Blog: TCVM Series Part 6 of 7- Metal Element Personality

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine: Metal Element Personality

by Alexandra Mittner DVM

Today we are going to discuss the Metal element personality type and some of the diseases that they are predisposed to. Remember, previously we discussed the 5 element theory and how everything flows through a cycle between the elements; wood to fire to earth to metal to water. We also discussed how each element has assigned characteristics, such as taste, color, time of the year and stage of life. Some of the characteristics we mentioned were associated with the Metal element are: the color white, the direction of west, the emotion of grief, and foods with a pungent taste.

In Chinese medicine each animal has a base personality type. Typically, once their personality is established, the animal remains at its core, that personality, and is predisposed to the influences of that element. However, as the animal goes through life, and through the cycle, the other elements will influence how they react to their environment and can influence and add depth to their personality. Every person and animal has a different set of experiences; we are all individuals. Knowing core personality types can help us better understand our interactions throughout life.

Metal personalities tend to be leaders due to their confidence and consistency. They are quiet and independent, seeming aloof, but they like to analyze the situation before getting involved. Their are not unfriendly, just reserved. Metal personalities enjoy rules and order. These animals like to have a job and a set procedure to their daily routines. This is the dog that is going to expect you also to follow a schedule and will let you know if you are late feeding them or when it is time to go for their walk. They are very good athletes and do well with any kind of training they are driven to succeed.

The Metal element is associated with the Lung system, comprising of the lungs and large intestines. This system opens to the exterior via the skin pores and nose.  A well balanced Metal animal will have healthy skin and hair coat. They are characterized as having broad foreheads and chest, with large noses, and often black hair on the top of the head.

When out of balance Metal is prone to issues associated with skin or the respiratory system. The Lung system is also considered to play a major role in the immune system because our skin and lungs are constantly working to protect our bodies from outside invaders. Metal animals may get generalized skin issues (remember we said that foot-specific issues are wood system), nasal congestion, cough, asthma or other airway diseases. The Lungs are considered in Chinese Medicine to be very important for proper movement of fluid in the body. The lungs are susceptible to dryness and heat resulting in asthma or cough. If proper movement of fluid to the rest of the body is disrupted the animal may manifest dryness, such as crusting on the nose or as the large intestine tries to reabsorb more fluid to moisten the body, leading to constipation. Another possibility is fluid may be retained in the lung leading to congestion, nasal discharge or pneumonia.

Metal’s associated emotion is grief or sadness. Since these animal like a set routine, they tend to be easily affected by large changes. Moving or the loss of someone or another animal they are used to having in their life, can have a profound effect on Metal animals. This be a catalyst event to development of an imbalance.  Animals that are grieving may seem down or lethargic, may be less enthusiastic about things they usually enjoy or may be more clingy than usual with their owners. If you think your animal is Metal, and you know that there may be some big changes in their future, maintaining a predictable daily routine can help them during difficult times. 


Knowing the personality of your animal can help to understand why they react to situations a certain way and what diseases they may be predisposed to. Once we have determined their personality type, we can work together to support your best friend throughout their lifetime and    optimize their quality of life.