Do Our Pets Have Enneagram Types?26 January 2023 / By Lynn Roulo Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on December 08, 2022
“Max? I think he’s a Type 6. He’s afraid of his own shadow and barks at the most random people on the street!”
“Luna? For sure she’s a Type 2. She wants to be friends with everyone in the neighborhood.”
If you gather a pet-owning group of Enneagram enthusiasts together, you may experience that moment when people start discussing the Enneagram type of their pets.
But is it fact or fiction? You’ll find staunch opinions on both sides of the spectrum. There are those who are convinced their pet has an Enneagram type and those who find it inconceivable that a personality system can be applied to the animal kingdom. Is it possible that our pets have personalities that align with Enneagram habits of attention? Let’s take a closer look.
Animals as emotional beings
If you live with an animal, you probably don't need to be convinced that your pet has emotions. You see your dog happy and excited when you return home, and you notice they may seem sad or depressed when you leave for the day. Your cat jumps up onto your lap and purrs while you work or cuddles with you when you are sick in bed. Personal experience is important, but for a more scientific perspective, let’s study the work of anthropologist Jane Goodall, the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees.
Based on her work at the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, Goodall published a 60-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees. She observed emotional acts such as hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and even tickling. She also observed aggression and violence, such as dominant female chimpanzees deliberately killing the young of other females in the troop to maintain their dominance. Goodall even observed a four-year Gombe Chimpanzee War between two communities of chimpanzees that seemed eerily human in how diabolical it was.
In an interview in 2021, Goodall confirmed, “I think it’s now generally accepted that we are not the only beings on the planet with personalities, minds, and emotions — that we are part of and not separated from the rest of the animal kingdom.”
What are they thinking?
Jane Goodall observed chimpanzees for over decades, but to find out what our pets might be thinking, I asked Jai Jamison of Wagtime Wisdom. Jai has been a professional animal communicator since 2009, and her work centers on acting as a translator between pets and their owners.
“Animals definitely have feelings, thoughts, and personalities! They have emotional reactions to experiences, and they make choices regarding their likes, dislikes, and even opinions.
For example, every cat who urinates outside the litter box isn't doing that for the exact same reason. Depending on their personality, one cat might be offended by the litter's chemical smell, while another might feel the location of the box isn't private enough, and another may be expressing her distress about the new kitten in the family. You might find it very surprising to know how colorful your pet’s internal world really is!”
On the question of whether or not animals have a clear habit of attention, Jai offers this insight, “When I intuitively connect with pets during an animal communication session, I immediately sense a distinct “signature energy” that is the essence of who they are. This seems to support the concept that each specific animal, as well as person, is born into the world with a discernible habit of attention. For example, some animals are natural-born dominant leaders and may overdo it with aggression at times. Others are born innately social. They seem to love everything including humans, other pets, and being alive. If animals didn't have personalities, you would be seeing the same traits and behaviors in all of them.”
Animals and the Enneagram
If animals have personalities, does it logically follow that they have Enneagram types? To go back to the foundation, it’s important to remember the Enneagram isn’t just about behavior. It is about a habit of attention. Behavior radiates from this attention bias, and since animals are emotional, it makes sense that different motivations may be driving their behavior.
To confirm if your pet has an Enneagram type, you need to observe them closely and see what they pay attention to. Let’s explore what an Enneagram-type description for your pet might look like.
Type 1 Perfectionist: This is a pet that is very fussy about how their things are placed around them and very particular about how they want things done. They may have strong preferences about where their toys are, how they are walked, and what and how they eat. They may seem obsessive-compulsive about certain things. The habit of attention goes to getting things right.
Type 2 Giver: This is a pet that is very social and loving, instinctively understanding that they rely on others to get their needs met. Popular and friendly with the whole world, this is an animal that likes connecting with others. The habit of attention goes to wanting to be liked and likable.
Type 3 Achiever: This is a pet that is very competitive for attention and wants to be viewed as the top dog (or cat) in an environment. This is an animal who might excel at competitions and contests like agility or racing. They like to win. The habit of attention goes to getting the most positive attention.
Type 4 Individualist: This is a pet who is very sensitive and in tune with the moods of others. Highly intuitive and emotionally fragile, they can have a sixth sense when you need some support. The habit of attention goes to the emotional world.
Type 5 Investigator: This is a pet who guards their things and hides from others. This is a quiet, more reclusive pet who stays focused on basic elements of survival like food, water, shelter, and so forth. The habit of attention goes to maintaining what they need to survive (even when they have enough).
Type 6 Skeptic: This is a pet who seems anxious and fearful about a wide range of things. They may be deeply loyal to their family members but suspicious or guarded around strangers. This pet is often on alert. The habit of attention goes to what could be dangerous or a threat.
Type 7 Enthusiast: This is a pet who seems bold, cheerful, and highly curious. This might be an adventurous animal who has lots of energy and who radiates a good mood. The habit of attention goes to seeking new experiences.
Type 8 Challenger: This is a pet who wants to be the alpha of the pack. Protective and dominant, this is an animal who can be strong-willed and determined. The habit of attention goes to power and power dynamics.
Type 9 Peacemaker: This is a pet who is mellow, laid-back, unaggressive, and undemanding. This might be a low-maintenance animal who loves to sleep, eat, and lounge around. The habit of attention goes to maintaining harmony.
Emerson the Type 7 Cat
I’m a pet owner myself, and one of the clearest cases of a pet aligning with an Enneagram type was my orange tabby cat named Emerson. He was found as a tiny kitten running along a highway in Northern California when a kind woman noticed him and picked him up. He immediately began purring and purred almost nonstop for his whole life.
Emerson was bold, fearless, curious, and always in a good mood. I moved him from San Francisco to Athens, Greece, and it took him less than a day to integrate with his new surroundings. This was in stark contrast to his cat brother Milo who took three months to relax and explore his new environment.
Emerson’s brain didn’t process negative information. He caught on fire one winter day because he got too close to a space heater, but he didn’t even notice. Nothing phased him. I’m sure he was an Enneagram Type 7 – bold, curious, adaptable, and cheerful. He fit the personality style to a T, and his habit of attention did seem to gravitate to the new and the positive.
Loni’s Three Australian Shepherds
Jai offered her own personal example from her client named Loni.
“Loni came to me for a reading with her three Australian Shepherds. Keep in mind, these are all the same breed and are actually from the same litter. And yet they have very different personality traits!
Silas is task-driven with intense herding behaviors - he nips at Loni's heels when she walks up her stairs. Could he be a Type 1 focused on getting things right?
The second dog’s energy-level is several notches lower. Cleo is active but not driven, a happy girl who loves to go in the car to new places. Could she be a Type 7 seeking new experiences?
And the third sibling, Bruce, is especially sensitive to feelings. When Loni is sad or upset, Bruce looks at her with concerned eyes and snuggles up to comfort her. I wonder if he is a Type 4 as he is very connected to the emotional world.
Loni loves all her dogs and is learning to treat each one based on their very separate needs. Knowing their Enneagram Types might assist her in an even greater understanding.”
A final word
We may not ever be able to say with 100% certainty that our pets have Enneagram types, but if you suspect yours do, start observing them carefully to see if you can notice where their attention goes. It might just bring your relationship with your furry companion to a whole new level.