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Discussion Starter #1
Forgive me because this is going to be long winded and somewhat incoherent. I am trying to find a way to describe a personality, quality, or trait in certain dogs. It's like a mixture of goofy, confident, charismatic, and sloppy.

I am really appreciating having Brae, who is like the definition of a herding dog. It really suddenly makes sense why herders dominate the working and competition world.

I am really appreciating Soro, whose personality has and still does stand out so much more even though he is older and his 'working ability' pales in comparison.

Here's something I witnessed tonight that made me think of all of this... I was playing fetch and just goofing off with both dogs in a field. I tossed the ball for Brae and he throttles after it, neatly snaps it up and brings it to me. He's ready to tug, or fetch, or whatever his next mission will be. I tossed the ball for Soro, who loses it for a minute or more (It went really far, it was very dark out, and he's just not as fast as he used to be). Soro sniffs after it in a leisurely way, stopping twice to look up and make sure I'm still there. It is obvious when he finds it even though it is dark out and you can only see his silhouette. You can almost imagine the cartoon lightbulb pop above his head and a giant AHA! come out of him. Everything about him just 'lifts'. He leaps towards the toy and pounces on it, scoops it up and tosses it in the air, accidentally tossing it behind him. Leaps again, shakes it to death, and brings it bounding back to me. He is just thrilled.

I think Brae is silly and goofy in his own way too. He's not robotic and he enjoys engaging with me; mindless and endless fetch would bore him eventually, not that I ever played to that point. But when he finds the toy (and I am only using the fetch game as one of many scenarios) it's like he's completed his mission. When Soro finds the toy it's like he is so proud of himself and overjoyed that he discovered the toy. Soro CAN do neat and formal retrieves if I ask him to. But this is what he does if I'm just tossing a toy around. It is totally not energy efficient but I absolutely adore him for those little things. He makes me laugh all the time.

I can't quite put into words what it is about Soro. I certainly don't think he's the only dog ever to do (insert behavior here). But he just has this sureness and coolness about him and he pursues all his endeavors with so much zest. I try my best not to be biased, and perhaps my memories are being sorted in a biased way. But what I'm describing, I can only think of a few of dogs I've worked with (professionally or through the shelter) that had the same aura, if you will. One was a purebred German rottweiler. Incredible toy drive. THROWS himself at toys. But again, with the same silly and unbridled joy. I can think of another rottie/X, and a handful of pitties. I have never seen this trait in herding dogs, and I have seen a LOT of herding dogs.

This has nothing to do with working ability or intensity of any drives. Clearly I like dogs who like playing. But it's the WAY that they play and carry themselves through life that stand out to me. I adore both my boys and I can't help but compare them. After Brae, I will probably be annoyed at any dog I get next because I can't imagine a dog with more focus and honest work ethic. He's got great motivation for food (not like Soro though!) and intense motivation for play. But Soro's got this quality to him that makes his personality unforgettable, and I am failing to describe it concisely.

I want to find a way to neatly describe it though! Because the next dog I go after, I will be looking for this trait. Maybe this is why I've always been drawn to pitties and rotties... Or maybe it's a totally individual thing (not that all dogs aren't individuals).

Help me :D
 

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I'm not sure how to describe it either but I think know what you are talking about. It is not herding vs non-herding though. It is a dog specific personality trait. Kairi just has an absolute love for life. She loves to do things with me and loves to work.. but she also likes to be a complete silly goofball and do things in her own kind of.. Kairi way. She has a humor about her that is just kinda off the wall that would drive some people nuts because she isn't always serious. She isn't really into fetch so much.. she can do it. When she is into it she will pounce on the toy, pick it up, and sometimes get up on her rear legs before prancing back with it in some kind of over the top goofy display. She is constantly doing things to make me laugh.. and wiggles like crazy when I do.

Ember on the other hand is so intense about everything. Her mission in life is ball or frisbee. If she is not ball or frisbee, she is rest. Ember can occasionally be goofy.. but she doesn't have the same enjoyment or .. awareness(?) of life that Kai does. My dad says Kai has a soul where Ember is just kinda.. half there. My dad is kinda mean.. lolz.

I think part of it is also our attachment to a certain dog/personality type. I can appreciate parts of Ember.. but there is nothing like my Kai. Even if Ember is technically easier in some ways.
 

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Charisma?

That said, I really do think a lot of it's a, as FTLoD said: An attraction to a particular dog/personality type, and as such is likely the result of a bunch of actual traits and how they play together in an individual dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Okay so.... clone Soro....

:D

(minus the resource guarding and dog aggression)

I get it though and figured it might be a very individual thing. Thanks for the input everyone!
 

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I think it's a "lack of focus" [vs intensity, which can occur with or without a laser-like focus], and is a common Lab trait, even more Lab than even a Golden. I think boxers [ and Pits] as clowns can have this 'scatterbrain' and distractible trait ... but scatterbrain is clearly not dumb, and distractible does not mean distracted. I guess relaxed and fluid might be closer to the trait.

Also: good-natured, gregarious ?
 
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