Why is a dog [a woman's] best friend? New research reveals the answer (2023)

Scientists have struggled for decades to explain why dogs are so successful at living with humans. They measured the length of the snout and teethsizes; intelligence of the tested dogs. and came up with elaborate theories. But for the longest time these experts resisted the most obvious answer - I know because I was one of them.

It turns out that the secret of dogs' success in the company of people is not their intelligence. it is in their heart. It lies in their explosive, boundless, excessive – almost abnormal – desire to formstrong emotional tieswith members of other species. The bond between a dog and a human is actually very simple.

Dogs bond enthusiastically with people of all kinds they meet during the first three months of life. It's usually us - but it doesn't have to be. I visited goat farmers in Arizona who have Anatolian Shepherds, a breed native to Turkey. These gentle giants protect the goats simply because they were put in the goat barn when they were puppies. They grew up watching goats for the kind of emotional connection we're used to seeing our dogs form with us.

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Denying the role of love

The ancient Greeks wrote about how dogs love people, but we scientists were slow to understand this. We were looking for special forms of intelligence that could explain how canines became the most widespread large mammal on the surface of this planet. There sure are some smart puppies out there. i getHunterfor example, the dog that the BBC called "the smartest in the world". Chaser knew the names of over 1200 games. He would have brought you any of these if you had asked. I was convinced of that when I met her. I searched about 50 toys by name and she was happy to be wrong.

However, most dogs are not as smart as Chaser. The kinds of smart things they do in our daily lives—things like following our gestures to find things and realizing that we can't see them when our backs are turned—other animals can do if they're raised as humans and live their lives dependent on humans for everything. should. Maybe scientists looked for intelligence in dogs because at least we knew how to measure it. Attachment—love—seemed too broken to translate into the cold, hard numbers of science. Recently, however, my colleagues and I have come up with a few ways to measure a dog's ability to love. Pet owners won't be surprised to learn that this ability shines through every pore of their furry body.

Test "Theory of Love"

In an extremely simple test, we simply asked people to sit on a chair. Then we let their dog into the room with them. We measured how much time the dog spent in the vicinitytheir person. We've done it with dogs and we've also done it with handmade wolves. All dogs are descended from wolves. If we want to understand what makes dogs truly special, we have to compare them to their wild ancestors.

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We tried the wolvesPark vukovain Indiana, where the animals have been hand-raised since 1974. The park's wolves are some of the most beautiful human-centered animals you can meet. The person sitting in the enclosure for our research helped raise the wolf we tested. So we knew that this man and the wolf had an extremely strong bond. The wolf spent about a quarter of the two-minute test close to its human. We then repeated the test with humans and their dogs. Wolves may have cared enough for their humans, but dogs were completely off limits. Most dogs spent every last second of the two-minute test period right next to their person. That's almost four times the amount of time the wolves spent with their special humans.

In the genes

So, armed with this wonderfully simple way of measuring the intensity of love that dogs have for humans, we sent DNA samples (just a painless bite) to a geneticist to see if we could find genes that might be responsible for the incredible change in loving behavior between dogs and wolves. Finding genes for traits such as kindness is not easy because the loving nature of an animal is not a direct result of its genetic endowment, but also depends on every life experience a person has had up to the time you took the test. To my surprise, we were able to discover three genes that enable the loving nature of dogs. I was doubly surprised to learn that there is an extremely rare syndrome in our own species that also involves changes in the
gener.Williams-Beurenov are Romeit involves 28 genes and has many effects. They range from odd facial structures to heart defects, but the key symptom is an exceptional level of kindness. Since we announced our discovery, many family members of people with Williams-Beuren syndrome have contacted me to say that they always felt there was something about their relatives that resembled the loving nature of dogs.

Love hormone

Further research is underway on the love of dogs for the human species. Oxytocin is called the "love hormone" because it has been shown to increase when two people in an intensely loving relationship - such as mothers and their children - make eye contact. At Azabu University in Japan, a research team led byTakefumi Kikusui, Dr. sc,found the same oxytocin spikes in both their dogs and humanswhen they looked into each other's eyes. Researchers in Sweden, Hungary and elsewhere have adapted a test originally developed to assess the relationship between caregivers and young children.

