Why Do Some People Look like Their Pets?

We’ve all seen the amusing memes about pet parents and their four-legged friends who closely resemble each other, and that reality is hard to ignore. Spend some time in a dog park, and you’ll see for yourself; the woman whose hairstyle matches her poodle’s cut or the man whose slim face and narrow nose are uncannily similar to his greyhound’s features.

Every pet owner knows his or her pup is the cutest in the world. It’s certainly not an insult to consider we may somewhat resemble our fur baby. As it turns out, there is existing science behind this.

Little girl in glasses with her dog sitting at the desk.

The Resemblance Is Real!

Behavioral scientists have determined that some people look so much like their pets that outside observers can match pictures of them together with staggering accuracy. A study revealed that more than 500 people were shown two sets of photographs: genuine dog-owner duos and random dogs and people. The participants were able to identify the dog-owner team with 80% accuracy.

The same study also indicated when the eyes of the people and dogs were covered, participant accuracy fell to approximately 50%. When the eyes were revealed, the accuracy increased to 74%, which may be due to the subtle differences in the shape of the eyes.

Why Do People Look like Their Pets?

So if it’s true that some pooches look like their owners, the question then becomes why. It’s possible that people and their dogs grow to look alike gradually over time, much like long-term couples will often end up resembling each other. Lifestyle may also play a role; overweight pet owners tend to have overweight pets, and the runner who jogs with his doggo every day is likely to have a lean and fit doggo who favors him.

However, a more plausible answer appears that some people, either consciously or subconsciously, actually choose a pet who mirrors them. Data suggests that people prefer a companion animal with features similar to their own, such as long-haired individuals choosing long-eared dogs over pups with short or cropped ears.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store