Do dogs resemble their masters?

The idea of the dogs resemble their owners It really has a merit: research has shown that people tend to choose puppies that share their physical characteristics, in both obvious and subtle ways. For example, overweight people are more likely to have fatter dogs, but even something as small as the shape of the eyes can be a factor. In other words, We are attracted to pets that remind us of ourselves.

And appearance is not the only thing we share with our canine friends. Animal behavior scientists have long known that dogs are direct recipients of our actions, they can feel when things in your home are tense, or when human beings are unhappy. Why is this happening? A study published in the journal PLOS ensures that sensitivity means that canines They often assume elements of our personalities, too.


The study showed that the more anxious and neurotic the owner is, the more likely it is that the dog share those same traits. On the other hand, calm dogs were more likely to belong to more relaxed owners.

«Owners and dogs influence each other with the stress they face,» explained Iris Schoberl, animal behavior researcher at the University of Vienna.

The study authors argued that the human half in the pair was probably more influential than the dog. In other words, We are more likely to transmit our own traits to our canines than to adopt theirs.

The masters look like their dogs

Some have a rather quiet walk, others seem like a ‘whirlwind’… there are those who sleep a lot and those who love to exercise. Do we mean dogs or owners? To both!

Those who own a pet at home know that there are many customs or details of the personality of the animal that seems to have copied us.

"He loves to sunbathe in the afternoon," "he is scared of thunder," "he becomes somewhat shy with strangers," or "not for a second." They are affirmations that we make about our dogs and that we can also define ourselves.

People who live with animals can affirm that the hypothesis that dogs resemble their masters is true. Because they are equal to us! Our four-legged companions can be sedentary or active, sleepy or energetic, shy or daring, greedy or careful with food.

But what explanation do we have of all this? One theory states that people choose our pets by affinity, instinctively. Therefore, next to a nervous owner there is a restless dog, or next to a quiet master there is a relaxed dog.

Of course we don't know that when we decided to adopt our new best friend, although it could be said that there are certain ‘trends’ in terms of elections. For example, if we are somewhat sedentary and we love water, we are likely to choose a Labrador Retriever, or if we are to exercise a lot and are always active, look for a Dalmatian or a Jack Russell as a company.

The same happens when we choose a partner, since we are more likely to be attracted to someone who has a personality similar to ours or that he likes the same things. Perhaps that is why it is said that our dog looks like us in some matter ‘aesthetic’ or external: cut or length of hair, size of the snout or face, etc.

They look like dogs to their masters

Another theory states that it is not really that the owner chooses a ‘related’ dog, but that the dog has the ability to imitate those around him, and more precisely who he considers his ‘leader’ or alpha.

Adaptation to the environment is very important if you want to survive. Thus, the dog ‘looks like’ who feeds and offers shelter. We cannot ignore that the dogs consider to be our equals, without separation of species. Therefore, they seek to imitate us and take us as a guide.

What happens then to dogs that have been first bred by one family and then by another? They probably have the ability to change their habits and personality based on the characteristics of their current owners, although they may keep in their memory some vestiges of their past.

On the other hand, a fundamental issue to consider is the habits of the family or the owner in particular. For example, if we are very active and take our pet for a walk every day, it is likely that even if your breed is more sedentary, it will end up 'coupling' to the activities of the master.

Finally, it should be noted that dogs are not the only animals capable of emulating human attitudes. Dolphins, whales and apes seem to mate with people, but that does not happen, for example, with cats, despite sharing a roof with us.

It is a fact

In fact, there are unexpected similarities between the way we choose our partner and our dog.

Michael Roy, from the University of California, San Diego (United States), was one of the first psychologists to investigate this idea.

He went to three nearby canine parks, photographed the dogs and their owners separately, and then asked a group of volunteers to match them.

He soon realized that, without providing further clues, they were able to say quite accurately who lived with whom.

So he did the test again, and the result was similar.

And in other studies he carried out thereafter, the conclusions were similar.

It is true that most of the time it was long-haired women who owned dogs with large ears, and that bulky men preferred large dogs.

And on other occasions the resemblance was more subtle, and it had to do with the shape of the eyes.