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In this assessment, designed to mimic real life, a young child is taken into an unfamiliar room and then left alone with a stranger for a period of time. Researchers note that the infant is more easily upset when separated from the mother, but is then happy to be reunited. The same test, when applied to dogs and their humans, produces remarkably similar results. This shows that the bond between a puppy and a person is very similar to the bond between a child and its mother.

Dogs and their people

Two Australian scientists attached heart rate monitors to the chests of people and their dogs, then asked them to lie down while their heart rates were monitored. Researchers have found that when people and their dogs relax together, their heartbeats become synchronized—literally, “two hearts beat as one

yes that oneEmory Universityin Atlanta,Gregory Berns, dr. sc, and his team trained dogs using only positive training techniques to lie perfectly still in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners. MRI scanners produce beautifully clear images of brain activity. BeforeBern's work, was only used on humans because only humans could understand the importance of being completely still in a claustrophobically noisy machine. Berns' team observed the dogs' brain activity when they were reminded of their special people - or the possibility of a piece of sausage. Sure, the reward centers in the dogs' brains lit up at the sight of the sausage, but for most dogs, the reward centers fired even more strongly at the prospect of being reunited with their human.

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True connection

I am sometimes ashamed to admit that it took me so long to realize that the flawless love affair I had with my childhood dog, Benji, actually captured the essence of the dog-human bond and explains dogs' incredible success with people. world. We researchers wanted the answer to be more complicated.

Some people might say that science that only confirms what people already know is a waste of time - but I really don't think so, for several reasons. First, many people think that dogs only love us because of what we give them. 'Cupboard love' was what we called it when I was growing up in England. But now we can say that it is not true. Most dogs genuinely love their people - not just as a way to get more treats. Second, we should use that knowledge to give our dogs what they needhappy life with us. We love dogs because of their wonderful open nature. We must recognize that the real social needs of our pets require something behind us.

We give our dogs what they need

It's hard to leave the dog alone all day while we're out at work and playing. These extremely social creaturesCry outfor society. Separation anxiety is the most common psychological problem in dogs. This is often not an abnormal response to normal circumstances, but an understandable response to truly irrational situations. Dogs are not like our smart devices that can be left alone for hours or days. Our dogs need companionship for their mental health. So I'm glad that we researchers finally succeeded and are now doing everything we can to improve the lives of dogs and people by spreading the science of dog love and its effects.

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Clive D.L. Wynne, a comparative psychologist at Arizona State University, is its authorDog is love: Why and how your dog loves you.

A version of this article appeared in partner magazine Inside Your Dog's Mind in 2021.


Why is a dog a woman's best friend? ›

According to the research, dogs do not interrupt sleep as often as humans do, and they also provide women with more feelings of comfort and security than human sleeping partners.

Is a dog a woman's best friend? ›

The truth is out: dogs are a (wo)man's best friend! While it may be no secret to you, your pet is helping you out in more ways than one. In fact, having a furry companion at your side has many hidden benefits! In honor of Women's Health Week, let's take a look at some of the ways your pet keeps you happy and healthy.

Why is dog mans best friend science? ›

Dogs have been man's best friend for at least the past 15,000 years. Science now shows that this symbiotic relationship has been as beneficial for humans as their canine companions. Benefits of dog ownership include familial ties, a reduce risk of schizophrenia, and improved cardiovascular health.

How did dogs become man's best friend at an early age answer? ›

Dogs today evolved from wolves who first developed a relationship with humans on the hunting trail. Dogs have aided humans for thousands of years. Man's best friend has provided protection, companionship and hunting assistance since the days of the earliest human settlements.

Why do dogs like woman more? ›

Dogs like women's softer voices and smaller figures. They may be intimidated by a man's larger frame, deeper voice, and facial hair. Most veterinarians and primary caregivers are female, meaning dogs are more frequently exposed to women throughout their lives.

Is a dog more loyal than a girl? ›

Are Male or Female Dogs More Loyal? One long-standing myth about dogs, is that female dogs tend to be more loyal than their male counterparts. This myth has passed down generations of dog breeders and dog lovers. And can be traced back as far as when dogs were wild and living in packs.

Can female dogs be friends? ›

Two female dogs could act exactly like their male counterparts. As young pups, these two new female puppies may be friendly and pal around as you'd expect. But when they get a little older, they could vie for dominance.

