Owners of purebred dogs think their pets are like them: study


SAN DIEGO (AP) - Those who think purebred dogs look like their owners are barking up the right tree but matching a mutt to its master is another thing, a study suggests.

Research at the University of California, San Diego indicates when people pick a dog, they look for one that, at some level, bears some resemblance to them. And when they have a purebred dog, they have what they want.

When given a choice of two dogs, judges correctly matched 25 purebreds with their owners nearly two out of three times. With mutts, however, the pattern went to the dogs.

"When you pick a purebred, you pick it specifically because of how it's going to look as a grown-up," said Nicholas Christenfeld, UCSD professor of psychology and co-author of the study, which appears in the current issue of Psychological Science.

Christenfeld said mutt owners such as himself make their choice on the spur-of-the-moment at a dog pound, not knowing what a puppy will look like.

Forty-five dogs and their owners chosen at random were photographed separately at three San Diego dog parks. The judges, some 28 undergraduates taking psychology classes at UC San Diego, were shown pictures of the owners and two dogs and asked to match the correct dog with the owner.

Out of the 25 purebreds, there were 16 correct matches and nine misses. For 20 mutts in the study, there were seven matches, four ties and nine misses.

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