There's just something about a dude with a dog, amirite?
Whether it's Sex and the City's Aidan and his spaniel Pete or this aptly titled Tumblr of Tom Hardy and dogs, men with canine companions seem to possess an intoxicating mixture of charm, ruggedness and compassion, all at the same time.
Even if the above isn't exactly true across the board (the sad reality is that assholes do indeed adopt dogs all the time), a new study has confirmed the appeal of men with mutts. Researchers have concluded that pets do indeed make their owners seem sexier, to the surprise of no one who has ever seen the classic Disney film 101 Dalmatians.
As part of a collaboration with PetSmart published in the journal Anthrozoös, researchers from the University of Nevada, Indiana University and Rutgers University got together to analyze how single folks' pet-owning statuses influenced their dating lives.
"What role do companion animals play in the dating lives of single adults?" they asked. "As dogs and cats are increasingly viewed as family members, a person's pets may wield significant influence in partner choice." (Owners of other types of pets were also included in the study, but the results were too negligible to be statistically significant. Don't worry, ferret owners! You'll get your day in the sun!)
The researchers' hunch was ultimately proven to be correct. After analyzing survey answers from over 1,200 pet-owning singles on Match.com, the authors found that 35% of women and 26% of men have "been more attracted to someone because they had a pet."
While the survey was inclusive of both dog and cat owners, they found that when it comes to making a partner appear sexier, dogs take the cake (or bone, as it were). When asked "What is the sexiest pet a guy could own?" 500 out of 600 votes went to dog.
Of course, this is not the first time it has been determined that dogs can have a v. positive impact on a dude's hotness level. From the ancient stereotype that dogs are total "chick magnets" to the fact that a "hot dudes with dogs" Instagram account was able to rack up nearly 150,000 followers in under a month this year, it seems we're all thirsty for the dude-dog combo.
This is likely for a number of reasons. Over at Slate earlier this year, Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods reported that when men "have a dog with them, they are approached more and experience more positive interactions." After all, it'd be easier to strike up a conversation by saying "Aww!" and petting a dude's Golden Retriever than it would be to randomly approach him for no reason at all. They also mentioned a 2013 study that found that a guy with a dog is extra hot because dog ownership "signals that he has the resources and the willingness to care for someone else, even if other evidence of his mating behavior says otherwise."
It's worth noting, however, that this stereotype seems fairly gendered: While 60% of those surveyed were women and 40% were men, a significantly higher percentage of women reported being more attracted to a man with dogs. Women were also significantly less likely to report being interested in dating men with cats, with 32% of women in their 20s saying dating a cat owner was a dealbreaker versus 10% of men (lending credence to the stereotype of the crazy cat man).
So in conclusion, BRB, fantasizing about ultimate dog-owning dream hunk Roger Radcliffe morphing into an IRL human.