Did you know the breed of dog you are attracted to can be dictated by your personality type?

According to research, various breeds go with different character traits.


dog picture Happy Birthday Decaf


I’m trying to work out my type. Our puppy, celebrating her 14th birthday today, is a Maltese Shih Tzu cross.

She is like a little toy dog, which would indicate I’m intelligent and creative, but she’s also a terrier, a sure sign of being over emotional. I guess I’m a combination of those traits.

What does your dog say about you?


dog pictureResearchers at Bath Spa University, England showed that various dog breed choices matched different personality traits.


I still remember when I first laid eyes on the tiny bundle of fur that rules our home. Her predecessor had died (quietly, at home from old age) the night before and my mother decided to help me through the grief by finding the perfect dog to help fill the gap.

Some people were horrified by this at the time.

They thought I needed a certain amount of time to grieve, though they couldn’t say how much – can you put a time limit on grief?

Some thought it was disrespectful to the dog we had lost. I knew that our happiness was her prime concern while she was alive and I’m sure she cheered her grandmother for trying to help ease our pain.

There was no thought that our new tiny pooch Decaf, also known as Princess and Babee, could replace our other faithful dog, Coffee (I know, we are a bit obsessed with the beverage).

Coffee was a kelpie cross, and I miss her still.

She was the kind of dog you could share your problems with.

She was the kind of dog who loved other dogs, people, bringing back a thrown stick and going to the kennel for a holiday. Even a vet visit was considered a fun outing.

Decaf tiptoes through the garden, careful to keep her paws clean. If you threw a stick for her she would look at you like you’ve lost your mind.


dog picture Princess Decaf

She has never been to a kennel but I’m pretty sure it would bring on a hunger strike.

Going to the vet results in shaking so bad it’s as if she is having a seizure. What a princess!




Decaf’s arrival into our home not only helped ease the pain of losing Coffee but helped fill the gap many mums feel when their kids are growing too fast and an empty nest looms.

We really did plan on being responsible doggie parents and training her, but within a week it was clear she was the boss, and we her servants.

She was sharing our bed within the first week of her arrival. It’s amazing how such a tiny animal can stretch so big the humans are left clinging to their own side of the bed for dear life.


dog picture We know who’s boss


We took her to the beach and a big surfer came up to say ‘hi’ to her.

“I have one just like that,” he said.

“How long before she started sleeping on your bed”? Maybe you have to be a little dog owner to understand.

It hasn’t been all sunshine and roses for Decaf. She’s had to share her home with other canines from time to time and it was clear she was less than impressed.

If you’d like a fun read about one of her adventures, read my book Ease Up Turbo – A Tail of Two Canines – it’s my doggie birthday party gift to you.

Then the Goddesses started to arrive – what a horrible intrusion; that meant Mummy was also Grandy and had to share her time.


Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.

Agnes Sligh Turnbull.


Decaf still looks like a puppy most of the time but my heart aches as I see her struggle up the few stairs to our room.

Her daily walk has become a step, sniffing just a couple of blades of grass (instead of the several hundred she used to) before she turns her head home.


dog picture That smile!


Her eyesight is starting to fail. She often doesn’t hear when someone comes to the door so we can no longer rely on her little dog bark as an alert.

We nearly lost her a few years ago when she became really apathetic (this was hard to spot at first as she is a very sleepy breed). Her blood cell count was the scare and after spending a mini fortune on vet bills the problem disappeared as mysteriously as it began. We took a giant breath of relief that it was not her time.

I know our time with her is precious. Little dogs tend to live longer than the larger breeds, but age catches up with them eventually.

Coffee was 13 when she died. It was a good age for a dog her size and breed.

According to various sites, the average age for Maltese Shih Tzu cross is 12 – 14 years. We are hoping, given her princess status and having Hubby and me as her own personal hand servants, we will have more time.



Crossbreeding of Maltese and Shih Tzu only began in the 1990s in an attempt to have a toy breed that shed less hair.

This was one of the attractions for us as Hubby has asthma.

She actually does shed a bit, but not nearly as much as other dogs we’ve had.

Her hair always grows, resulting in much time spent at the beauty parlour – our laundry.

