Guys, forget the chocolates, flowers, and pheromone colognes. The secret to finding your everlasting love could be as simple as walking your dog.
It’s something we’ve known all along, but now scientists have put some muscle behind the notion that dogs are date magnets. Researchers led by Peter B. Gray, of the Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, found found that women were more likely than men to take a pet into account when assessing a romantic prospect.
They also found that dogs “served more commonly as social barometers in the dating arena than did cats.”
The study—"The Roles of Pet Dogs and Cats in Human Courtship and Dating"—was published in the quarterly journal Anthrozoos last month.
Women, they found, will view a guy who has a pet more appealing and a canine pal counts more than felines.
For some, being a "cat guy" was a deal breaker. About half of the women in their 20s said “no” when asked if they thought a relationship with a “cat person” could work out. That bias eased over time. Across all ages, about 10 percent were skeptical about the potential for happily ever after with Tabby.
Almost no one, of either gender, believed that a relationship with a "dog person" was likely to fail.
A lot of men seem to understand that a companion animal is the way to a woman’s heart, and had no trouble exploiting their pets in this manner. More men (22 percent) than women (6 percent) said they’d used their pets as date bait.
"This sex difference is consistent with a dynamic by which men advertise traits they perceive are desirable ... to prospective mates," the researchers wrote.
You know the saying, “Love me, love my dog?” The researchers found that about half of the women and a quarter of the men take that to heart, and said they judged potential partners based on how the person responded to their pet. But it can’t just be a one-way street. About 76 percent of women and 60 percent of men took a pet’s opinion into account when sizing up a new dating prospect.
What about people who are not fans of animals? Forget about it! Three-quarters of the of the women and more than half of the men said they would not date someone who did not like pets.
The researchers gathered their data through a 21-question survey sent to 2,300 subscribers to Match.com, who described themselves as single, pet owners, living in the U.S., and over age 20. Of the 1,210 respondents, more than 60 percent were women and more than 48 percent were over age 50.
Top photo courtesy Collie Club of America