Study Reveals Pet Owners Think More Highly of Their Animals Than Themselves

Posted by Stacey Venzel
dog human bond

Is your pet more assertive than you?

In a new study by Perky-Pets, 1,000 Americans were surveyed to find out their pet preferences and the personality traits they often assign to their companions. The results are at times surprising and never short of entertaining.

The study revealed gender bias toward specific species, but dogs are the only animal that slightly more men than women have as pets — roughly two in three men to be precise. Cats, hailed as America’s most popular pet, are owned by less than 50 percent of households. However, people tend to have more than one cat under the same roof.

READ MORE: Are Your Pets Affecting Your Romantic Relationships?

When it comes to naming dogs and cats, owners seem to be lacking in creativity. The most common dog names are still Max, Bella, and Lucky, whereas cat names top the charts with Kitty, Cat, and Baby.

cat and dog names

Alana Sklar, part of the creative team at Perky-Pets, asked her co-workers what they had to say of the trending pet names. They told Wide Open Pets:

“We only know what current ownership is like, but based on some names we found, we know they can often correlate to popular human baby names. Pet names are also influenced by pop culture, so expect a few more Kanye puppies in the coming years.”

The study further ranked dogs and cats against each other with regard to personality traits, then again addressed personality based on how owners’ personalities size up to their pets. Dogs have long been referred to as man’s best friend. Considering those surveyed ranked them as friendlier, happier, and more comforting than cats, it’s not surprising.

Pit Bulls took home the gold for being the most comforting breed, an important revelation considering the amount of Breed Specific Legislation happening today. They also ranked high in other categories.

dog breed traits

The Perky-Pets team shared insight on the differing views the public seems to have toward this breed, telling Wide Open Pets:

“Pit owners love their dogs so much, they ranked among the top five breeds for energy, friendliness, happiness, and discipline and were the ranked as the smartest and most comforting breed. So if there is a negative perception of Pit Bulls, it isn’t held by people who actually own them.”

On the other hand, cats are often thought to be sneaky, which bodes true according to their ranking as smarter and more assertive. Studies have actually proven that cats understand physics!


When comparing pets to their parents, humans tend to think more highly of their animals than themselves. People consider their dog or cat to be more comforting, assertive, energetic, friendly, and happy. Rabbits were the same with the exception of assertiveness. Fish even had some outstanding positive traits like energy level.

One of the most unique parts of this study revealed how people talk to their pets as well as what voice they use to narrate their pet’s thoughts. The vast majority of pet owners admit to reading their pet’s minds aloud, perhaps predictable because of the deep emotional bond animals have with their guardians.

Perky-Pets told us:

“Talking as our pet is an interesting phenomenon that the majority of pet owners do, no matter the pet. If pets of all types have ‘voices,’ it would stand to reason that they’d have personalities as well. While some may change slightly (for instance, fish weren’t rated as very comforting — you can’t hug a fish), the trends should stay similar based on living spaces of a pet and activities you can do with them.”

pet voices

Most pet owners raise their pitch but slow down their rate of speech when narrating for their pet. People also increase their pitch when speaking to their pets, which makes sense considering animals respond to intonation.

It turns out humans give their pet’s some pretty funny voices, too. Some are musical; some are geriatric. Others are filled with grammatical errors and lisps. Not surprisingly, dog narrations tend to be overly happy while cats tend to speak in a baby voice. Even “sexy vet” Dr. Evan Antin uses a baby voice when talking to animals!

When asked to reflect on the compassion people hold for animals, the Perky-Pets team told us:

“We hold emotional attachments and bonds to pets that are different than any attachments to humans, especially at younger ages. Pets are often our first introduction to taking care of another being, our sounding boards for a tough day, or even a snuggly friend to watch TV with. Pets are always there for us, physically and emotionally, so when tragedy befalls them, it’s much more easy to empathize. They are also purely innocent and can’t speak up for themselves, so we feel the need to speak up when they can’t.”

As the Perky-Pets team noted, every pet offers something to love — big or small, furry, feathery, or scaly!

What voice do you use to narrate your pet’s thoughts? How does your pet’s personality traits compare to yours? Share with us in the comments below!

All infographics via Perky-Pets.

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Study Reveals Pet Owners Think More Highly of Their Animals Than Themselves