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Why Do We Love Dogs So Much?

Physical characteristics can be passed down from parent to child. This is why some people say to you, “you have your mother’s eyes,” or nose, or lips, or whatever part of the body that is. In the same way, behavioral patterns can also be passed down. For example, if your parents loved to travel, then most likely you’ll like to travel when you grow up. Could this answer the question of why we love dogs? This is what Stanley Coren of Psychology Today explored.

As a psychologist, I have always been interested in which factors determine certain patterns of behavior, especially when those patterns seem to be passed on to subsequent generations in the same family. When it comes to positive or negative feelings toward dogs and dog ownership, I have always presumed that this is determined partly by culture (for example certain religions may support or abhor interactions with dogs) and partly by an individual's personal history. This idea has been supported by the fact that previous research has indicated that exposure to dogs during childhood is associated with more positive attitudes towards dogs and an increased likelihood of dog ownership in adulthood. However, there is an alternative.
A team of Swedish researchers headed by Tove Fall, a Professor of Molecular Epidemiology at the Department of Medical Sciences and the Science for Life Laboratory at Uppsala University, was aware of data showing that certain personality characteristics were more common in dog owners than in owners of cats or non-pet owners. Since there is already a lot of evidence showing that there are genetic influences on personality characteristics, it is a natural next step to wonder if there might be a genetic factor that plays a role in determining whether a person will be attracted to dogs and want to own one.

Why do you love dogs? Have you thought about it?

(Image Credit: llipkind/ Pixabay)


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