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According to Google, the definition of personality is the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character.

So would we use “personality” to describe the qualities and characteristics of a dog or a cat? They are not persons, so, would it be “caninality” and “felinality”?

Well, whatever you want to call it, they most definitely have their own, individual traits that impact our relationships with our pets. Just as in humans, some of their personality is inherited and some is influenced by their environment and socialization. Also, just as in human siblings, you’ll see different personalities amongst litter mates.

When potential adopters come to the shelter to pick out a new pet, they are very often swayed by the physical characteristics of a cat or dog rather than their personality. The “cutest” puppy or kitten in the litter is almost always the first one to be adopted. Long haired cats are much more likely to find quick placement over short haired felines. Animals with lighter colored fur are also likely to be chosen over dogs and cats with dark coats.

The litter of puppies that I am currently fostering all have the same look; mostly shades of brown with black masks. As I mentioned last week, they look like classic mutts of days gone by. They all have big brown eyes that are enough to melt your heart. A couple of them have a little reddish tint to their coats and a couple are getting lighter as they get older. The most interesting thing about them though, are the subtle differences in their personalities that are emerging as they mature. It’s amazing how much their individuality develops in just their first eight weeks of life.

This litter is one of my most favorite of all the many, many litters I’ve fostered through my career. They’re calm, they have sweet temperaments, they play nicely with each other, they learned to use the doggie door when they were just five-weeks-old and most importantly, they are very engaging with people. I love a dog that makes and holds eye contact, it’s like they are really trying to understand and communicate with you; these pups all have that quality.

Five of the seven of “The Famous Litter” will be available for adoption next week:

  • Mark Twain and Davey Crockett, the two boys, will need to learn that although they will make great snuggle buddies, when they top out at 50 pounds or so, they will NOT be lap dogs. They simply cannot understand this concept, so I leave that to their future families to discuss with them.
  • The three girls are quite different in their little personalities. Harriet Tubman, better known as “Tubby” (and aptly so!), sits down, looks you straight in the eye and wants to plea her case whenever she’s corrected for such things as chewing my shoelaces or grabbing my pant leg. Betsy Ross on the other hand, would not dream of being impertinent! The only thing she requires is your lap and your attention. Florence Nightingale is very serious and gives a lot of thought to what she’s doing. She’ll be a sweet and gentle constant companion.

If you’re interested in adopting, visit

Shelter needs: Canned dog and cat food, dog treats, cat nip, paper towels, and gift cards for pet supply and grocery outlets.


Source: Personality is more important than looks when adopting a pet

Posted in 2021, SJRAS Articles