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Chinese Zodiac animals

The Chinese zodiac was invented during the Han Dynasty, around 200AD. It is based on a twelve year cycle, with each year representing an animal that took part in an ancient race. The order of the animals is based on where they placed in the race, and their approach to the race reflects each animal's personality.

The characteristics of the animals are said to influence the personalities and behaviour of the people born in the year that animal represents.

Below you will find succinct summaries of Chinese Zodiac Animal personality types to inspire and inform character development - including both the positive and the negative.

Scroll down to see the information in an infographic.

Rat

Rat people use their charm and imagination to achieve their high ambitions. They can be imaginative and generous towards their loved ones, but sometimes their power-seeking can get out of hand and they may come across as aggressive and distrustful. They have a hot temper and aren’t afraid to criticise those around them.

Ox

Ox people are honest and conservative and therefore make trustworthy steady leaders. They are strong individualists and can be persistent to the point of stubbornness. They can be inspirational and carefree but others may find them a bit plodding and reluctant to change their mind.

Tiger

Tigers are brave, big personalities. Some people may find them difficult to handle as they can be both unpredictable and aggressive, but under the surface they are sensitive and highly emotional. They like taking risks and enjoying the goods things in life.

Rabbit

Rabbit people like to keep their heads down. They are friendly and conscientious, so make good team mates. They avoid conflict at all costs and prefer a tranquil, secure existence. They are conservative and hate taking risks.

Dragon

Dragons are intellectual and domineering, you know when one has entered the room. They can come across as cocky and excel at whatever skill they put their hand to. However, they are not as confident and thick-skinned as they appear and hide a very tender heart.

Snake

Snakes are witty and romantic. They can be very intense and always pay attention to their intuition. They are preoccupied with looks so may come across as vain or shallow, but actually they have a deep wisdom and sharp intellect.

Horse

Horse people are hard-working and positive. They are usually popular, because they have friendly demeanours, but they tend to think of themselves as better than others. They are wary of the unknown but have a poetic manner and grace of movement.

Goat

Goats are artistic and passionate, but can lose track of details and become disorganised. They are warm-hearted and elegant, but in the bad mood can be pessimistic and have very fragile egos. They are good problem solvers but don’t perform well under stress.

Monkey

Money people are resourceful and entertaining, but can be unpredictable and easily discouraged. They have magnetic personalities so they tend to have lots of friends, but few who really know them well. They can be opportunistic and unreliable but can succeed in anything they try.

Rooster

Roosters are courageous and hard-working. They have a thirst for knowledge, are good at making decisions and are attentive to detail. However, they can be arrogant, egoistic and sometimes boastful. They can be reckless and eccentric when given a free rein.

Dog

Dogs are calm and loyal. They are good listeners and will be honest and helpful in their advice, but they can sometimes be paralysed by anxiety. They are constant worriers and have a tendency to see flaws – both in themselves and others.

Pig

Pig people are devoted and affectionate, but can have a short temper when rattled. They have romantic and materialistic ambitions and can be persistent in achieving their goals. They often devote their entire lives to a good cause.

Chinese Zodiac Character Archetypes for novel writing

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