I pretty much never surf the Net. It's not that I find stuff on it boring. It's just that if I click on "Sochi Olympics," I know that's going to lead to "Jimmy Fallon," and then to "Cruise Attack," and where will it end? "Vibrate her shirt by remote control?" And would I ever get any work done?
But somehow -- probably because of my "Beagle Man" blog -- I get frequent email updates from the Dogster site. And there was a recent one, carrying this subject line, "What Dog Breed Group Do You Belong In? Take Our Quiz!" that I couldn't resist. I even went so far as to do something I swore I'd never do, and that I make fun of my friends for doing: I passed the quiz along to friends and family, with the note: "Thought you might find this interesting ..." And I also asked them to forward me their results. (For readers interested in taking the quiz, you can find it on www.dogster.com)
One statistical oddity of my "research" was that, though you could have wound up in any of eight distinct breed groups, all my respondents fell into just two: 56 percent were in the Sporting group (think Labs, goldens and Irish setters), and 44 percent in the terrier group (Jack Russells and Scotties).
And though none of my quiz-takers had any problem falling into the Sporting group ("Good looking, smart and affable ... your company is in huge demand"), for some reason, a number of them were miffed to discover that if they were dogs, they'd be terriers -- "feisty, clever and strong-willed."
My friend Sherry wrote, "Funny -- I thought I was more like my cats." According to Terrin, "The quiz says terrier group, but I don't think so." And the curmudgeonly Langdon said, "I'm in the terrier group. Stupid test. I should have been a beagle: Stubborn and food-obsessed. Ricky and I are cousins!"
In the Dogster survey, which had a slightly larger sample size than my own personal survey (they had 8,278 respondents; I had nine), 13 percent fell into the sporting group, and only 6 percent in the terrier group. Their biggest breed group population was the Working dogs: huskies, Akitas, Dobermans and the like. These people saw themselves as "loyal, dependable and possessing both inner and outer strength." Though one Dogster commenter, who goes by "malaviKat," seemed to want to be in a category that was unavailable: "Where's the non-working group?"
Apparently, 11 percent of the people who took the quiz "require constant intellectual stimulation and a robust to-do list in order to just feel normal." These people, if they were dogs, would be border collies or Australian cattle dogs -- the Herding group. And tied at 11 percent was the Non-Sporting group -- those, like poodles, who tend to "sit back and observe, operating with playful dignity."
I was, of course, curious to see where my very own Ricky the Beagle and his basset hound and dachshund pals would do, but the hound group made up only a tiny 6 percent. I thought the group personality description for hounds was spot on, though: "People like having you on their team because you'll pursue a quarry until you've exhausted all options." Uh-huh. Picture Ricky leaping maybe 50 times for the platter of chocolate chip cookies, then finally dragging the entire spread down by grabbing the table cloth with his teeth.
And me? I took the multiple choice test as diligently as I could. I tried to be as frank and objective as humanly possible. To the free time question, I answered that I'd be happy "checking out a show for a local band that I'm friends with." To what kind of kid I was in high school, I admitted that I "started working on my homework as soon as possible -- I hated the stress of procrastination." (Somehow, this little hangup has passed.) And where did I wind up?
Right in there with 32 percent of the other Dogster quiz-takers. As a Mutt.
Hank Herman is a Westport writer, whose "The Home Team" column is published every other Friday. Hank's adventures with his dog, Ricky, can be followed on his blog "Beagle Man" on the Westport News website, http://blog.ctnews.com/beagleman/. Hank can be followed on Twitter @BeagleManHank and reached by email at DoubleH50@gmail.com.