Have you ever seen a person walking a dog who looks eerily like them? Maybe is a tall lean brunette walking a brown standard poodle? Or was it a light-haired blue-eyed young man walking a tan Pitbull with blue eyes?
You may have wondered if these people picked their dogs to have features that were similar or complementary to theirs on purpose. It may have been deliberate or coincidental, but it has been scientifically proven that people do this.
A study published in Psychological Science suggests 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 study's authors came to this conclusion after asking people to match photos of 45 people and their pets based on physical characteristics. Most of the participants in the study were able to consistently match purebred dogs with their owners.
Psychologist, Dr. Stanley Coren pondered why this might be. The answer that he came up with is a very straightforward one that feels almost obvious. He says it because of familiarity, which in technical publications can be refered to as "the mere exposure effect". Simply put, we like things that are familiar to us.
Three ways dogs can resemble their owners
We looked at a few ways that dogs can resemble their owners (or is it vice versa? Do the owners look like their pets?)
1. Similar hairstyles
Some pups and their parents rock similar hairstyles. Whether this is by design or coincidence depends on the pairing. But if you’re looking for a breed with locks similar to yours consider:
Long haired breeds:
- Afghan Hound
- Lhasa Apso
Short haired breeds:
- American Pitt Bull Terrier
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Labrador Retriever
Curly haired breeds:
2. Eye Color
While having the same eye color might not make a pup look like it’s owner - the expression in your dogs eye and face can help draw out the resemblance. If you’re looking for a pup to match eye colors with try one of these breeds:
Dogs that have expressive brown eyes:
American Pitt Bull Terrier
- French Bulldog
- German Shepherd
Dogs with bright blue eyes:
3. Personality and energy level
If a physical resemblance is out of the question, your pup can also take on your personality and match your energy levels. Having a match with a dog in this way can help ensure a pup better fits into your family and lifestyle. Some personality traits can be learned behavior.
For example a nervous owner might be more likely to have a nervous dog. Conversely, an owners confidence can help a pup feel more secure and confident. When it comes to energy levels, it's no surprise that a more athletic owner might want an athletic dog to run with or try some type of dog sport. An elderly person or someone who is simply seeking companionship might choose a dog who is less atheltic or whose exercise needs are more aligned to their own.
If you’re looking for a dog to match your personality or energy level, these are some you might want to meet:
High energy athletes:
- Border Collies
- Labrador Retrievers
- German Shepherds
- Belgian Mallinois
Masters of Netflix and chill:
- Border Collies
- Boston Terriers
- Golden Retrievers
- Cavalier King Charles
So while some dogs and their owners could be twins (physically) others are matched energetically or with similar personality traits. Before purchasing or rescuing a dog, it's important to do your research. While you might like the way a dog looks, they all have different needs for exercise, grooming and medical care. So it's important to understand what your dog will need and ensure that is something you can commit to.
Do you look like your dog? We’d love to see you twinning, so snap a photo and tag us on Instagram.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.