Dog Lovers May Tend to Be Dominant and Competitive

August 23, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. bossy /ˈbɔ si, ˈbɒs i/ (adj.) – referring to someone who is fond of giving orders to people
Example: His friends describe him as bossy.

2. inequality /ˌɪn ɪˈkwɒl ɪ ti/ (n.) – refers to an unfair situation where there is a big gap or difference
Example: There is a huge inequality between the rich and the poor.

3. hierarchy /ˈhaɪ əˌrɑr ki/ (n.) – an arrangement based on ranks, position, or importance
Example: In the past, social hierarchy was strongly felt.

4. underling  /ˈʌndɚlɪŋ/ [UHN-der-ling] (n.) – someone or something who has a lower position, status, or rank
ExampleThe boss politely gives orders to his underlings.

5. ignorant /ˈɪg nər ənt/ (adj.) – referring to someone who lacks knowledge or awareness about something
Example: He is ignorant of the economic situation in his country.


Read the text below.
A study suggests that people who own dogs tend to be dominant, competitive, and bossy.

The researchers, headed by Professor Nick Haslam of the University of Melbourne, tested 500 American adults. The team examined the relationship between pet preferences and people’s dominance-related personality traits.

The researchers administered different psychological scales to measure the participants’ dominance-related characteristics. The team found out that dog lovers scored high in competitiveness and social dominance orientation (SDO). Haslam defines SDO as a person’s “tendency to accept, expect, and endorse inequality between social groups.”

Those who got high SDO scores admit trusting strong leaders and social hierarchy.  They are also likely to believe that they were born to rule. People with low SDO scores, on the other hand, are less aggressive and are more concerned about equality and fairness. Researchers found that people who have high SDO scores tend to prefer dogs over cats.

According to Professor Haslam, dogs are loyal and dependable in nature. However, he also said that they are submissive, weak, and ignorant – characteristics that best describe an underling. In contrast, cats are known to be selfish, greedy, arrogant, and independent–characteristics of someone who cannot be ruled over.   

Some world leaders were reported to have shown fondness for dogs. Hitler had a dog named Blondi [BLON-di]; Soviet leader Joseph Stalin [s-TA-lin] had his own breed of dogs that were used to scare people; President Putin [POO-teen] gave dogs as gifts to other leaders who also earn high SDO scores. 

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you believe that dog owners are dominant and competitive? Why or why not?
·         Do you think cat lovers are less aggressive and fair? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What are the advantages of being dominant and competitive?
·         Do you think it is necessary for a leader to be dominant and competitive?

August 23, 2014