When it comes to any discussion about pets, most of us are clear to address whether we are cat people, dog people, neither, or both. Aside from their unconditional love for their pets, what separates cat lovers and dog lovers is their level of intelligence. According to a recent study presented at the 26th annual Association for Psychological Science meeting in San Francisco, Calif., fluffy-friendly individuals score higher on IQ tests than their Fido counterparts due to personality differences.

"It makes sense that a dog person is going to be more lively, because they're going to want to be out there, outside, talking to people, bringing their dog," said Denise Guastello, study researcher, who presented the findings at the APS annual conference, and an associate professor of psychology at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis., according to LiveScience. Guastello suggests it makes sense cats are more sensible pets for those who tend to be introverts and prefer the indoors, compared to dogs who are more compatible with extroverts, but when it comes to intelligence, is the pet educating the owner or does the owner have to be smart to care for a “witty” animal?

Guastello and her colleagues sought to settle the cat-dog rivalry once and for all and to determine who is the smartest of them all by conducting a controversial survey in a college setting. In the poll, a total of 600 college students were asked in-depth questions on self-assessments about how they view themselves as people, what types of traits they look for in their pets, and what they found most attractive about their pets.

The findings revealed 60 percent of the survey respondents preferred dogs, compared to only 11 percent cat lovers, Time magazine reported. This is six times the number of participants who liked dogs more than cats. The researchers also found a third of participants in the study said they liked or disliked cats and dogs equally. Dog owners were more likely to find companionship to be the most attractive quality in their pet dogs, while cat people liked the affection from their cats.

Although there are more dog lovers, it is cat lovers who scored higher on an intelligence test. In the study, cat people were described as being more introverted and sensitive than dog lovers, but also more open-minded and non-conformist. Dog lovers were more lively, energetic, outgoing, and followed the rules more closely.

These differences may be due to the types of environments cat and dog owners are drawn to. This may also be attributed to the fact that people may select pets based on their own personality, Guastello said. People who may keep to themselves and are more cautious of others, for example, may be more drawn to cats, and vice versa. "If you're like that, you appreciate that in an animal, it’s a better match for you," she said.

The findings of this study resonates with a previous 2010 study, which found cat owners are more educated than dog owners. The researchers at the University of Bristol unveiled cat people are more likely to have university degrees than those with dogs. Educated people tend to work longer hours and opt for a pet that fits into their lifestyle, the researchers suggest.

Despite the findings of these studies, is there really a top dog and is it a dog-eat-dog world? At least for the most part, cat lovers and dog lovers don’t fight each other like their four-legged pets.


Guastello et al. 26th Annual Association For Psychological Science Meeting In San Francisco, Calif. May 22-25 2014.

Browne WJ, Gruffydd-Jones TJ, Murray JK, Roberts MA. Number and ownership profiles of cats and dogs in the UK. Veterinary Record. 2010.