Are dogs and their humans so entwined that they tend to take after one another in appearance?
The question — one drawing increasing scrutiny from scientists — was asked, but not really answered, in a piece in the the Health section of yesterday’s New York Times.
In 2004, researchers in San Diego found that people were able to correctly match pictures of dog owners with their pets more often than not, but only when the dogs were purebreds. Similarities in facial expressions played a big role in the choices.
The same year, a psychologist at the University of South Carolina challenged the findings in a separate study, but the San Diego researchers countered with a reanalysis that confirmed their initial findings.
Earlier this year, a scientist in England conducted a study in which 70 subjects were asked to match pictures of 41 dog owners to one of several breeds. They were able to match successfully more than half the time.
As with the San Diego study, the subjects later said they matched mostly by looking for personality traits that they believed the dogs and their owners shared.
What’s not known is whether that’s because dog and owner tend to take on a similar appearance (my personal theory), or because people look for certain traits or predispositions that might match their own when choosing a dog.
(Photo: courtesy of afunnystuff.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 11th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alike, appearance, dog, dogs, expressions, humans, look, lookalikes, owner, personality, relationships, resemblance, san diego, studies, traits, university of south carolina
The votes have been counted, and the results have been announced: The winners of The “My Dog Looks Like Obama or McCain” Dog-Look-Alike Photo Contest are Amore Francine and Ginny Doll.
The Obama Look-Alike winner, Amore Francine, is a 52-pound boxer, prone to tilting her head, from Mt. Clemens, MI. The McCain Look-Alike winner, Ginny Doll of Rochester Hills, MI, is a 7-pound Maltese with well-groomed white hair, and what contest organizers called a “relatable, friendly face.”
The winning photos, along with more information about each dog and the contest, are available at Rover411.com, a website that celebrates dogs and their owners.
The dogs were chosen from ten finalists in an online contest. Each week, one dog from each category with the lowest votes was eliminated. Over 4000 votes were received.
All this brings to mind my own comparison of presidential candidates and dog breeds, which appeared on my old Baltimore Sun “Mutts” blog.
For Obama, I chose this one …