Pets are often referred to as the “fur babies” of their owners, but some pets and their owners share such an uncanny resemblance that it’s impossible not to wonder if they were separated at birth. So, why do we often look like our pets?
Michael Roy of the University of California San Diego was among the first psychologists to test this idea. For his project, he went to three nearby dog parks and photographed the animals and their owners separately. He then asked a group of people to try matching them up. He found that people often guessed correctly which dog belonged to which owner.
One possible explanation for this phenomenon is the mere exposure effect, which is the tendency to prefer things merely because they are familiar. For example, if someone sees their own face in the mirror every day, they are likely to be drawn to a pet with similar features.
This idea is supported by a study in which 261 women were asked to pick which breed of dog they preferred based on a small sample of lop-eared breeds (the English Springer Spaniel and Beagle) and pricked-ear breeds (the Siberian Husky and Basenji). The results showed that women with longer hair were more likely to choose a lop-eared dog, while women with short hairstyles preferred pricked-ear dogs.
It’s clear that we have a strong emotional and natural bond with our pets, and that we have even started to breed them to have similar physical attributes to us. So, the next time you see someone who looks like their pet, you’ll know that it’s not just a coincidence – it’s science and psychology at work.
We have additional articles available for you to view if you’re interested. I Attempted to Take Photographs of My Daughter and My Dog, but This Is What I Got Instead