In fact, when Dr. Roy covered the eyes of the owners and the dogs in the photographs, the participants had a harder time getting the couples right.

Perhaps all this has to do with how comfortable we are with what, for one reason or another, is familiar to us.

So, it may be easier for us to accept at home a dog whose features match those of our family.

Of such a dog, such a couple (and such a car)?

Some psychologists even believe that this is a derivation of the way we look for the couple.

There is a theory that by getting together with someone who looks like us we ensure that our genes are compatible..

And according to some experts, with that same logic we would prefer anything that reminds us of ourselves.

Thus, we would choose our car based on the same criteria: someone with a prominent jaw would tend to buy, for example, a jeep.

And closing the circle: our car would end up looking like our dog.

According to this theory, we don't just look for what is similar to us in appearance.

We also tend to get together with those people who have a personality similar to ours.

A couple of years ago Borbala Turcsan, from the University of Eotvos in Budapest, Hungary, decided to investigate whether this was also applied when choosing a pet.

"The relationship with a dog is very special," says the expert.

"They are not only pets, but family members, a friend, a partner", Explain.

"So we think there could be a parallel between the way we choose them and the way we choose a partner."

Yes they have personality

The mere idea of ​​canine personality can generate many doubts.

But previous experiments showed that some personality traits of humans have their peers in dogs.

For example, the pair of an introvert would be a dog that hardly moves away from its owner's legs.

Thus, Turcsan discovered that dogs and their owners used to share some character traits.

"The resemblance was even greater than we found between marriages and friends"remarks.

However, they saw that the correlation was not explained by the time that the owner and the animal had lived together.

It didn't seem that pets had learned from their owners and imitated them.

In fact, the personality seemed inherent to the dog.

Therefore, the idea that we chose our pet to be compatible with us did not seem far-fetched to the expert.

And there are owner-dog relationships that last as long as marriages.

All this goes back to the time in which this relationship was born between humans and those who today are considered their best friends.

Humans began to domesticate dogs about 30,000 years ago to help them hunt.

But little by little they were raising them in their likeness.

And the result is intense emotional ties that exceed the natural boundaries between our species.

Today our dogs resemble us, act like us and, unlike other people, always correspond with their feelings.

In many ways, they are the best reflection of our own nature.

Surely you've ever met a human and his dog in the park with similar patterns, or even happen to you and your furry. But did you know that there is a scientific explanation of why dogs resemble their owners?

Some humans really seem brothers of their hairy pets and vice versa. Not only in physical attributes, but many times in aspects of personality.

Have you ever tried to compare yourself with your dog? Surely if you look, you'll find more similar traits of what you imagine.


Many people think that when dogs resemble their owners it is about a purely arbitrary chance. But they are very wrong.

And it is that scientists and psychologists have performed different studies to determine to what extent there is an explanation to this. One of them, made by the Japanese Sadahiko Nakajima, assured that everything revolved around a thing called “effect of mere exposure”.

According to this principle, it is not that dogs resemble their owners from the beginning, but that both adopt aspects and characteristics of the other. That is the more time you spend with your hairy , more things you copy from each other.

And especially the dogs capture our emotions perfectly without the need to communicate. If you get nervous, he will too. In the long term that translates into a human with nervous tendencies along with an equal hairy one.


Michael Roy, from the University of California, San Diego, did another parallel study. He went to different canine parks and photographed humans and their dogs. Then, he asked some random volunteers to they got to match who lived with who.

Most of them were right, based on the similarities between both: muscular man with pit bull, woman with big ears with big ears dog, etc. Indeed, the volunteers saw that Do dogs look like their owners.

He studied the experiment and came to a clear conclusion. According to him, we could choose our dog in the same way we choose our partner. And we instinctively choose those who look like us to ensure there will be genetic compatibility.

The point is that this theory is not only for couples, but for friends, co-workers, pets and even cars. We tend to get together with what looks like us because it conveys familiarity. Curious, right?


So it’s very interesting try the exercise with your own dog. Look at its details, its way of acting, the stimuli to which it responds, etc. This will be very beneficial since you can find out many things about yourself in which perhaps you had never noticed. And, no matter how much you train him to be a calm dog, if you are a restless person you'll never see improvements. Transmit tranquility to your dog!