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Dog Breed Personalities & Magic Stacks Frisbees

by | Jun 5, 2013 | Ask Amy Videos, Dog Training & Care | 22 comments

irish water spaniel

What is the personality of the Irish Water Spaniel? Do tell!

This is an experiment–I’ll be creating a database for my site with some basics about the various breeds. My colleague at the site already has wonderful breed profiles and I don’t want to duplicate her work. So instead, I’d love to get your input–and please SHARE SHARE SHARE this over the blog-osphere and Facebook and Twitterverse to get pet people’s input.

In the comments section, I’d love for you to state your dog’s breed — if s/he’s a mix, and you know the combo, include that. And then please describe your dog’s personality. Finally, say whether this an expected personality for the breed.

So for Magic, I’d say he’s a German Shepherd. He’s confident, cautious of strangers, incredibly devoted/bonded to my husband and me, and driven to fetch and sniff. I’d say that all but the last (fetch and sniff) are considered German Shepherd traits. For an example of Magic’s single-minded focus on fetch (and STACK) check out the video, below.

Your turn! Oh, and if I end up using your quote I’ll include your pet’s name (and yours if you like) in the article!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!


  1. SUGAR: Golden Woofs

    I am a Golden Retriever. Field Golden (pure breed). I am small (smallest of the litter). Currently a senior dog but very active like a young pup. As a Golden I love to fetch and LOVE to be in the water (swim). Very toy oriented. Due to my agility training, I love to jump and run too. I basically enjoy outdoor activities. as my doggy dad was a champion of the great outdoor games.
    If you need more information, just let us know. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar n mom Rosalyn

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Sugar–It sounds like your lifetime of sports activity has kept you athletic even while a senior citizen doggy. Water sports are very good for dogs, and Goldens are smart enough to know that!

  2. Pam Darling

    Toby is our 3 year old tan colored standard Poodle and I believe he posseses the expected personality of most Poodles. He is the best dog we have ever had and has been easy to train. He listens quite well and retreives the newspaper every morning for us from our long driveway! Toby is a great farm dog because he never runs away and just wants to be with us. Standard Poodles are devoted to their people, great with children and visitors and very intelligent. He loves to run and is very graceful and cheerful. He doesn’t care much for retrieving but always needs something to carry in his mouth and is generally very playful.

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Pam! The first dog we had as a kid was named Toby. 🙂 Love the standard Poodles, and I know some service dog Poodles. “Cheerful” is a great description of the breed! At three, he’s still a young guy. Thanks for sharing.

  3. shannon esposito

    How fun! You know I have to chime in here, Amy 🙂

    Atlas is our seven month old American Mastiff. I’ve had some great dogs in my life, but he is by far the most intelligent. Which has been good and bad. Very easy to train, but also, if he gets away with something once (like getting on the bed) he thinks he’s allowed to do it from there on out. He also learned early on how to open our closet doors to raid the laundry for socks. He’s very family orientated, even off leash at the dog beach, he stays around us. Very confident and getting very bossy! He now barks at me if I try to sit on the couch until I get on the floor with him. His personality is very typical of this fairly new breed.

    Also, we have a 13 yr. old Golden that has to have a stuffed animal in her mouth at all times. Except for when she’s eating. 🙂

    • Amy Shojai

      I’m not familiar with the breed so delighted to learn this. Do you have pictures you could share? The stuffed toy luv sounds like Magic lol!

      • shannon esposito

        But of course I have pictures 🙂 Do you want me to email you some?

        • Amy Shojai

          Yes yes yes! Love to have you email me some pictures, may share here and on the site? Kewl!

  4. Caren Gittleman

    Shetland Sheepdog: reticent, brilliant, discerning, lovable, sensitive, loyal, skittish, noisy, EXTREMELY LOVING, playful, silly….and yep! Those are all traits common to the breed.

    • Amy Shojai

      I grew up with Shelties, another of my fav breeds. And yep, I can say DITTO on all that you list. 🙂

      • Pam Darling

        Whenever I think of Shelties, I think of your family, Amy I just love them.

