Whether you find it flattering or insulting, every dog owner is familiar with the old saying that pooch parents start looking like their four-legged children. You might not agree, but science certainly does. Yes, studies have actually proven that it is indeed true!
The Kwansei Gakuin University not only made the discovery, but they actually found out why. The study (which had over 500 participants) was shown various headshot photos of dogs and their owners in front of a neutral, white background. Half of these photos were completely faked. The psychiatrists then blocked out certain parts of both the owners as well as the dog’s faces (the mouth, the nose, the eyes etc…) and asked the participants to match the photos of the real dogs and their owners.
What they found was incredible. When the eyes were the only visible facial features almost 80% of the chosen pup and parent photos were correct! With the other features it dropped to percentages as low as 50% (which basically makes it a lucky guess). It was clear that the secret was in the eyes – the windows of the soul.
Since it has been proven that we really do look like our dogs, the only question and debate that remains is a chicken and egg scenario. Do we start looking like our four-legged best friends because of the so-called ‘exposure effect’ (the exact same phenomena where people living together start looking like each other). OR did we look alike in the first place and it’s merely a case of people searching and feeling comfortable with the familiar? Do we simply look in others and our pets a little bit of ourselves?
This is when the University of California decided to dig a little deeper. They did the exact same study but with certain extra experimental controls in place. They came to the exact same conclusion that the eyes were where the familiarity lay, but they ALSO uncovered that all the correct matches had two more things in common; all of the owners had their dogs for very different time periods and all the real matches contained purebred canines. This was the proof that laid the chicken and egg controversy to bed; it proved that future pup parents who made a conscious decision about adding a four-legged family member to a household tend to search for the pet that’s the perfect fit – that is basically guaranteed at proper breeders. We search for a resemblance of ourselves on some level – even in our relationships with our furry friends. Since Homo sapiens are also considered “pack animals”, this study not only revealed that we DO look like our dogs and WHY, but it also gave us a glimpse into our own psychology.
We at TipTop understand the incredible bond and connection we have to our dogs. And that is why we offer them only the best.