What Makes People Look Like Their Dogs?

It is not a surprise to meet a small pet walking in the park with its owner who look exactly like each other. More and more often, people notice the similarities between their favorite pets and themselves starting from the appearance to the specific patterns of behavior. In fact, such a tendency does not exist without reasons. It has its explanation from the scientific point of view that touches upon the mere-exposure effect.

dog pet

Choosing familiar things

The neuroscientists say people tend to choose to interact with the creatures that are familiar to them or even similar. According to the scientists, “People may choose dogs that look like them due to the mere-exposure effect, or the theory that we like things that we are familiar with”. Getting used to our faces and features from the mirrors and photographs, we tend to choose dogs with the same features. In order to prove it, there were numerous studies that required people to choose one from two dogs with different striking features. As a result, most of them managed to choose the ones that looked like them. For example, girls with long hair traditionally chose dogs with lop ears, while the ones with short hair preferred dogs with pricked ears. The same way high people love big dogs, while short people tend to choose small pets. It becomes the platform for finding striking similarities between pets and their owners.

dog owner

Eyes Power

According to the experiment of a psychologist Sadahiko Nakajima, the main feature that connects dogs and their owners is centered in their faces, especially in eyes. An experiment conducted in 2009 proved the opportunity to match the owner and its dog by looking at their faces. Practically, the results doubled the ones from the previous studies, but the scientist decided to work on another experiment referring to the similarity between the owner’s and dog’s eyes. In this way, the participants were shown the photographs of real dog-owner pairs and random pairings of people and dogs. Besides, the images on the photos were changed with the help of different “masking” photo conditions: “no-mask, eye-mask (the human’s eyes were blacked out), mouth-mask, dog-eye-mask (the dog’s eyes were blacked out), and eye-only (where just the eyes of the human and the dog could be seen)”. Interestingly, the result pointed to the fact that most of the people succeeded in matching the dog and its owner accurately looking at their eyes. In this way, the experiment proves the idea of the resemblance of eyes between dogs and owners. Following the scientist, such results are also rooted in the mere-exposure effect that makes people choose something familiar and similar to them.

do you look like your dog
Photo by Gerrard Gethings

The Need to Take Care

It is generally known that in many cases, people tend to have the instinct of taking care of someone. In this way, in many cases, dogs are often compared to the kids referring to the parents’ need to take care. According to scientists and Assignment.Essayshark experts, similarly to the children, dogs also tend to get used to the behavior of their owners, copying it on a daily basis. Dogs like children are raised by the people responsible about them that makes a special connection between the pets and their owners. In this way, a lot of people tend to have pets after the moment their children enter university and do not live with their parents in order to take care of somebody. Dogs become the objects of parents’ care playing the role of a listener, friend, player, and even supporter. As a result, some people even surprise by their devotion and love to the pets that are based on extreme support and protection.

Mutual Influence of Pets and Their Owners on Each Other

Furthermore, a lot of studies were conducted in order to investigate the influence of people on their dogs. According to the studies, “as U.S. obesity rates shot up over the past half-century, the average weight of animals living among humans also increased” (The Atlantic). Deepening in the root of the tendency, scientists again use the tendency to choose the pets who resemble their owners that has a mark on the general well-being of the dogs. For example, overweight people choose overweight dogs who do not like walking very mush similarly to their owners.

Thus, the reason for noticing the similarities between the dogs and their owners does not lie in getting used to the behavior of each other. It relates to the mere-exposure effect that makes people choose pets who resemble their personal features and patterns of behavior. In this way, dogs can have the same traits of character and features of appearance as their owners have because of the primary people’s choice. As a result, because of the similarities and mutual influence based on the need to take care, the images of dogs and their owners are easy to match that is proved from the scientific point of view.


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