I remember a hairdresser thinking it hilarious when I told her I had to cut my dog’s hair regularly. I was equally amused by the fact she shampooed her dog twice each time, as hairdressers do at the salon.

Even though it’s a relatively new crossbreed, the Maltese Shih Tzu is one of the most popular breeds in Australia and is gaining love in the United States where it is sometimes called ‘Mal-Shi’.

Both breeds have been around a long time. Maltese appeared in Europe around 500BC and is thought to be an ancient breed originating in Asia.

Shih Tzu is one of the oldest breeds and a native to Tibet.

I’ve always had dogs, plus a host of other pets, so I know what I’m in store for and find I’m already bracing myself for a palace without the princess.

In the meantime, every moment is precious and I am overflowing with love and gratitude for a tiny puppy pal who keeps giving so much joy.

Studies have proved patting a dog can bring down blood pressure and elevate levels of the hormone oxytocin, a powerful protector of the heart and cardiovascular system.

They are also wonderful pets for mental health. Time spent with a dog lowers levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress while raising levels of dopamine and serotonin – neurotransmitters associated with pleasure and tranquillity.

According to Science Daily, kids who grow up with dogs have fewer allergies and are less likely to have eczema.

And then, there is all that they teach us.


  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When you leave your yard, make it an adventure.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
  • Be loyal.
  • Run, romp and play daily.
  • Bond with your pack.
  • When you’re excited, speak up.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout…run right back and make friends.
  • When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.
  • Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
  • Take naps and stretch before rising.
  • Never pretend to be something you’re not.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • On cold nights, curl up in front of a crackling fire.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.

Author Unknown


dog picture


To quote Robert Wagner; “A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won’t be too bad”.

Wishing you puppy love and a gleeful week, Tamuria.




  • Hi Tamuria,

    Oh boy, that makes things complicated because I love all dogs! No matter how small or big they are, they are all adorable! Unfortunately, right now I don’t have time to properly take care of any pet and that makes me sad because I love animals so much. Thank you for this great article, love it!


    • It sounds like you have a multi-faceted personality Zaria but I’m probably with you there as I too love all dogs.They take a lot of care and commitment and having enough time is important but I understand how that would make you sad. Here’s hoping you have more time in the near future so you can reap the benefits of having a dog.

  • Belated happy birthday to the delightful Decaf, Tamuria. Our Miss Coco Chanel is a Cocker Spaniel Shih Tzu hybrid and many of the antics you’ve shared about Miss DeCaf are so familiar. Must be the imperial Shih Tzu trait.

    Our little girl arrived 5 months after the death of Bruno who was 5 months short of turning 18 from an aneurysm. He had survived a stroke 18 months earlier and was the last of our 5 dachshunds. Our grief was unbearable because he had seen us through the bereavement of losing my father and was the last bridge that connected us to Daddy.

    But we needed a dog and interestingly, I had met Miss Coco when she was 3 weeks old at my friend’s house and she had taken a shine to me. Who would have guessed that 2 days after Bruno’s birthday, she would be a Shukla family member?

    Interestingly, both my Mom and I prayed to Bruno on his birthday and said we needed a companion and any breed would do except it had to be a girl dog (the females have a hard time finding homes). Our prayers were answered and I believe that our pets look out for us even in the After Life as furry winged Angels.

    • Vatsala I LOVE the idea of furry winged angels looking out for us. I’m sure Coffee is one of them. Hahaha – the antics of the imperial Shih Tzu – love it!

  • I just love your blogs. We got a Collie puppy when my daughter-16 at the time- was recovering in bed from a back injury & was told she would not dance again. Kippy lived in her bed util she got better, played with her brother & treated me as her mom who fed, walked & stoked. She wasn’t too sure about her Dad as we werent either. He was erratic & extreme, unpredictable & exciting, sl she did what we did- was watchful & stay away when that seemed wise. WE all have wonderful stories about our pets & I’m eternally grateful I had her. She showed us what unconditional love looked like.

    • It sounds like Kippy was a bit of a life saver for your daughter after that heartbreaking injury Roslyn. So true that dogs show us what unconditional love looks like and they are so smart – knowing when to nuzzle in and when to back off.

