Puppy Temperament Guide

Nearly 63 million families have at least one dog in their households, making them the most popular pet in the United States. There’s no question when it comes to America’s love affair with dogs: the relationship between man and dog is a symbiotic one that goes back thousands of years.
“Early on, there’s evidence to suggest people loved and cared for their dogs in much the same way we do now,” says Robert Losey, an anthropologist at the University of Alberta. “But they were also working companions, involved in all of our daily tasks.”
Dogs have gone from hunting partners to lifelong companions, and are now widely accepted as man’s best friend — but ensuring that compatibility is a careful process. Owners need to do their part by learning their puppy’s temperament and personalities to ultimately help them raise their puppies in the best way possible.
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What Is Puppy Temperament?

Similar to personality, temperament is the underlying nature of your puppy or dog. Since every dog is different, learning the key points of your puppy’s character will help you determine the most effective way to raise it.
You can identify temperament based on a number of factors, such as:
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Its reactions to people

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Socialization skills

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Energy and activity levels

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Natural willingness to be trained

When you bring your new puppy home, be sure to take the time to observe its innate personality. When you can accurately predict your puppy’s behaviors, you’ll be able to adapt your training techniques — so that it learns to blend in with its new pack.

Can You Test Temperament?

The answer to this question is a bit double-sided. You can test your puppy and assess how it responds to stimuli in a particular setting, but early on, puppy temperament can be a tricky thing to target.
Puppy Assessment Form
Sometimes, prospective owners prefer to “test” their puppy to help predict its nature as an adult, with basic testing identifying how the puppy responds to recall and playtime. In other cases, more intense testing involves note-taking and scorecards, as shown above. However, science stands on the other side of the fence, finding that testing a puppy’s personality is not an accurate way to predict its temperament and character as it gets older. Like people, puppies evolve and mature, and build their own set of traits and characteristics.
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If you want to get a general idea of what your puppy’s natural likes and dislikes are, there are looser ways to “test” this. Before choosing your new family member, you first have to identify your ownership type by evaluating your lifestyle and the reason you want a dog.

Identifying Your Ownership Type

Deciding to adopt a puppy is a major life decision that requires a lot of time and patience. Before you decide to do so, you’ll want to determine your ownership type, which addresses your lifestyle and the reason you want to get a dog. Knowing where you stand as an owner will help direct you towards the right puppy.


What Is Your Lifestyle Like?

Your lifestyle is the way you live your day-to-day life. It might include your interests, like how you spend your free time, as well as general habits and behaviors, like how much time you spend going to work or who you live with. Some essential questions to answer are:
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Do you have children?

Children impact your home’s energy levels, which might mean that finding a puppy whose breed is famous for its patience would be the right choice. English labs are excellent examples of the ideal family dog since they are playful, friendly, and patient with young children.
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How do you spend your free time?

Say that it’s your day off from work, and you have the day to do anything you want. Do you prefer to laze out in front of the TV, or does a day hiking in the woods sound better to you? Finding a dog whose energy levels match yours is vital — otherwise, you will both be out of sync by always expecting different behavior from each other.
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How often do you work?

This is a significant question that any breeder or shelter will ask you. Determining how much time you spend at work, including your commute, is going to affect how you begin raising your puppy.
  • Training is vital when the puppy is young and new in your household. For example, puppies who are about three months old need to go to the bathroom several times a day. If you are at work for more than four hours, you might want to consider asking a housemate or a dog-sitter to drop in. On the other hand, people with flexible schedules might have more time to care and give specific attention to the puppy.
These questions are designed to help you decide if you are prepared to raise a puppy and what kind of companion you might be looking for. Next, ask yourself why you want a dog and what purpose you can provide to each other.


Why Do You Want a Dog?

Most families want to adopt a puppy because they are loyal companions, but there are several health benefits too! One study found that pet owners were significantly more happy, meaning they had higher life satisfaction, positive emotions, and lower negative emotions.
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Do you want a companion to your lifestyle?

Dogs are not only excellent loyal companions, but they are also known to increase happiness and reduce stress levels.
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Do you want a family dog for your children?

In relationships like these, both the dog and family members can benefit from each other’s presence. Patient and calm dogs like English labs are one of the superior family dogs who strive for attention and playtime.
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Do you want a dog to perform a specific service?

Whether it’s for protection or to serve as a service or emotional support animal, dogs are natural workers and answer well to human alphas. Dogs who are trained to help and protect will always keep an eye out for their families.
After answering these questions, you can begin searching by breeds. Although personalities may differ across individuals, certain breeds are purposely bred for specific temperaments. English labs, for example, are bred for their patient and loyal temperaments, which makes them perfect pets for families of any size.

