Why Humans Pick Pets That Resemble Themselves

Ever notice how pet owners often look like their pets? Or perhaps, pets look like their owners. Either way, science is now telling us that there is evidence to support why this is fact, not fiction.
Researchers have found that much like selecting a mate, people tend to choose fur babies that are much like their own in looks and personality. People that are outgoing, often choose dogs that, too, are extroverts. People that are shy, tend to lean toward owning a dog with a more passive, introverted personality. Even wilder, personalities of dogs and their owners sometimes even exceed similarities of married couples.
One expert on the trail of finding out why this is so, is Sadahiko Nakajima, a psychologist and researcher at Japan’s Kwansei Gakuin University. In 2009, he conducted research on dog-owner resemblance. What he found was that at a higher-than-chance rate, people were able to match owners with their dogs by looking at photos of their faces, validating that owners truly do gravitate to dogs that look like them. This finding led Nakajima to dig dipper to find out why. He conducted a second experiment that was published in the journal Anthrozoos, which sought to trace the likeliness of the pet-human resemblance being tied to a specific facial feature.
In this experiment, about 500 people were shown two sets of photos: one set showing pics of real dog-owner pairs; the other showing random pairs of people and dogs. Participants were able to identify dogs with their owners with an astonishing 80 percent accuracy.
Delving deeper into why this is so, he created two sheets of human-dog portraits. One sheet featured dogs with their owners; the other randomly selected dogs’ images with humans. Blocking out various parts of the faces, such as eyes or mouths on the photos of either the humans or the dogs, participants of the experiment were able to assign one of five different photo conditions and were then asked to identify dog/owner pairings.
Amazingly enough, participants found that when the dogs eyes were covered, matching the dogs with the humans, dropped by approximately 51 percent. On the flip side, they accurately matched dogs and their owners 74 percent of the time when all that was shown were the eyes.
Next time you are out and about with Sparky, see how many dog-human lookalikes you can spot just by dazing into their eyes. Send us your photo with your dog and let’s see what our readers think. Let’s find out just how much people see you in your dog.

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