Why Dogs And Their Owners Sometimes Look Alike, According To Science Experiment

Do you know that scene in the animated version of “101 Dalmatians” when Pongo is staring out the window looking for a girlfriend for his owner Roger? Do you remember how each dog and owner pair that goes by seems to be mirror reflections of each other? That’s because, in real life, there really is a strange phenomenon of how dogs and their owners seem to resemble one another. There is even scientific research to back it up.

Sadahiko Nakajima is one psychologist who has looked in-depth at this phenomenon. Working as a researcher with Japan’s Kwansei Gakuin University, he found evidence that supports why dogs and owners often resemble one another.

Back in 2009, Nakajima facilitated an experiment to see if strangers were able to match up dogs and their owners. The only thing they had to go on, were photographs of faces. Incredibly, the participants were able to identify dog and owner pairs with an 80% accuracy!

And in more recent work, Nakajima has gone even further when he developed another experiment testing if specific facial features were key to correctly matching up dogs with their owners. He created two different sheets of dog and human pictures. One sheet had dogs correctly matched with their owners, while the other sheet had mismatched dogs and owners. In order to see whether or not the facial features were key, Nakajima blacked out the eyes or mouths in the photos of the photos. Then, the study’s participants were randomly given one of five different photo pairings and asked to identify which pairs were correctly the dogs with their owners.

Nakajima discovered that it’s all in the eyes. When either the human’s or dog’s eyes were covered, accuracy went down to about 50%. Basically, the participants had the same accuracy has just random guessing when the eyes were covered. However, when the eyes were not covered, participants experienced a 74% accuracy when correctly matching dogs and owners.

There have been other researchers that have discovered that owners are typically responsible for this doppelganger effect when picking dogs because apparently, it’s similar to picking a mate. When people go adopt a dog, they tend to opt for dogs that are more familiar. Of course, they don’t realize it, but they’re actually looking for physical features as well as personality traits that closely resemble their own. For example, researchers have noticed that dogs and owners tend to share traits such as extroversion or shyness. In fact, it is believed to be that the personalities of dogs and their owners may be more closely matched than those of married couples!

And if you’re not convinced by the science of it all, there is always the hashtag #dogownerlookalike on Instagram that may change your mind:


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