  • What a wonderful tribute post to your dog, Decaf, and to the joy and love that dogs bring to our lives. We had a Lhasa Apso who also died at home, outside on the grass actually, at age 17 1/2. I know you’ve read my book, so you know the story about Stinky. Even though he passed in 2001, I still have pictures of him in several places in my home. I remained dog-less until my daughter moved home with her Mini Pin, Gunnar and her two cats, Jack and Jinx. What a bundle of joy and laughter these three guys bring into the house. I’ve always been a dog lover for all the reasons you share and that the wonderful poem shares, and now am also a cat lover. Who knew. I was previously “not a cat person”, whatever that meant. I’ll be sad when my daughter moves out again with her animals and am not sure if I will get a dog again, as it is a lot of commitment. If I was choosing, I’d probably get another furry small dog so I guess I am intelligent and creative too, like you Tami. It was interesting to read what your choice of dogs says about your personality. And they were all positive traits too! 😉 Thanks for another great post and may Decaf bring you and your family many more years of healthy joy!

    • There is no doubt you are intelligent and creative Beverley. I agree that cats bring their own special joys into a home (we had various cats for decades but stopped after the last one to save the wildlife). You will miss those pets when your daughter moves and may find you cannot resist the urge to have another dog, but I agree it is a lot of commitment. Thank you for your kind wishes re Decaf who is currently watching me from the comfort of her princess lounge (bought for the Goddesses but claimed by the real princess).

  • I have acquired two of my dogs from my mom who picked them out. They were both sweet and we love them dearly but I think we adopted my mom’s personality in our dogs. lol Maybe next time I can pick a dog that is more like me and my husband. =) Thanks for sharing.

  • I so love dog posts, and write them myself a lot! It’s good to know I’m agreeable 🙂 Wonder if my 9 Labradors would tell you that? Oh, right–we just all went for a swim and had cookies. Bet they would!
    Love the Turnbull quote. Alas, so true . . .

  • OMG.. this is hilarious… because so many times I have seen pics of people and their pets and it is ironic how similar they look… like kids… but clearly we didn’t birth our pets, right? I don’t have pets right now.. I figured two teens was enough.

  • Ah, very nice article. I don’t currently have a doggie. However, I am around a beautiful female boxer often and we have a special bond.

    • It’s great that you’re getting puppy time. It’s not always practical to own a pet but at least you’re getting the benefits and boxers have particularly lovely natures.

  • I have never had a dog until my husband got a French Brittany (spaniel) this past year. It really says more about his love for hunting more than anything. I am a cat person, but your Decaf is awesome.

    • Cats are great pets too. We had them for years but we get a lot of beautiful parrots and other birds in our yard so we didn’t get another after the last one left us (aged 23). I have to agree Karen, Decaf is awesome. 🙂

  • I adore dogs, so this article was right up my alley! The list of dog breeds and human traits was so much fun! We are active in the greyhound community–helping rescuing retired racers–and we had three at one time. Sadly, they all passed within a year of each other, and the grief was overwhelming. We have yet to adopt again but hope to this year! I think getting another dog right away after your dog died was a good choice for you. Many dog lovers swear by that philosophy. I grew up with a German Shepherd, so I’m used to large dogs. But we pet sit several small dogs, and I love the ease of taking care of a smaller pet. I know one thing to be true: I’m a happier, healthier, more joyful person when I have a pet companion. Your article was truly enjoyable to read (I even teared up!), thank you for writing it!

    • What a wonderful thing to rescue those retired racers Meghan, it’s such a kind and generous way to express your love of dogs. We had a German Shepherd who I adored and our son’s Alaskan malamute lived here for a while (Decaf was not amused). Our dogs are getting smaller as we get older – just easier to care for I think. Thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

  • Hi Tamuria 🙂
    Loved your list on what having a dog can teach us…..thank you 🙂 As I do not have a dog, I own 2 cats lol Great post!

    • Hi Joan, thanks for dropping by. I think the cat list would be just as awesome, especially with hints on how to relax. Lol.My mother has always been a ‘dog person’ but has enjoyed the love of a cat for several years now and I think she’s been converted.

