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Here's Why Your Dog Might Not Be As Cute As You Think

By Harold Herzog

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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

HABRI Central

Date 2015
Pages 5
Publisher The Humane Society
Location of Publication Washington, D.C.
URL http://animalstudiesrepository.org/aniubpos/32/
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted activities
  2. Animal personality
  3. Animal roles
  4. Animals in culture
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Attachment
  7. Attraction
  8. Dogs
  9. Health
  10. Mammals
  11. Pet ownership
  12. Pets and companion animals
  13. Physical environment
  14. Social Environments