What is a womens best friend? ›

6 Things That Are a Girl's Best Friend (Hint: None Are Diamonds)
  1. Self-Esteem. Self-esteem is a girl's best friend. ...
  2. Friends. Friends. ...
  3. Instinct & Courage. Okay, so those are two things technically, but they work together. ...
  4. Financial Education. ...
  5. Patience. ...
  6. Family.
Feb 18, 2018

Are female dogs friendly? ›

"Many pet owners report that female dogs are easier to house train and are more attentive to their owners than male dogs, with male dogs being more aloof," Johanna Reel, registered vet technician for NHV Natural Pet, told INSIDER.

Can dogs have mango? ›

Have you ever wondered, “Can dogs eat mango?” The answer is yes, they can. This fruit is full of vitamins and safe for your pup to consume, as long as it's peeled and the pit is removed. It's important to note that you should only give your canine companion mango in moderation.

Why are dogs so loyal to humans? ›

There is a scientific basis for this: domestic dogs are descended from wolves, which man once took in and tamed with shelter and food in return for them acting as guard dogs. This reciprocal relationship remains in your dog's genes and their loyalty is a by-product of it.

Why men with dogs are attractive? ›

Dogs make people appear more responsible, trustworthy, and empathetic. Studies have shown women are more attracted to men with dogs on dating sites than men without dogs. Dog owners may appear to be more interested in committed relationships, which is attractive to people looking to have families.

Why do dogs like humans? ›

The hormone oxytocin is released (in both dogs and people) when they interact/have contact with someone they like. This 'love hormone' helps cement and increase the bond we share … it's also the hormone that floods the system of new moms to amp up attachment to new babies.”

Can dogs really be a man's best friend in what way? ›

It's well-known that dogs are man's best friend, but they do much more than just hang out with us. Dogs provide emotional support when we are stressed or anxious and are highly attentive to us and our emotional states.

What was the first dog known to man? ›

The most widely accepted earliest dog remains are those of the Bonn-Oberkassel dog which date to 15,000 YBP. Earlier remains dating back to 30,000 YBP have been described as Paleolithic dogs but their status as dogs or wolves remains debated.

Why do dogs lick your face? ›

Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they're stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them! Excessive licking can sometimes be a sign that your dog is anxious, uncomfortable or in pain.

Do girl dogs hump while in heat? ›

Often, during courtship, females in heat mount and hump their male “suitors.” Female dogs also commonly mount and hump other females when one or both are in heat.

Why are female dogs clingy? ›

Dogs are clingy for three basic reasons. Your dog may have great anxiety about being left alone. Various illnesses may cause the dog to seek comfort from your companionship. And a female dog about to be in heat may tend to stick closer to her owner.

What gender of dog is more cuddly? ›

Male dogs are usually more affectionate than females, and some positively crave human attention. You'll find it's always you who brings the cuddling and fussing to an end – he could happily go on like this all day!

Which gender likes dogs more? ›

They've long been referred to as man's best friend, and now new research from Mintel reveals that no one loves their mutt quite as much as American men. Today, some seven in 10 (71%) younger men aged 18-44 own a dog compared to just three in five (60%) of their female counterparts.

Why does my dog stare at me? ›

Just as humans stare into the eyes of someone they adore, dogs will stare at their owners to express affection. In fact, mutual staring between humans and dogs releases oxytocin, known as the love hormone. This chemical plays an important role in bonding and boosts feelings of love and trust.

Can female dogs flirt? ›

More attention paid to male dogs: If a female dog in heat sees a male dog, she'll “flirt” with him by exposing and raising her rear in his direction while moving her tail out of the way. Excessive genital licking: A female dog in heat will excessively lick (or “clean”) her genital area.

Are female dogs Alpha? ›

All modern dogs are descended from wolves, perhaps one of the best-known pack animals. They are also social animals with an instinctive understanding of a chain of command. The pack leaders, one male, and one female are called the alphas.

Do female dogs bond with one person? ›

A dog's preference for one person — or type of person — over another has a great deal to do with socialization. Dogs don't, as a rule, dislike men, but most dogs are cared for by women, and are thus more comfortable around them.

Do girl best friends get jealous? ›

Jealousy has often been an inevitable part of many female friendships. Whether it's the feelings of envy when your friend receives a promotion at work or bitterness when she spends time with another friend. This might have happened to you: Your friend is having a baby or has scored her dream job.

