Cats and Dogs
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Why do girls like guys with dogs?

Dogs could help you get a date and make you look more attractive, research finds

Animal attraction: studies have found a correlation between having a pet and higher relationship satisfaction

Something happens whenever Aaron Morrill takes his large and fluffy mutt, Donut, for her daily walk, and it’s something that always catches him a bit by surprise.

They flock to Donut – “a particularly cute dog,” he says – and he often finds himself surrounded by a gaggle of young women who want to know how old she is (4), if he raised her from a puppy (yes) and if they can pet her (sure).


“They see you with a dog, and all their defences go down,” says Morrill, 59, a businessman in Jersey City, New Jersey. “They assume you must be a decent human being. How could you have a dog and be a bad person?”

The phenomenon isn’t unique to Morrill and Donut. People with dogs are often perceived to be more approachable, happier and more empathetic, research shows. The presence of a dog can also serve as an indication a man is nurturing and capable of caregiving, says Helen Fisher, a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and a chief adviser to And that, she says, is a powerful mating signal.

“Having a dog really says something about you,” Fisher says. “It says you can care for a creature, that you can follow a schedule and get home to feed it, that you can walk it and love it and spend time with it.”

It’s a signal that the man may make not only a good friend but a good parent, she says.

“That’s the bottom line message that women get when they see a man with a dog: he’s capable of nurturing, of giving without receiving a lot, of caring for another. He’s made a commitment to this animal,” Fisher says. “And one thing women have needed for years and years is a partner who could share the load, be responsible, care for them if they’re sick and show up on time.” (Just for the record, Morrill is happily married and not in the market for a relationship.)

Gay men and women with pets can communicate the same character traits to potential mates, who will evaluate and appreciate them in a similar manner, says Daniel J Kruger, a research professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor who studies human mating strategies. “The kind of benefits you see in terms of increasing the perception that someone is reliable and caring – I think those are generalised across everybody,” he says.

There’s ample research to demonstrate that the messages sent by dog ownership influence others’ judgement and behaviour.

People with dogs are often perceived to be more approachable, happier and more empathetic (PA )

Another interesting finding from the survey was that roughly two-thirds of respondents overall said they would judge their date based on how he or she responded to their own pet. “That people might let a cat or a dog influence the most important close relationship in their life – that’s phenomenal,” says Justin Garcia, an associate professor of gender studies at the Kinsey Institute, who is also a scientific adviser to and a co-author on the paper.

But as more young adults postpone marriage and children and remain single for longer, he says, they may view their pets as one of the more stable and long-lasting aspects of their life.

Whether dog owners truly are more empathetic and nurturing than those who don’t own pets is harder to ascertain. In a series of studies, two Canadian researchers, Anika Cloutier and Johanna Peetz, showed that pet owners certainly believed their pets had a positive effect on their romantic relationships. They also found a correlation between pet ownership and higher relationship satisfaction.


Cloutier acknowledges that it’s hard to know what comes first, the dog or the personality traits that make someone likely to commit to a relationship, and that the links could reflect reverse causality. “It could be that couples who are more committed and already feel very positively about their relationship are those that decide to invest in the relationship to the pet,” she says.

And beware the cynics who might misuse this information. Frat houses have for years used the trick of adopting baby animals, from puppies to baby chicks to kid goats, to draw visitors. Men or women could similarly “borrow” a friend’s dog for an afternoon walk to lure potential mates.

But ultimately, Fisher comes down on the side of pet owners, who must devote a lot of time to their animals. In a world full of messages, not all of them necessarily honest, she says, dog ownership is generally “a real honest message.”

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Science Says Women Find Guys Hotter If They Have This Kind of Dog

Science Says Women Find Guys Hotter If They Have This Kind of Dog

It’s no secret that people find dogs adorable: Hello, it’s why we take them in as members of our family and stop to pet them on the sidewalk without acknowledging their owners. Studies have also consistently shown that the cuteness and lovability of dogs can transfer a bit to their owners, and that women tend to be more attracted to men who own dogs.

But it’s not just any dog that does the trick. A new survey from Petsies, a stuffed animal company, reveals that different types of dogs and cats have different impacts on potential partners.

Petsies surveyed 1,000 Americans, showing them photos of good-looking men and women pictured with different pets (dogs and cats), and also without pets. The survey found that men pictured with a puppy were 13.4 percent more attractive than without any pet. Men found women 7.2 percent more attractive when they were pictured with a medium-sized dog.

For some reason, big dogs didn’t do anyone any hottie favors. Men with big dogs seemed only 2.5 percent more attractive to women, and women with big dogs appeared only 3.9 percent more attractive to men. While large dogs were the least attraction-boosting animal for men, it was kittens who bombed for women. Men found women only .1 percent more attractive when they were shown with a kitten. Which, come on, is absurd, because kittens are precious and wonderful.

Women weren’t big on seeing men with cats, either. Men shown with cats and kittens were perceived to be just 3.4 and 3.1 percent more attractive, respectively. What’s with the feline hate, people?!

But why is it that people find others more attractive at all when they have animals? Even the measly .1 percent kitten factor for women had some impact, so what’s going on here?

PetMD (yes, there’s a pet version of WebMD) published a list based on an”extensive and exhausting interviewing process” which they say got at the heart of why women find men more attractive when they have a dog. The number one reason men get extra points with the ladies when they have a dog is that it conveys they know how to love, according to PetMD. Women also find it extra sexy when men have a rescue pup (so keep that in mind, gentleman).

A 2015 study on the role cats and dogs play in dating found that, in general, pets have a bigger impact on women than they do on men. Additionally, dogs were more likely to affect a person’s perception of a potential partner than cats. The researchers wrote that this is because dogs are more social animals (go out on walks and generally interact with humans more) than cats.

All of this jives with Petsie’s findings. Clearly, pet-ownership is a bigger deal for women than for men overall, but pets can still make a difference for men too.

26-year-old Garnet tells Brit + Co that she likes it when a potential partner has a dog because she would love to have a dog herself, but since she doesn’t, she appreciates the opportunity to hang out with dogs whenever possible. Alaina, 24, says that she really loves animals, and always knew that she wanted to be with someone who shared this love.

Hope tells us that seeing her now-boyfriend with a dog made all the difference in her perception of him. The 24-year-old tells us that she knew her boyfriend and didn’t like him for years before they started dating. Then, one night at a dinner party, he asked her if she wanted to check out photos of his beagle, and Hope started to see him differently. His pride in his dog helped her get to know him better, and demonstrated that he’s compassionate and caring.

Now, nobody is saying that single people should run out and adopt a fluffy, adorable, loving pet just to score new dates, but hey, maybe it’s not the WORST idea. After all, you might seem cuter plus you’d have a new best friend. It’s a win-win.

Have you ever been more attracted to someone because of their pet? Tell us about it on Twitter @BritandCo.

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