        • Amy Shojai

          🙂 Our first Sheltie was a tri-color (mostly black), named Lady. Then came Pickles, Mac and Chad (all sable and white). And finally Skye (blue merle).

          Before the Shelties, though, was a solid black shepherd/mal cross named Toby. My folks have a picture somewhere of my younger brother at maybe 18 months (in diapers) “riding” Toby.

  5. Andrea Dorn

    I’ve mentioned my American Eskimo Dog, Blizzard before. He is slightly atypical of the breed as my veterinarian will attest – he is nice as a patient! Eskies are cautious of strangers and any strange situation but when he gets to know a person he is great with them (although he has picked out a couple of people that he definitely doesn’t like). Eskies are very vocal so you have to be willing to accept that of them. If they are left outside by themselves they will bark at every movement around them.

    Blizzard is stubborn and yet eager to please – seems like a contradiction doesn’t it? He is easily frustrated when trying to learn something new. If he doesn’t understand me right away he’ll start whining and go hide in his kennel.

    Eskies are active dogs and love to run. I think they’d make great sled dogs if they just weren’t so stubbornly independent 🙂 Blizzard can do agility and chases frisbees and tennis balls but he isn’t built for jumping high (except when he wants to get into my gardens!).

    • Amy Shojai

      I can’t think of a more appropriate name for an Eskie than Blizzard. 🙂 The really smart dogs do seem to be a contradiction, because they get used to understanding quickly and don’t know how to deal with figuring it out. How great that he’s a good patient! Magic’s good…except when it comes to nail trims.

      • Andrea Dorn

        Oooooh, I left out nail trims! Blizzard is a screamer anytime you even touch his feet let alone trim his nails. I used to laugh at people who would bring their dogs in just for a toenail trim (TNT for good reason). Yet, here I am, one of those people. When I bend down to do his nails his squeals are so piercing I would go deaf! Ouch. What a baby.

        • Amy Shojai

          Andrea, our first shepherd hated having his feed touched–very sensitive paws and awful atopy that made them worse. But he’d let me trim nails and just sigh mournfully. Magic could care less about you handling his feet. He just doesn’t want the nails cut and yep, he’s a screamer.

  6. Marcy Kennedy

    I have a purebred Great Dane named Luna. I grew up with Danes, and she’s the second I’ve owned myself as an adult.

    The qualities I’ve seen as common across all of them are highly intelligent (as puppies that translates into being fast learners but also to a curiosity that gets them into trouble as they find ways to sneak things they shouldn’t have, get around barriers, etc.), tightly bonded to their owners (they’re not the kind of dog that likes to be alone for long stretches of time), and easy going and friendly unless they perceive a threat to their home or family (in which case they become protective and stubborn). They’re great for a multi-pet household. I have pictures of our kittens sleeping with our Danes, and there are routine displays of affection where my Dane will groom the cats. They love their routine. For example, if you forget to put them to bed at what they consider the “proper” time, they’ll put themselves to bed.

    • Amy Shojai

      Awww, that image of the Dane grooming the cats is priceless. Their size gives folks pause but they’re terrific family pets, too. And if they love routine, they’re very similar to cats so that makes sense they’d get along, too.

      • Marcy Kennedy

        They’re tremendous family pets. Their size really is deceiving. My brother was only 5 when my parents bought the first family Dane, and she was a playmate and guardian for both of us.

        • Amy Shojai

          I always think of Marmaduke. That and the Disney movie, ‘The Ugly Dachshund.’

  7. pradip

    I agree regarding the exaggerated characteristics if some breeds, but in my opinion they have crept in & then been rewarded by judges in the show ring.

    • Amy Shojai

      That’s true–breeding for a particular behavior/enhanced performance may have led to certain conformation exaggerations initially. And people are like dogs in that when something gets rewarded (by judges in the show ring, for example), it increases the likelihood it will be repeated.


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