The mystery of client-pet look-alikes explained

Shared qualities between dog owner and dog are skin deep.
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May 20, 2009
By dvm360.com staff
You walk into the exam room, scratch Roger the poodle behind the ears, shake the client’s hand and … wait a minute … is that a poodle on the client’s head, too? No—you’ve just spotted a client-pet look-alike. According to Purina, 70 percent of dog owners own just one dog. And somehow clients take on the look of their beloved pet. Now there’s new research to support the phenomenon of pet owners looking like their pets.

A team of British researchers asked 70 non-dog-owning people to match photos of 41 dog owners to three possible breeds: Labrador retriever, poodle, and Staffordshire bull terrier. The non-dog-owners correctly paired the pet owners with their dogs 60 percent of the time. Researchers say this suggests that certain breeds of dogs are associated with particular “breeds” of people.

When researchers tested the dog owners’ personalities, they couldn’t find any strong links between particular personality traits and choice of dog breed, so they say any shared qualities are only skin deep. So consider complimenting that client on her coiffure—she’ll be thrilled you noticed.