one with people who can be around often. They’re down for adventures as long as you’re by their side, so these pups make great navigators during road trips.


These gentle and loving animals will stay true to you forever. They’re great with small kids and typically good with other animals. Puppies who fit this bill can be submissive and laid-back but prone to separation anxiety. In other words, they’re chill lap dogs who want to spend as much time as possible with you.


These puppies can show signs of anxiety and don’t have a ton of self-confidence. They need a patient parent willing to love them and committed to helping them become the best version of themselves through slow-paced socialization and training. They do best in calm and quiet homes and with someone who can establish and maintain a routine.

four fluffy puppies inside

Take a puppy personality test

What puppy personality is best for you? RaisingRascal created a test. It’s best done on dogs ages 7 to 9 weeks old. When administering the test, a person like a trainer (or even you) will look for specific signs. For example, alphas may mount other puppies or steal toys. Submissive dogs don’t usually fight back and will stay close to Mom. Independent dogs are happy to play with their siblings or go off on their own, while you’ll usually find docile puppies in the middle of the pack.

Ultimately, evaluating your puppy based on this personality test can help you:

  • Learn how a puppy will do in specific situations, such as with another pet.
  • Get a feel for their nature (i.e., shy, bold, friendly, needy, or independent).
  • Predict the type and amount of training the puppy may require.
  • Evaluate energy levels.

There’s a puppy for everyone!

Meeting a puppy in person will give you the best feel for the dog’s personality. However, taking some time to think about your preferences in advance can help breeders or shelter staff show you your best bets. Then, during the meet and greet, you can evaluate the dog for certain personality traits. You may watch the pet interact with siblings and take note of any mounting behaviors or whether they try to fight back if another dog comes and steals their toys. Puppies may act a bit different during a meet-and-greet than they do around people they are more familiar with, though. Be sure to ask the breeder or shelter staff what personality traits they’ve observed to get a fuller picture of the puppy’s personality.

Editors' Recommendations

BethAnn Mayer
Beth Ann's work has appeared on and In her spare time, you can find her running (either marathons…
The best medium-sized dog breeds for your family
These dogs are the perfect size — and temperament — for families with kids
An English springer spaniel's side profile standing next to tall grass

Whether you're a veteran dog owner or are new to the canine world, it can be immensely helpful to do your research before adopting the dog of your dreams. After all, step one is to figure out what your ideal four-legged friend might be like.
Will they cuddle up with you at the end of the day, or will they sleep in a dog bed all their own? Would you like a high-energy friend or a canine buddy that can binge-watch your favorite Netflix show at all hours of the day with you? Perhaps even more importantly, what size dog can you handle in your home?
Medium-sized dogs are a perfect fit for those who may want the activity of a larger dog without the massive size. Many families prefer mid-sized canines because they're large enough to play with children without getting hurt, but they're not too large to spook or knock over a child (most of the time, anyway). There can be many reasons why a medium-sized dog breed is your perfect fit, but how do you know what breed to look into? Let us help you decide.

Medium-sized dogs for families with children

Read more
How to find the right veterinarian for your pet
Getting your pet the best medical care will improve and prolong their life
Veterinarian examining cat while little boy watches

Taking your dog or cat to the vet might cause you some anxiety, especially if you're doing so for the first time. Trust us, it makes pet ownership so much more enjoyable when you have an animal doctor that both of you like. Choosing the right veterinarian for your beloved companions may not be easy, but it's certainly worth it — you'll have a better time caring for your animals, and they will stick around longer with excellent medical attention. Here's how to choose a vet.
When should I look for a vet?

We hate to add to your checklist, but you probably want to look at vets before you even bring home a dog or cat. It can take time and lots of phone calls to different places before you figure out the right fit — meaning a practice that suits your needs and budget and has availability.

Read more
Does your dog drink a lot of water? Here’s when you should be concerned
It's usually just the weather, but you should look for signs of dehydration or excess thirst
A pug drinking water from a sink faucet

Ensuring your furry best friend gets plenty of water is one of the most important parts of being a pet parent. But how much water should your dog drink on a daily basis? Veterinarians claim the general rule of thumb is a simple equation: The majority of dogs require around 1/2 to 1 ounce (about 1/8 of a cup) of water per pound of body weight each day. Don't want to reach for your measuring cup? Make sure your pup has round-the-clock access to clean water, and everything should be fine.

That being said, if your dog empties their water bowl several times a day, or you notice their intake has increased drastically, you should probably keep a close eye on things. If your dog drinks a lot of water, you may be wondering, "Why is my dog always thirsty?" We'll share how to monitor your pup's water intake, the most common reasons your dog may be thirsty, and when you should speak with your vet.

Read more