Do dogs resemble their owners?

Yes, but only if the dogs are purebreds.

The researchers photographed 45 dogs and their owners at three dog parks and gathered information about the breeds and how long owners and pets had been together. They then asked 28 students to try to match the people to the pooches.

The students were able to match dogs to their owners, but only when the dogs were purebred.

“The results suggest that when people pick a pet, they seek one that, at some level, resembles them, and when they get a purebred, they get what they want,” the researchers wrote. “A nonpurebred puppy’s final appearance is unpredictable, and so the resemblance . . . should be confined to the much more predictable purebreds.”

There was no relationship between how long owners had lived with their dogs and the chance that their appearances would match.

“These results were consistent with the notion that the ability to match is due to selection rather than convergence,” they wrote. “However, it does appear that, as in the case of selecting a spouse, people want a creature like themselves.”

Here is more statistical information.

Not surprisingly, many commentators believe that we select Presidents on the same basis.


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