Study: Women prefer men with adopted animals, consider dogs as ‘hottest’ pet

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Pet dog
Chloe, a nine-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, looks into the camera after tasting a dog treat sample at Milo's Kitchen Treat Truck in San Francisco, California June 27, 2014. Milo's Kitchen, a San Francisco-based pet food company, on Friday started its nationwide food truck tour specifically catered to dogs. Reuters/Stephen Lam

Pets could be the key to having a perfect date, a new study suggests. Researchers found that men with adopted pets are deemed more attractive, especially those with dogs, as women consider these animals as the “hottest” pet.

The study, recently published in the journal Anthrozoös, shows that women tend to judge their date based on how the person reacts to his pet. In a survey, 553 women and 277 men said a person’s treatment of pets would make a difference in the date.

For women, a man’s treatment of a pet indicates their potential of being “engaged with offspring and with family social duties, whether that means taking care of you or you and your children,” study co-author Justin Garcia, an evolutionary biologist at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and scientific advisor for the dating website Match.com, told the National Geographic. Pets “add some twists and turns to our love lives."

“So how we would expect a woman to behave based on her children’s response to a date, we’re seeing something similar happen with pets,” added co-author Shelly Volsche, a biocultural anthropology graduate student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. 

The findings come from the analysis of results of a survey in 2014 conducted by Match.com and the retailer PetSmart. It covers nearly 2,300 single pet owners in the US registered on Match.com.

The study also suggests that dogs could significantly help singles assess potential dates than other common pets like cats. Dogs commonly need more care than other animals and are often part of the domestic and social lives of people.

Researchers said that the connection of pet owners to their dogs can be more easily observed by others. Match.com’s survey also indicates that those who own cats are less likely to judge a date based on their response to a pet than dog owners or think having a pet signals something about the owner’s personality.