Dog ownership is highly common in the United States and has a large impact on the U.S. economy due to dogs' required expenses. Thus, it is important to assess dog owners' method of dog obtainment, as it is the first step to canine companionship. Dog owner personality traits and their relationship with where dogs are obtained has not yet been studied. To assess this relationship, we reached current dog owners through an online survey containing the Donnellan et al. (2006) Mini-International Personality Item Pool (IPIP) scale and asked participants where they obtained their dog. Results indicated 90% of participants were female (N = 411); consequently, we limited our analysis to only female dog owners. Female dog owners' personality scores were related to their dog obtainment location (i.e., Breeder, Pet Store or Online, Rescue or Shelter, and Informal). Female dog owners who obtained their dog from a Rescue or Shelter had significantly higher scores of Agreeableness than female dog owners who obtained their dog from a Breeder. Female dog owners who obtained their dog from a Breeder had significantly higher scores of Conscientiousness than those who obtained their dog Informally or from a Rescue or Shelter. Additional exploratory Likert scale questions were posed to participants, asking why they chose their obtainment location and why they chose their dog specifically. Our study revealed there is a relationship between dog owner personality and method of dog obtainment. This information is useful for rescues and shelters looking to increase adoption because they can develop methods to attract less Agreeable and highly Conscientious women. We hope our findings can make future and current dog owners aware of how their personality relates to their choice of dog obtainment location and that they will take all methods of dog obtainment into consideration.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Sims, Valerie


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Sciences





Access Status

Open Access

Release Date