Matching the Puppy to Your Lifestyle

Finding the right puppy based on your personality and lifestyle choices is the best way to have a happy life together. One study reveals that matching the personality of dogs with their owners predicts better owner and dog satisfaction.
Many owners want to find a dog that is seemingly the missing puzzle piece to their families, which is probably why they opt to puppy temperament exercises and tests. Although these tests are generally perceived as unreliable ways to predict a puppy’s temperament into adulthood, learning about specific breeds instead can help lead you in the right direction.
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LIFESTYLE#1Active and High-Energy Lifestyle

You lead an active and high-energy lifestyle if you’d rather be outside moving around. In this case, you need a dog that matches your activity levels. Some breeds can spend hours running around outdoors, whether it’s in the dog park, the backyard, or a several-hour hiking trip.

Popular examples include:

  • Corgis
  • Sheepdogs
  • Terriers
  • Huskies
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • German Shepherds
  • Spaniels

LIFESTYLE#2Relaxing and Laid-Back

For those who love to binge-watch their favorite TV shows and snuggling on the couch on any given day, you need a dog that has lower energy. While all dogs require exercise, laid-back dogs don’t mind shorter walks or playtimes.

Some popular breeds include:

  • Pugs
  • Hounds
  • Bulldogs
  • Greyhounds
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Great Danes

LIFESTYLE#3Busy and Family-Oriented

If there are children in the family, then you already know that every day is busy with tons of high-energy. In busy households like this, your family will require a dog that can keep up with the pace — and is also patient with small children.

Selecting a breed that is traditionally considered a family dog is an excellent place to start, with examples like:

  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Poodles
  • Irish Setters
  • Vizslas
  • Newfoundlands
  • Collies
  • Beagles

LIFESTYLE#4Needs a Guard or Service Animal

Certain breeds are made to protect and act as service animals with a high willingness to learn. Originally, dogs were bred to work alongside humans, meaning many kinds have an innate desire to protect and serve.
“The human-dog relationship amounts to a very long-lasting symbiosis,” ,” said anthropologist Colin Groves, at Australian National University. “Dogs acted as human’s alarm systems, trackers, and hunting aides, garbage disposal facilities, hot water bottles, and children’s guardians and playmates.”

Whether you’re training a guard dog or a service dog, several breeds are cut out for the job, such as:

  • Labrador Retrievers
  • German Shepherds
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Bull Terriers
  • Rottweilers
  • Akitas
  • Boxers


Just because you spend a lot of time at work doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a companion at home. Training is key to leaving your dog without you to help prevent separation anxiety, and an excellent place to start is finding a breed that is patient, calm, and independent, who also doesn’t require much exercise.

Some kinds include:

  • Chihuahuas
  • Basset Hounds
  • Greyhounds
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Bulldogs
  • Terriers
  • Dachshunds
For those who do spend a lot of time at work, it’s important to consider dropping your pup off at a daycare or have a pet sitter pop in once a day for bathroom breaks and much-needed socialization. Some people opt for a pair of puppies so they can keep each other company during long days.

Raising Your Puppy Based on Its Temperament

All puppies need training so they could adapt to adulthood confidently, with essential skills and training such as:
  • Social skills
  • Positive training
  • Basic commands
  • Playtime with other puppies
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Ensure Good Doggie Social Skills
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Socialize Your Puppy
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Say Commands Only Once
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Ensure Play Sessions with other puppies
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Gain Thier Trust And Form A Bond
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Research How Dogs Learn
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Your Puppy Needs You!

Aside from basic training, it’s incredibly crucial that you also learn to adapt to your dog’s personal preferences, energy levels, likes, and dislikes. Keep in mind that when you’re trying to identify your puppy’s temperament, there are five dominant personality traits that it might fall into:

  1. Playfulness
  2. Curiosity/fearlessness
  3. Chase-proneness
  4. Sociability
  5. Aggressiveness
Here is a helpful guide based on each of these temperaments so you can better learn typical behaviors and helpful training techniques.


Playful dogs will possess a happy-go-lucky personality where they think playtime is all the time, and everything can turn into a game. Playful dogs will play no matter the toy or location, even if it means begging to play with your shoe!
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A playful dog has typical behaviors such as:

  • Always eager and willing
  • Barks a lot to communicate
  • Energetic and playful
  • Requires a lot of mental stimulation
  • Has a bouncing, bowing stance
Dogs with a playful temperament usually have a good work ethic and are willing to please, also meaning that they are very trainable. However, these temperaments also require a lot of stimulation, so it’s best to connect playtime with basic training.

Install a bell at your door so that your dog can communicate when it wants to go outside. This auditory cue allows your puppy to tell you when it wants to run and play outside. When it’s time to use the crate at night or during the workday, place his favorite toys and treats to keep him busy all day long. Since these dogs are playful, it’s best to get them socialized in classes where they can safely exert their energy before they are capable of spending hours at the dog park.

TEMPERAMENT #2Curious and Fearless

Curious and fearless dogs are investigators who always want to know what’s going on around them. They’re the first to run towards a strange sound in another room or spend several minutes following a scent that seemingly goes nowhere.

Typical signs of this temperament include:

  • Inquisitive
  • “Leader of the pack” alpha mentality
  • Sniffing around a lot
  • Loyal, but might have difficulty with off-leash recall
  • Adventurous
  • Thrives on mental stimulation
Due to their natural curiosities, these types of dogs might not recognize boundaries — meaning they can get caught up in a potentially dangerous situation, which is why proper training is essential for curious and fearless dogs. By rewarding behaviors you want and working on recall, your dog will strive to perform desired actions and are more likely to listen to you when you call its name.

