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.

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

● 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.

The findings, which have been released by dog adoption site, and Direct Line Pet Insurance, reinforce research released two years ago which revealed how humans form attachments to their dogs by looking into their eyes*. But what makes this latest study unique is that the case studies involved all began with a single photo without physical contact between the dog and person.

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.

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