Can a female best friend fall in love? ›

While it is not necessary that all friendship leads to a romantic relationship, but it is most likely that one ends up falling for their best-friend. And why not? You spend so much time with each other, make so many great memories together and are open about every little aspect of your life.

What are girl best friends like? ›

A girl best friend will keep your secret and love you unconditionally without judgment and conditions. Even if you are not in touch with them or not being friends now they won't reveal your secrets to anyone doesn't matter how close they are.

What is a nice name for a girl dog? ›

20 Most Popular Female Dog Names
  • Bella.
  • Lucy.
  • Daisy.
  • Molly.
  • Maggie.
  • Lola.
  • Sophie.
  • Chloe.

Are two female dogs OK? ›

Some of the things to consider are gender, size, and age. Most experts agree that, as a rule, male and female dogs get along better than two females or two males. However, that being said, I've known many households (including my own) that successfully have two of the same gender dogs without any problems at all.

Should a woman have a male dog? ›

Gender: While there is no set rule that a female dog will be a better friend for a male dog, if you have never had two dogs at the same time it is generally easier and often safer to have dogs of the opposite sex. Same-sex combinations can be tricky to manage as dogs work out their dominance or pack order.

Can dogs eat pineapple? ›

Yes. Raw pineapple, in small amounts, is an excellent snack for dogs. Canned pineapple, on the other hand, should be avoided. The syrup in canned fruits contains too much sugar for most dogs' digestive tracts to handle.

Can dogs eat avocado? ›

According to veterinarians, dogs are more resistant to persin than other animals, but that doesn't mean avocados are 100% safe for your dog to consume. Persin is present in avocado fruit, pits, leaves, and the actual plant, so all of these parts are potentially poisonous to your dog.

Can dogs eat banana? ›

Yes, dogs can eat bananas. In moderation, bananas are a great low-calorie treat for dogs. They're high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fiber, and copper. They are low in cholesterol and sodium, but because of their high sugar content, bananas should be given as a treat, not part of your dog's main diet.

Why does my dog lick me? ›

One of the most common reasons why dogs love to lick their owners is simply to show their affection. Since you're the one taking care of them, you're essentially their world! When dogs lick, pleasurable endorphins are released into their blood which makes them feel calm and comforted.

Why are dog noses wet? ›

Noses secrete mucus. The inner lining of the dog's nose contains special glands that produce mucus to keep the nasal canals moist. A thin layer of mucus clings to the nostrils, enhancing the absorption of scent chemicals and improving the dog's ability to smell.

Do dogs prefer humans over dogs? ›

Research shows that domestic dogs have been selectively bred to be strongly biased to love humans more strongly than other dogs. The fact that dogs are biased toward the human bond may make re-homing dogs in pairs unnecessary.

Which dogs prefer men? ›

Guy dogs are most commonly sporting dogs (spaniels, retrievers, setters, pointers) or herding dogs (collies, shepherds), although I've seen it in dogs as diverse as Boston Terriers and Mastiffs. Dogs who go nuts for guys tend to be physically fit relative to other members of their breed or breeds.

Who are dogs more attracted to? ›

A lot of the time, the kind of person dogs prefer has more to do with that person's personality traits than their gender. According to Dr. Bonk, people who are calm and quiet are the ones most dogs like best. “They like someone that will get down to their level and not scare or upset them,” Dr.

What type of person are dogs attracted to? ›

Dogs love anyone who shows them genuine care, attention, and compassion. Never hesitate to shower a dog with your love because they are instantly attracted to such people and cannot get enough of them.

Does a dog trust you if they sleep on you? ›

Cuddles & Sleepy Snuggles 💤

Dogs choose to sleep where they feel most comfortable and at ease, so if your dog enjoys sleeping in your bed, or likes to snuggle up to you for a nap, they feel trust in you that they will be safe to do so.

What do dogs see us as? ›

That said, dogs often treat us as like we're part of one big happy pack. They can be incredibly loyal and loving to their family members. They rely on their human alphas to take care of them. If your dog doesn't see you as their alpha and ignores your commands, some professional training may be in order.

What do dogs think about all day? ›

Dogs spend much of their day snoozing, but in the hours they're awake, they probably spend time thinking about some of the same things that a 2- or 3-year-old child would: “Solving problems, what's for dinner, what's that over there?” Hare says.