  • Decaf sounds adorable. I can understand your granddaughters confusion (about the Bday) – because Decaf is part of the family. My younger son is very much a dog person. Our two dogs passed away (a few years apart) while he was a teen. A very hard time for us. But since he was about to leave for college I wanted him to hold off getting another dog. He was already looking around. Evidently dog people need their dogs. Now that he has graduated I am sure a new friend is not far away. I will pass your list on to him about dog and personality traits. I sure he will enjoy it.

    • It’s so heartbreaking when they go. We lost our oldest son’s Alaskan Malamute last year – he was living with us (more competition for poor Decaf) so it was extremely sad for us all. I know our son would love to get another dog but it’s not practical just now.You are right, dog people need their dogs. Hubby tells me we’ll have a break when Decaf leaves us so we can travel guilt-free – not sure how long I’ll last though.

  • Most of my life I have had dogs. They have wandered into our house looking for home, saved others from a shelter, and even drove 50 miles for one that was featured on TV looking for a forever home. Then cats started showing up and sharing the space. As the come and go, they all have learned to co-exist. Wouldn’t trade this family for the world.

  • Definitely Labs for my husband and me. And I love your list of things dogs can teach us. My own list is ever-expanding. I never would have guessed they have so much to teach before I became a dog owner.

  • I’m so glad you have a faithful, fun friend. I’ve never had a dog, I’m a cat person, so I can’t really relate to being a dog owner, but it’s clear that you and your dog love each other very much, and that’s what matters!

  • I love toy dogs, so that makes me intelligent and creative. Ha ha.

    We always had dogs when I was a child; however, as an adult I am just on the go a lot and never wanted the burden of having to worry about care for a dog during those times.

    • It’s so much fun to determine your personality through dog breed choice – it’s great we’re both intelligent and creative. Dogs take a lot of time and commitment so you are wise not to take one on while you are so busy.

  • I never understood those crazy old ladies who leave their entire estates to their dogs – until I got my current border collie 12 years ago. Now, I would happily leave my estate to my dog – if only I had one. Anyway, my collie is almost 100% black. Somewhere, I heard that black dogs are selected from the pound the least of any other color. That breaks me heart!

  • What a great post! I wish you many more healthful years with your pup. Re people telling you it was disrespectful to get a new puppy so soon after losing your faithful retainer, I have two words: Screw them. I lost Rascal, my feline companion of 16 years, and was devastated by his death. I knew I was going to get 2 kittens, but I just didn’t feel ready…until a dear friend of mine told me over lunch (where I was crying into my french fries) that it was time to go to the animal shelter. He assured me that I would always love Rascal and no other animal could take his place. But I’ll tell you this — I have boundless room in my heart for my new boys. xxoo

    • Yes, that’s it Jackie – there is plenty of room in our hearts and loving a new furry friend doesn’t discount the love you feel for the ones who left. When they die there is such a huge gap and though a new pet doesn’t ever replace the one you’ve lost, it does help fill the gap and distract you from your grief a bit.Thank you for understanding and for your kind wishes.

  • What a wonderful post Tamuria. I just recently lost my doberman pincher (8.5 years old) to dilated cardiomyopathy. He was my best friend and constantly by my side. I was physically ill the day he passed the pain was so great and I too, after just a few weeks, adopted another dog. She’s the total opposite of Atticus, a true mutt, about half his size and very very sweet (not that Atticus wasn’t sweet, he was a total love bug). At times I feel a little guilty because I didn’t wait long enough, but I also know it feels great to love this new member of my family.

    • I’m so sorry about Atticus, Lisa. The pain is so great when we lose them. There seems to be an expectation that you leave the nest empty out of some kind of respect, but I think Atticus (and my old dog Coffee) would want us to do whatever we need to help with the grief.I think they would understand that in our hearts they can never be replaced.

  • Wow!! I have never heard about this topic. I have adorable Bruno (Jack Russell Terrier). Kindly tell me what does this say about me. Through your post I came to know something interesting about my Dog.

    Thanks for sharing the interesting post. 🙂

    • Thanks for visiting and for taking the time to comment Hans. According to the study, Jack Russells are terriers and their owners are sensitive and feel emotions deeply.

  • I love this post and Decaf is too cute, funny how these little dogs can rule a big bed

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