Is your dog as cute as you think?

Of course he is!! My dog is the cutest, and I can’t stop taking photos of him and share them to world. I’m sure other people will think the same and give me million likes on Instagram. Oops… instead of millions, I only get 20. Maybe he’s not as cute as I thought.

Studies by Australian Anthrozoology Research Group at La Trobe University gave interesting insights why we may perceive our dogs differently than others.

From the first study involving 668 Australian dog owners (90% of them women), the researchers found that a dog’s cuteness is as important as personality when it comes to the strength of the human-canine bond. They called it The Canine Cuteness Effect. They define this as the tendency for modern dog owners to report stronger relationships with dogs they perceive to be cute. But they wondered if the owners’ cuteness ratings were influenced by their dogs’ personalities, or if the owners thought their dogs were cuter than they actually were.

In the second study, the researchers asked 873 new individuals to rate the cuteness of some of the dogs photographs submitted by dog owners from the first study, and to estimate what they thought the dogs temperament might be like. As predicted, owners thought their dogs were a lot cuter than non-owners did, and dogs rated as cute by the non-owners were also perceived as being particularly nice and more amicable. Interestingly, there was absolutely NO relationship between the cuteness ratings by the dog owners and the average ratings of the same dogs by non-owners.

The researchers concluded that cuteness, dog personality and attachment are inter-related. Cute dogs are perceived as having more desirable personality traits, and cuteness does matter in the formation of bonds between owners and their pets. In addition, being strongly attached to your dog may give you an inflated view of how cute your pet really is.

Does it mean that I’m biased towards my dog? Most likely, so what! Bowie might only get 20 likes instead of 200 likes, but I do know that he is the cutest dog, at least to me. That’s true fact.

Researchers’ Note: A couple of factors might have influenced the results. For example, most of the participants in the first study were women who tended to be highly attached to their pets. In addition, part of the difference in the cuteness ratings of owners and non-owners might have been due to the fact that second study involved ratings of photographs rather than real dogs.


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