Do dogs choose a best friend? ›

Yes, it's very possible that they do. And often, that best friend is you! Be sure to continually build your bond with your dog by taking walks, playing and otherwise establishing consistent routines that incorporate activities your pooch enjoys.

How do you know if your dog's best friend? ›

How do you know when your dog has a BFF? Dogs with dog best friends prefer to stay in closer proximity with the other animal. They ignore the other dogs and tend to play more or spend more time in general with their dog best friend. They may be more willing to share their toys, bed, water bowl and general space.

Can a man be in love with a dog? ›

Research by US psychologist Dr Chris Blazina suggests that many men find their relationship and attachment to their dog to be more secure than their closest human relationships. In the research Dr Blazina analysed a number of studies to further understand how bonding with a pet can enrich men's lives.

What dog lives the longest? ›

Australian Cattle Dogs

Bluey, an Australian cattle dog, entered the Guinness Book of World Records by living to the ripe old age of 29 years and 5 months, setting the record for oldest dog ever.

What is the purest breed of dog? ›

What Are The Cleanest Dog Breeds?
  • German Pinscher.
  • Greyhound.
  • Japanese Chin.
  • Maltese.
  • Pharaoh Hound.
  • Poodle.
  • Whippet.
  • Xoloitzcuintli.

Why is a dog a man's best friend and not a woman's? ›

Dogs are social pack animals who thrive off of attention and affection, making them a prime candidate for a person's best friend. Since dogs have been domesticated to a point where they need us to survive, and we tend to find that we need them almost as much, people and dogs developed a symbiotic relationship.

When a dog loves a woman? ›

Your dog might jump on you, lick your face, and they'll definitely wag their tail. Being excited and happy to see you is one way you can be assured they love and miss you. They seek physical contact. This can come in the form of a quick nuzzle, a cuddle, or the famous lean.

Are female dogs better at protecting people? ›

Are Male or Female Dogs More Protective? There is no significant difference between male or female dogs in terms of protective behaviors. Territorial or protective behaviors are more pronounced in unaltered dogs than in neutered dogs, and breed plays a role as well.

Which is more friendly male or female dogs? ›

Male dogs are usually more affectionate than females, and some positively crave human attention. You'll find it's always you who brings the cuddling and fussing to an end – he could happily go on like this all day!

Do dogs like male or females better? ›

Dogs Prefer Adults — Particularly Women

A dog's preference for one person — or type of person — over another has a great deal to do with socialization. Dogs don't, as a rule, dislike men, but most dogs are cared for by women, and are thus more comfortable around them.

Are female dogs nicer than males? ›

Female dogs tend to be easier to housebreak, easier to train, and more connected with their owners—but in certain circumstances they can be more demanding of attention. Aggression can be a problem in any dog of any breed, however it is usually more apparent in non-neutered males.

What does it mean when your dog licks you? ›

Licking is a natural and instinctive behaviour to dogs. For them it's a way of grooming, bonding, and expressing themselves. Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they're stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them!

Do female dogs flirt? ›

More attention paid to male dogs: If a female dog in heat sees a male dog, she'll “flirt” with him by exposing and raising her rear in his direction while moving her tail out of the way. Excessive genital licking: A female dog in heat will excessively lick (or “clean”) her genital area.

Why do dogs stare at you? ›

Just as humans stare into the eyes of someone they adore, dogs will stare at their owners to express affection. In fact, mutual staring between humans and dogs releases oxytocin, known as the love hormone. This chemical plays an important role in bonding and boosts feelings of love and trust.

Are female dogs more clingy? ›

Love and affection

Many dog people say male dogs are more affectionate, while female dogs tend not to want the constant attention and validation that the boys often seem to crave. They say female dogs can be "moody" and "independent," while male dogs can be "clingy" and "silly."

Do girl dogs prefer females? ›

“This typically has to do with how they were socialized, who takes care of them and their past experiences,” Dr. Bonk told The Dodo. “If a dog is taken care of by a female, they're more likely to prefer females, [whereas] if they're primarily taken care of by a male, they may prefer males.”

Which is more aggressive male or female dogs? ›

According to multiple studies as well as anecdotal evidence male dogs tend to be more dangerous and cause a much higher percentage of dog bite incidents than female dogs. Male dogs exhibit more of an aggressive behavior particularly against children.


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