I always thought our yellow lab Tsali was the cutest dog in our neighborhood. But a study by Pauleen Bennett's Australian Anthrozoology Research Group at La Trobe University has given me second thoughts. The lead author of the study was Pinar Thorn. The researchers investigated attachment to pets, asking what's more important: a dog's personality or how cute it is?
To pull off the study, the researchers needed to assess dog personality and owners’ levels of attachment. This part was easy as Bennett’s team had previously developed standardized tests for both canine personalities and for owner attachment. Their Monash Canine Personality Questionnaire is a doggie version of tests that measure the Big Five personality traits in humans. The attachment measure was the Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale. It assesses three dimensions of the strength of the bonds between people and dogs.The researchers also gave the participants a second measure of attachment developed by researchers in England - the Dog Attachment Questionnaire. This scale measures four dimensions of attachments to companion animals.
But what about cuteness? Thorn and her colleagues discovered there was no instrument to measure how cute dogs are, so they made their own. Their Canine Cuteness Scale consists of a single question “Rate your dog on a scale from 1 (not cute at all) to 6 (really cute).” (For statistical analysis purposes, the researchers transformed the scores to a 10 point scale.)
Mason N McLary
|Publisher||The Humane Society|
|Location of Publication||Washington, D.C.|