If you own a dog, chances, are he or she resembles you … Don’t deny it. Stand in front of a mirror with you and your pooch. What do you see?
What Are the Odds?
In a photo lineup of random people and random dogs, researchers were able to match pets to owners more often than not. For a while, researchers couldn’t quite put their finger on it. At first, they thought that guys went with larger breeds and women leaned toward smaller, fluffier pets. Or maybe long-haired females preferred droopy-eared dogs. Some thought the physical connection was tied to weight—obese owners tending to overfeed their animals—hence, heavier dogs to heavier people. But these matching characteristics failed to explain why people looked like their dogs. Why are people were able to match owners and their dogs simply by facial appearance.
We Like Dogs that Look Like Us
Science suggests that if the general features of a dog’s face resemble the general features of our own face, the dog is more endearing to us. In an article for Psychology Today, Stanley Coren, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, notes that since we are so familiar with our own facial characteristics, we look for that in our pets. To back this up, Michael Roy and Nicholas Christenfeld, psychologists from the University of California at San Diego, photographed 45 dogs (25 purebreds and 22 mongrels) and their owners, separately. The photos were shown to 28 volunteers, who were able to correctly match purebred dogs with their owners in about two thirds of the cases.
Mixed Breeds, Not So Much
Researchers found no link between the appearance of mixed-breeds and their owners. While 16 of the 25 pure-breds were correctly paired with their owners, only seven of the 20 mongrels were matched. Researchers blamed this on the fact that purebreds are usually picked based on how they will look as fully grown pets; those who pick mutts pick their pet based on how they appear when they buy or adopt them — and those dogs will change as they grow into maturity.