Anyone who knows me knows that dogs are my favorite. If someone had proposed to me before my husband just by offering me a pup and a ring, I would have almost certainly said yes.
As terrible as that may seem, it appears that I’m not entirely alone in my love for animals affecting how I date. A recent study entitled “The Roles of Pet Dogs and Cats in Human Courtship and Dating” concluded that a lot of women find pet parents more attractive than non-pet humans.
The study relied on the results of a survey completed by 2,300 users of Match.com, a popular dating app.
- more likely to have been attracted to another single because he had a pet.
- often felt that a relationship could not work with a “cat person”.
- reported frequently judging a date based on how her pet(s) reacted, and more likely to judge a date based on how they reacted to her pet(s).
- less likely to date someone who didn’t like pets.
- more commonly reported being attracted to a guy with pets in their online dating profile photos.
- reported being more likely to have used a pet to obtain a date.
- rarely reported that a relationship could not work with a “dog person.”
What does this mean for dating?
Surely whether or not a person owns an animal says very little about their dateability. Shouldn’t we care more about how a person behaves than what pet they have? Well, according to this study, many women use dogs to discern just that. With people frequently viewing pets as being family members, the women surveyed were found to use the interaction of their dates with pets as a way to decide whether that partner would be worth a life long relationship. So remember, to impress dog lovers you will have to get confirmation not only their friend but their dog too.
Lead study author Peter Gray, PhD explains that because people are tending to have children later and fewer of them, the role of a dog can allow a potential partner to assess parenting skills.
A man with a well-kept dog may indicate to a woman that he will also care for her and any future children they have. Similarly, dogs are social animals who require attention and playtime. Observing a man spending quality time with his dog may indicate he will likewise interact well with both other adults and children. As for the here and now, pups provide a positive ice-breaker for anyone hoping to strike up a conversation with a fellow animal lover, as discussing an adoration for a dog is a generally “safer” topic than politics, religion, or plans for children. A dog also allows for women to see the paternal side of a man without the same level of responsibility brought by children. If the date goes well and you eventually get married, you don’t have to worry about becoming an evil step-mother to the dog.
So, even if you don’t have a dog, don’t be afraid to pull out puppy pictures next time you’re at a loss for words on a date. Research indicates it may open up a whole new world of opportunities.
Fun Dog Friendly Dates
There is a myriad of options when it comes to choosing a dog friendly date. And remember, don’t forget the treats!
- Plan a day for a dog friendly hike with friends.
- Meet up at a local dog park and bring picnic supplies
- Find a good public location to walk dogs
- Grab a bite to eat at one of the many dog welcome restaurants
- Volunteer together at a doggy rescue center
- Attend a dog show or adoption event
- Go on a group date with other dog owners
For more tips on how to get the most out of dating, take the RELATE assessment today.
Written by: Melece, Master’s Student in Marriage and Family Therapy reviewed by Brian Willoughby, Ph.D.