Veterinarians Recommend the Best Pet for Your Personality Type

Four-legged or finned? Find out which pet type has care needs and personality traits that align with your own.

Are you ready to add a pet to your family, but aren't sure which one is the right fit for you? We get it—it's a big decision. Just as you have your own unique personality traits, so too do animals. From social dogs to cuddly cats, certain pets are known for being compatible with specific lifestyles. While the thought of bringing any pet into your home likely excites you, finding one that is compatible with your traits will make the experience all the more enjoyable.

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While there are a lot of personality classifications out there, there are five major character types that have been widely studied by psychologists. Known as the Big Five or OCEAN, they include, openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Understanding which group you fall into could give you a better understanding of the pet that's the best fit for you.

Of course, the pet you choose comes down to several factors—and each suggestion below, made by veterinarians with the Big Five in mind, is just one piece of the puzzle. Whether you're a cat, dog, or fish person, the most important thing is to treat your four-legged (or finned) friend like they're part of the family—something we know you'll prioritize no matter what.

golden retriever
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If you fall into the openness category, you're likely highly imaginative and enjoy new experiences. Someone who is open may be compatible with a dog—specifically a golden retriever—as their pet. "A golden retriever is as open as you can get," says Carly Fox, DVM, senior veterinarian at Schwarzman Animal Medical Center. "The quintessential social butterfly, these dogs are the sweetest, friendliest, and most gentle dogs around."

As the mayor of the dog park, golden retrievers also often enjoy the experience of making new furry friends—just like humans high in this trait do.

bearded dragon
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Someone who is conscientious typically has superior impulse control, is goal-oriented, and pays attention to detail. If you rank high in this personality trait, a reptile may be the pet for you. Bearded dragons are a popular choice for new reptile owners because they are friendly and easy to handle.

"In order to thrive, however, they must have owners who are very detail oriented and conscientious," says Dr. Fox. "Maintaining their specific environmental requirements is key to their longevity and livelihood." Neglecting their temperature, light, feeding, and hydration requirements may lead to illnesses. A person who is conscientious may also take joy in providing the detailed care requirements reptiles need to thrive.

border collie outside
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People who are extraverted often feel energized after spending time with others and enjoy being front and center. Does this sound like you? Then you, like those aligned with the openness personality type, may also want to consider getting a dog.

"Dogs love being the center of attention," says Nicole Savageau, DVM, veterinarian for The Vets. "Often, if you are petting one and there is another dog present, the other dog gets jealous and tries to push itself in for love and affection."

Extraversion is also associated with emotional expression—a trait dogs know well. "They are great at expressing their emotions, so it is not difficult to tell how they are feeling at any given moment," says Dr. Savageau.

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High scorers under the agreeableness category are trustworthy, affectionate, and empathetic towards others. People that fall under this umbrella would likely be compatible with a cat.

"Cats are excellent companions and offer comfort to their owners in the form of purrs and long petting sessions," says Dr. Fox. "Although some think of cats as aloof, most cat owners would disagree. Cats can be extremely affectionate, loyal, and loving pets."

Cats have relatively long lifespans and during that time, they become true partners to their owners. As empathetic creatures, cats help relieve stress, loneliness, and even can boost self-esteem, studies have found.

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Neuroticism can often lead to feelings of stress. People who fall into this group are typically over-thinkers who have a hard time relaxing. To offset these negative feelings, consider keeping a fish as your pet. "Owning fish and maintaining their environment can positively impact people who tend to be more neurotic and higher strung," says Dr. Fox. "Fish have been shown to bring stress levels down, lower blood pressure, and even improve sleep quality." This is often why fish tanks are commonly found in most doctor's offices.

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