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Scientists Finally Found Out Why Dogs Look Like Their Owners

There is a popular belief that suggests that dogs tend to resemble their owners. If you’ve heard about it, you have likely been wondering whether this is a real thing or not, and, if so, why it happens. This can be especially true if you’ve had the chance to witness it, or even better, if you’ve experienced it yourself.

5-Minute Crafts created this article to show you the science behind this phenomenon.

First, it’s important to take a look at the evidence there is regarding this matter. In 2009, Sadahiko Nakajima, a Japanese psychologist, conducted an experiment to find out if people could successfully pair dogs with their owners by matching pictures of their faces. At the same time, as an additional task, he asked participants to differentiate real sets of dog-owner images from fake ones. In both cases, the results were statistically significant enough to conclude that this popular belief is real.

Moreover, earlier studies suggest that people tend to choose a pet that, to some degree, looks like them, which also demonstrates that these frequent reports are certainly valid.

But why does this happen? Well, the answer is quite simple: we prefer things that seem more familiar to us, which is a psychological phenomenon technically known as “the mere exposure effect” or “the familiarity effect.” This could also explain why people still listen to radio stations that play only old tunes, or why people may be willing to read the new versions of classic novels.

In this case, to say whether there’s a resemblance between a dog and its owner, their faces would be the key element. Our face is one of the physical traits we’re largely familiar with. Every morning, we look at ourselves in the mirror to shave, fix our hair, or apply make-up, and we probably see ourselves hundreds of times every year as we walk close to reflecting surfaces.

Therefore, just like it happens with everything else we have looked at many times, science suggests that we should feel quite fond of our faces, which could give us a clue regarding why people usually have dogs that look so similar to them. If the main facial characteristics of a specific dog breed look like the general traits of our face, that one breed should promote a more welcoming response in us.

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