New study reveals the 'key to cuteness' in dogs

A study by a dog rehoming website, involving twenty different breeds of dog, has found that when dogs move a particular facial muscle, humans react more positively and their chances of finding a new home increase.

Monday, 24th July 2017, 1:55 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 11:57 am
Look into my eyes...

The study, conducted by on behalf of Direct Line Pet Insurance, also found:

The facial expression of a dog in their listing photo can be more influential than breed, age, size, colour and sex of a dog when it comes to rehoming enquiries

Facial muscle AU101 is the 'key to cuteness' when it comes to dogs

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Adult humans appear to react to dogs in the same way we react to babies

Dogs with a 'sad expression' in their listing photo are more likely to be rehomed than dogs who look happy

Psychologist Professor Sir Cary Cooper CBE believes humans can be influenced by a dog just by looking into his eyes

The study, in which a team of analysts measured the rehoming rates of different dogs based on the facial expression displayed in their listing photo found that dogs who move their AU101 muscle to create a baby-like expression are more likely to be rehomed quicker than dogs who appear happy or sad, playful or quirky.

This latest study however took the thought process one step further setting out to find out just how much of a role photographs play in a dog's rehoming success and whether there was a particular type of photo that could dramatically increase a dog's chance of finding a new home quicker by attracting more interest from would-be owners.

Twenty dogs of different breeds, sizes, colours and genders completed the study across a variety of photograph styles including: happy and sad, playful and quirky with a separate category for dogs with a particular facial expression (specifically around the dog's eyes and eyebrow movement).

The findings revealed that of all categories, dogs who moved their eyebrows making their eyes appear bigger, like babies, attracted a higher interest rate** than all other categories.

Dogs with sad photos finished in second place, while dogs with happy photos or which showed the dog's in happier settings and circumstances, fell far behind attracting two thirds less attention.