TEMPERAMENT #3Chase-Proneness

Like the curious and fearless temperament, dogs who are prone to chase are curious and excitable. The world is their playpen, and their natural desire to chase kicks in heavier than other dogs. Sighthound dogs like greyhounds and whippets are especially chase-prone since they were bred to hunt after smaller animals.

Chase-prone dogs usually exhibit these types of behaviors:

  • Excitable and unruly at times
  • Loves to chase squirrels, cats, cars, and bikes
  • Ears perk up at the slightest sound, with curiosity getting the best of them
Although these behaviors are part of your pup’s instinct, it can get frustrating and dangerous — but there is good news. By training your dog to comprehend and respond to verbal cues, you can help steer away from its natural chase-proneness.
Focusing on auditory cues is going to be essential since your dog might be looking elsewhere during recall sessions. To better enhance these lessons, find out if your dog is toy- or treat-motivated, and combine that with clicker training. With these tools, you’ll show your dog when it is — and isn’t — okay to react to its chase-prone instinct.


Social dogs are perfect family dogs since they thrive on interaction and playtime. They are excellent around other children, dogs, and even other species, like cats. Considered a combination of curious and playful, social puppies are usually outgoing with tons of personality. One of the best examples of a naturally social dog is an English lab, who loves to spend time with just about anybody.

Here are typical behaviors of a social dog:

  • Unafraid and curious
  • Welcoming to strangers, including children and foreign animals
  • Willing to please with an excellent work ethic
  • Loves one-on-one playtime or with another dog
Although there is usually good intent, social dogs might want to push boundaries. It’s not uncommon for them to jump excitedly when you walk through the door, jump on furniture, or tug on the leash during a walk.
These are also qualities of an alpha dog’s personality, so it’s key to train your social puppy that you are the boss through basic obedience commands. After the basics are covered, give into your dog’s desire to socialize by taking it to puppy classes, frequent walks in public places, and the dog park when they are older.

TEMPERAMENT #5 Aggressive

Although this temperament sounds intimidating, it’s essential to know that “aggression” is a blanket term used to describe dogs who fall to aggressive tendencies and behaviors in certain situations. Although all dogs are capable of acting aggressive, dogs with this specific temperament are usually taught to work this way or inherit it from their parents. They might greet strangers with a growl since it is the only way they know how to respond.
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  • Ears back
  • Pupils dilated
  • Nose wrinkled
  • Lips slightly curled
  • Tail tuckled
  • Body lowered
  • Hackles raised
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  • Forehead may show vertical wrinkles
  • Nose wrinkled
  • Lips curled, mouth open, teeth and gums are visible
  • Sliff - legged stance
  • Hackles raised
  • Tail is stiff, may be quivering

Some typical signs of an aggressive temperament include:

  • Guttural barks like warning sounds
  • Baring teeth and gums
  • Shows teeth, growls, snaps or bites
There are several types of aggression in dogs, such as territorial, protective, possessive, fear, and defensive. Training an aggressive dog might be a bit of a challenge since you have to recondition the way they think. But first, you have to grasp what is fueling your dog’s aggression.
If it’s fear-based, then you’ll know to recondition him to respond to frightening situations. Knowing the root of the problem will help you show your dog the appropriate way to respond to specific situations. Often, these dogs crave safety and will do well with consistent leadership from its owner.


Everybody wants to live a fulfilling and happy life with their dog, and the good news is that this is entirely possible! Through a symbiotic relationship that requires you and your dog to work cohesively together, you’ll find that you both can become a perfectly-made match for one another.
Upon adoption, your puppy will readily adapt to your lifestyle and desires with the right training — but the key is all in the style. How you decide to work with your puppy needs to be presented in a way that it understands. If you take the time to learn about your puppy’s temperament, you’re able to give them the appropriate tools that they need to strive in your household.

Find the Right Puppy for You

Some breeds are bred for their excellent temperaments, making them ideal family dogs. One of the most popular well-tempered dogs is the English Labrador, who are close cousins to the American Labrador and Golden Retriever. Labs are all-time household favorites because they possess the most-desired traits, like playfulness, friendliness, and curiosity.
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In fact, the Labrador has been the top contender as America’s favorite dog for 28 consecutive years! Thanks to its naturally calm temperament, playfulness, friendliness, and curiosities, labs are the best breed when it comes to companionship in any size family.

That’s why Snowy Pines White Labs is dedicated to producing the best English white labs in the United States. We are committed to providing an excellent environment for our parents and puppies with the opportunity to train basically and extensively. But above all, Snowy Pines is dedicated to three main priorities when it comes to breeding pure white English lab puppies:
  • A calm temperament
  • Genetically true English labs
  • Always white in color

If you’re prepared to add a companion for life to your family, then you don’t have to look any further.
Visit us today or contact us for more information about our available puppies!