Online dating applications offer new ways for people to search for social contacts. While previous studies have indicated that the inclusion of animals in profiles can increase users’ dating success rates, the question of how many users display animals, and what kinds of animals are shown on dating profiles, has not yet been empirically investigated. Using a structured observational study of profiles in Vienna and Tokyo on a popular online dating app (n = 2400), we therefore looked at how many profiles show animals and what kinds of animals are shown. We found that 15.5% of the investigated profiles had at least one photo showing an animal. In both cities, dogs were the most frequently shown animal. Taking the cities together, they appeared in 46.4% of the animal pictures, as compared with cats at 25.7%. Other animals such as exotic animals (9.9%), farm animals (6.4%) or horses (4.6%) played a minor role. Users were significantly more likely to show cats in Tokyo (35.8%) than they were in Vienna (18.0%). We found that users in Vienna; women; and older adults were more likely to present animals on their profiles than were users in Tokyo; men; and younger users. Sexual orientation showed no significant differences in the analyses.
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