It is common for dog owners to have a whole camera roll filled with pictures of their dogs. Understandably so, as most dogs are just so cute. They make us want to cuddle, give them tons of kisses, and take multiple pictures.
What is it about dogs that elicit this reaction from us? Why are dogs so cute? Maybe understanding is what will explain why some people are too attached to their pups. We will look at why dogs can turn even the toughest of people into softies when it comes to them.
What Makes Dogs Cute?
Before looking at why dogs are cute, let us first dig into what cuteness is. We all have different things we define as cute; maybe it is babies, toys, or whatever else. But what actually is the meaning of cute?
The dictionary defines cuteness as something attractive in an endearing way. This means it draws us in. It is related to the concept of “kinderschema”. According to biologist Konrad Lorenz, “kinderschema” refers to a list of physical attributes that we find attractive. Most of these attributes bear a semblance to our children and invoke our nurturing and protective instincts.
This is how we are wired, which endears us to most baby mammals or babies following their appearance and configuration.
In short, it is the small, button-like noses, large rounded eyes, and tiny mouths and chins that we like. Our brains are designed to find these lovable and adorable; maybe it is so we can find our own babies endearing. It also brings about the protective feelings that arise when we see babies.
Kinderschema also evokes instincts to nurture and handle the baby with gentleness. Furthermore, it releases dopamine, one of the feel-good chemicals.
Generally, the cuteness of babies has promoted our survival instinct which is meant to give rise to our desire to preserve our race.
That same reaction is what we get when we see baby animals or small mammals. This is why we respond that way to baby pandas, elephants, and of course, our beloved dogs.
Dogs Cute Features
Their adorable face, big eyes, and cute mouths invoke “kinderschema”, prompting us to cherish, nurture, and love them. Some of the other things that make them endearing to us include the following:
- Large head-to-body size ratio
- Big, round ears
- Rounded body shape
- Teetering walk
- Floppy limbs
- Soft and fluffy body surfaces
Scientists believe these furry creatures have evolved to become even cuter over the years. Their cuteness makes some people consider them babies, which is understandable. Consequently, it strengthens our protective instincts, which have helped them survive since they started being domesticated.
It is also possible that dogs learned to mimic children’s facial movements to bring out the instinct to care for and protect them.
Moreover, science shows that we might be inclined to pet and cuddle animals, such as dogs and cats, because they seem innocent and helpless. This makes us more protective of them. A study shows that some shelter dogs who widen their eyes and raise their inner brows tend to get adopted faster.
Why Is The Cuteness Important?
Living beings are wired to evolve as time passes to suit their surroundings. Without this, we would not have opposable thumbs or hairs in the right places, such as the eyebrows. We had to develop specific characteristics that helped us face the different climate and environmental changes.
Dogs have also had to do the same thing to survive this long. They used to be wild creatures with an inbuilt killer instinct. That is why other members of their ancestral family, like the wolves, are considered dangerous. They are still their raw, natural selves, with killer instincts to help them survive.
Human beings, however, decided to take these animals and domesticate them. This has dulled their instincts over time. It is not that dogs do not have the killer instinct anymore; they still do; it is just lesser than their ancestors. Because of this, dogs have had to find other ways to survive.
We all get so angry when we hear someone killed a dog on the news or in films. No one in their right mind will harm these creatures, which is why their cuteness is important. It has helped them survive for centuries.
In their own way, dogs have conditioned us to see little difference between them and human babies. We still feel fuzzy and warm when we see them. It is a biological response that has evolved over time to ensure their survival.
What About The Less Cuter Dogs?
Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, although this doesn’t seem to apply to dogs. Have you noticed that other dogs that are not conventionally attractive are seen as cute too? Think of hairless dogs, such as aggressive-looking bulldogs and hairless, weird-looking Chihuahuas. Why do we still find them cute?
Though these dog breeds are not attractive to everyone, they may possess some endearing features as those of newly born babies. They may be bald or hairless and feature big eyes and soft and fluffy bodies, among other adorable features highlighted above. Moreover, the small sizes of dogs like the Pomeranians and Chihuahuas make us feel like protecting them.
So, when you think of it, there is no such thing as a less cute dog. Though not as appealing to the eye, they still bring out the same reactions in us as conventionally attractive dogs.
So, why are dogs so cute? It can be attributed to “kinderschema”, their resemblance to human babies, and the character they have gained since domestication.
Biology and science all support the cuteness of dogs, citing them as preferable pet animals, although cat lovers might not agree. Their cuteness makes them endearing to us and invokes the desire to protect and take good care of them.
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