25 March 2009

We Look Like Our Pets. Science Says So.

We've all heard it before: the longer we're together, the more we start to look alike. And while this theory usually applies to old married couples, science says it's not uncommon for it to happen with our animals as well.

After years of head scratching, a study offers proof that dogs really do resemble their owners — at least when purebreds are involved. Matching a mutt to her master is another story, according to Nicholas Christenfeld and Michael Roy, researchers from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The full report, "Do Dogs Resemble Their Owners?" was published in the journal Psychological Science.

The two psychologists found that when people choose a dog, they often select one that, at lest at some level, resembles them, and, when it comes to picking out a purebred puppy, they get an even closer pet replica of themselves.

When given a choice of two dogs, 28 judges (undergraduate college students) correctly matched a group of 45 dogs with their owners (who were chosen and photographed at random) nearly two out of three times. A dog was regarded as resembling its owner if a majority of judges matched the pair. With mutts, however, the pattern went to the dogs. There was little or no evidence of resemblance between the mixed breeds and their owners.

The data did not reveal how judges were able match the dogs to their owners. The matches were most often based less on obvious characteristics, for example, between hairy people and hairy dogs or big people with big dogs than on some combination of of physical and personality traits. The conclusion? It appears we are happiest with creatures that are most like ourselves.

[Source: SFGate.com]