Cat vs Dog: Which is Better for Business?

(WARNING: Stereotypes ahead!)

Cat vs dog. It’s one of the world’s oldest rivalries with passionate advocates on both sides of the fight. But when it comes to success in business, does your pet preference make a difference?

There’s no denying that the UK is a nation of animal lovers with an estimated 45% of us keeping a pet of some kind at home. In fact, we’re so passionate that more and more companies are offering so called ‘Pawternity’ leave. To name just a few, Manchester-based tech company BitSol Solutions, Scottish beer company Brewdog and Mars Petcare are all offering their employees paid time out to welcome a four-legged addition to their family. Some are even granting compassionate leave in the event of a pet bereavement. Pets are clearly a big deal, but does your choice of pet say something about your business acumen?

We took a look at the very top of the top in terms of business success to find out which team they were on. As it turns out, of the 5 wealthiest business people in the world, 4 are definitely dog people.

Mark Zuckerberg's dog Beast
Mark Zuckerberg’s dog Beast a.k.a. ‘The Mop’

1. Jeff Bezos, founder, chairman and CEO of Amazon, owned a Golden Retriever named Kamala in tribute to a Star Trek character.

2. Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, has a labrador retriever named Spinee.

3. Bill Gates of Microsoft fame has 2 canine companions, Oreo and Nilla.

4. Bernaud Arnault – unknown.

5. The Facebook billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg, owns a Hungarian Sheepdog called Beast who has become something of a social media icon in his own right.


A little more doggy trivia…

We also discovered that the founder of Tumblr has a French-English bulldog mix named Clark and Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger (founders of Instagram) are also both dog-owners. Mike has a Bernese mountain dog named Juno and Kevin has a Golden Retriever called Dolly.

And it doesn’t end there…apparently Google has gone as far as to proclaim itself a ‘dog company’ with an official ‘Dog Policy’. The policy enables employees to bring well-behaved dogs into work. Supposedly they have nothing against cats, but believe they would find accompanying their owners to work too stressful. We’re sure cat owners would agree that it’s probably a wise decision.

But surely it’s just a coincidence that a few of the most successful business people in the world are dog people? Well, perhaps not…

An American research company, Wealth-X, compiled the top 30 interests and hobbies of the world’s ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWI). They found that the very rich tend to be dog people rather than cat people, and by a significant margin!


Animals % of UHNWI who like animals
Horses 39.6
Dogs 33
Cats 3.6
Fish 3.1
Birds 0.9


Dog vs Cat People: Personality Traits

Bill Gates' dogs, Oreo & Nilla
Bill Gates’ doggy duo, Oreo & Nilla

So, if we accept the statistics, dog people are more successful in business. It’s a controversial statement, but is there any logic to it? Do stereotypical dog people also have traits associated with business skills?

Recently The University of Texas conducted a survey on 4,500 people in the US examining the ‘Big Five’ personality traits:

  • Extroversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Neuroticism.
  • The survey asked people to identify themselves as dog-people or cat-people. The results found that dog people are 11-15% more conscientious, more extroverted and more agreeable, while cat people are 12% more neurotic i.e. prone to stress, worry or anxiety.

    However, it’s not all doom and gloom for feline fans; the survey also found that although cat people are generally more introverted, they are also more open to new experiences.

    Another study from Melbourne, Australia, found that competitiveness was a stronger trait in dog people as well as something called social dominance orientation. This doesn’t mean dog people are more dominant necessarily, but they tend to view the world in a more ranked or structured way while cat people are generally more flexible in their attitudes.

    And the winner is…

    Kevin Systrom's dog, Dolly
    Kevin Systrom of Instagram’s four legged friend, Dolly

    To summarise, dog people have been found to be more hardworking, more competitive, more sociable, more confident, more structured in their world view and less likely to experience stress. On paper that definitely sounds like the ideal entrepreneur’s personality.

    When you combine this research with a Mars Petcare survey the evidence starts to mount. This survey of 1,000 dog owners and 1,000 cat owners found that a dog owner is twice as likely to work in finance, while a cat owner is four times as likely to work in a creative role. Stereotypically, success in terms of wealth looks far more likely for a finance professional than a creative. And, of course, the top earning business people in the world are proud dog owners.

    Do you agree? Are dog people more successful in business than cat people? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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