Do dogs resemble their owner?
Some dogs defenitily have some resemblance to their owner
Everybody has heard of the saying that dogs resemble their owners, but is this really true? Of course some dogs will look like their owner and it shouldn't be too hard to find some examples but does the saying hold in general? I remember all the dogs we had in the family quite well but we've had different breeds and none really looked like anyone from our family. And if dogs do look like their owner what is it that makes them look alike. Is it purely their looks or is for example charisma important as well?
It sounds logical that when someone is searching for a dog companion he/she would want the dog to have the same character as him/herself. An active outgoing person with a lazy dog that sleeps the day away wouldn't be great together and neither the other way around, an active dog with a lazy person. So people will tend to pick a dog breed which matches their personality, this is some evidence that the dog will resemble its owner. Next to that, a short lightweight lady with a big dog like a rottweiler could cause some problems when the dog is disobedient. So larger persons tend to have larger dogs then the shorter people do. So two examples which usually hold, one based on character and one physical characteristic. Of course there are a lot more examples which could be summed here but there's no need for that.
So people choose a dog which will be practical in their live. So if dogs were all really different it wouldn't be very hard to pick a dog which suites you. In other words if only purebred dogs would exist people would probably have a big resemblance with their dog. But in reality most dogs are mixed bred. The more the breeds mix with each other the more the dogs lose their characteristic look and behavior. With a lot of dogs who begin to look alike due to the mixing of breeds it becomes a lot harder keep them apart and find a strong resemblance to the owner. So does the mixing of dog breeds make the old saying of resemblance less true for our time?
Some people go to the animal shelter when they want a new dog, this is of course a great thing for if they didn't the dogs in the shelter will get a lethal injection. But when picking a dog from the animal shelter it is more likely that the dog that is picked is the best choice of all the dogs in there as far as resemblance, but the resemblance is not great.
So there is defenitely some evidence in favor of the saying about resemblance but there are some facts that oppose it.
Conclusion: Some studies have tried to figure out if dogs resemeble their owners and which factors play a role in the resemblance. In a study by Micheal M. Roy and Nicholas J.S. Christenfield from the University of California they had observers trying to match dogs to their owners by looking at pictures of them. They expacted that it would be easier to match purebred dogs to their owners and they also were curious whether the time the dog and owner were together was of importance to the resemblance. They found that the observers were able to match the purebred dogs to their owners but not the dogs from mixed breeds. Also the time a dog has been with an owner did not matter for the resemblance. So in some sense people do indeed pick a pet (whether unconsiously or not) that resembles them.
In another study by Dr Lance Workman, from Bath Spa University, 50 to 60 per cent of the observers were able to match the right breed to the owner, were chance predicted that 33 per cent would be matched accurately. But in this study only purebred dogs were used, and the breeds were quite different.
This is some evidence that dogs do resemble their owners, but the observers were often not able to say exactly why they would pair a dog to a person. So the factors that determine resemblance between a dog and its owner are still not clear.
So until today a clear answer to the question cannot be given. I personally would say that dogs (pets, the kind of pet a person has does tell a lot about them) do resemble their owner in some way but in my opinion the resemblance should be sought-after in character rather then only looks.
- Dog owners who look like their Dogs
Picture comparisons of dogs who look like their owners.
- Study of the resemblance between dogs and their owners.
Study by Micheal M. Roy and Nicholas J.S. Christenfield from the University of California.