Pet Perceptions

pet perceptions do animals influence the way we look at people

Picture the most attractive man or woman you can think of; now, think of that person holding an adorable small dog or sweet kitten.

Does your perception of them change? Do you find them more attractive? Or does the furry companion take away from the experience?

We surveyed 1,000 Americans and showed them pictures of people they’re most attracted to with and without dogs and cats. We then asked them to rank their perception of certain characteristics based on the type of animal they held. Think you know how puppies and dogs make you look compared to cats or kittens? Continue reading to see what we found.

Pets That Make the Perfect Accessory

pet people attractiveness

How attractive can a pet really make you appear to others? It turns out, photos of men and women holding different animals were seen as more or less attractive.

Photos of men holding puppies were seen as over 13 percent more attractive, around three times more than small and medium dogs and four times more than cats, kittens, and large dogs. You might be stuck cleaning up after puppies or teaching them to go potty outside, but it could be worth it for all the extra attention your Instagram pictures might get.


Women also got an attractiveness boost when seen holding a puppy, but were voted more than 7 percent more appealing when photographed with a medium-sized dog . From bulldogs to corgis, women were considered the most attractive with these mid-sized lowrider companions.

Kittens did the least to help women look more attractive, and large-sized dogs were less helpful to men for scoring extra hunk points.

Pets That Bring on the Heat

pet people sexiness

Being attractive and sexy isn’t always the same thing. When it comes to the “it” factor that helps turn good-looking into just plain hot, some pets added a certain je ne sais quoi to their owners’ photos.

Men certainly got an uptick in attractiveness when photographed with puppies but were considered nearly 24 percent sexier when shot with these tiny balls of fluff. No other pet came close to making men seem more delectable.

Women were still better off when seen holding medium-sized pooches and were rated almost 7 percent sexier with dogs that weren’t too big or small . While cats may have helped men look about 5 percent hotter, women holding cats were seen as less sexy than those with no pets at all.

Exercises in Trust With Pets

pet people trustworthiness

Our survey also determined to what extent people’s pet made them appear more trustworthy to a stranger.

Animals of almost every type had a significant impact on the level of trust attributed to men pictured with pets. While medium-sized dogs had the lowest level of positive influence, they still made men seem over 6 percent more trustworthy. It was puppies that gave men the biggest boost , though – creating the perception of being more than 14 percent more trustworthy than with no pet at all.

Women photographed with animals had a reduced impact on the level of trust pets created. Cats had the lowest level of positive influence at less than 2 percent, while small-sized dogs, like Chihuahuas and Yorkies, made people see women as most trustworthy (nearly 9 percent).

Look Smarter With Your Pets

pet people intelligence

Have you ever imagined which photos make you appear more intelligent? Here’s a hint: They might involve pictures of you with your pet.

Men, overall, were perceived as smarter when photographed with animals compared to women. Puppies and small-sized dogs gave guys the biggest jump in looking brainy at a 7 percent increase, while cats and medium-sized dogs earned them less than a 2 percent increase.

Women were voted as seeming smarter when shown with medium-sized dogs (over 6 percent). While kittens had the lowest positive effect, cats made women appear less intelligent.

Puppies for President

pet people all characteristics

Puppies, on average, earned the highest marks across the board. They’re easy “likes” for Facebook videos and great for making you appear more trustworthy (by almost 10 percent), attractive, and sexy (over 8 percent each). If you decide to get a new dog, he or she won’t stay young forever, so take advantage of the perks of ownership while you can.

Medium-sized dogs made their owners come off as being the trustworthy and loyal (nearly 7 percent each compared to photos without a pet), while large- and small-sized dogs gave off a similar vibe.

On the other end of the pet spectrum, cats made their owners seem less fun than people without pets in their photos and had the lowest positive impact on friendliness and how scary someone was perceived as being.


Why Dogs Might Be Better Than Cats

dog vs cat people

According to the 1,000 people surveyed, dogs of all sizes – especially small dogs and puppies – had the strongest positive impact on perceptions of character .

Puppies were able to make people seem the sexiest, most trustworthy, and loyal. Small-sized dogs gave men and women a boost in friendliness, intelligence, and attractiveness, and medium-sized dogs made people look more fun.

It was cats and kittens that had the weakest positive impact on the way people judged others . For cat owners especially, photos with their feline companion made them come off as less fun than when shown alone. In other categories, cats and kittens were least likely to make you appear more loyal, intelligent, friendly, trustworthy, sexy, and attractive.

Bad News for Cat Ladies

cat lady

Participants who were attracted to women didn’t think seeing a cat or kitten in a photo improved their perception of the person featured. In the eight traits examined, cats were the least likely to improve the perception of a woman in six of them (75 percent).

Kittens were the least likely to increase the attractiveness of a woman. So shy away from these felines if you’re looking to upload a new profile photo. Instead, stick to medium-sized dogs. In almost every category, medium-sized dogs had the highest chance of improving the perception of a trait.

Men, keep those puppies close. People attracted to men felt puppies improved their perception of a man in seven of eight categories. The only one it didn’t? Scariness. Maybe it’s time to borrow the neighbor's new puppy or head to a shelter to volunteer for a bit and secure a photo shoot if you don’t have one of your own.

Mostly No Problems With Puppies

everyone loves puppies

Those in their 20s had the warmest overall feelings toward photos featuring a person holding a puppy. With regards to their perceptions of a person’s attractiveness, friendliness, and trustworthiness, all were improved with the addition of a young pup. Those who were 60 or older felt a puppy in the photo took away from the friendliness of a person (roughly 5 percent less).

Those in the same age group (60 or older) also felt puppies improved trustworthiness the least. While it averaged out to being seen as 2 percent more trustworthy, those in their 20s and 30s expressed average double-digit improvements to this trait when pups were present.

However, the oldest age group did agree with those in their 20s and 30s in one area – puppies make people more attractive-looking. All of these groups saw an 8 percent increase or higher when it came to attractiveness.


Lapping Up Purrfect Pictures

For almost every situation, everything from a large dog to a puppy or a cat improves a person’s perception of you. It’s also probably best if you capture these photos when your dog is still young. However, as these lovable fur babies won’t be young forever, think about turning your favorite photo of your pet into a handmade custom stuffed animal with .

From snuggly Huggables to detailed Forevers (or even Stars - plushies of the internet’s hottest pet celebs), create a long-lasting memory of your favorite pet. They also make a perfect gift! Check out these adorable real pets with their doppleganger lookalikes in our gallery .

We Can Create a Custom Plush of Any Pet

Custom plush lookalikes of any pet you can think of, big or small! Check out some of our most popular animal plushies we've made. 


We showed 1,000 people photos of the gender they were most attracted to and then asked them to rate them on several different qualities: attractiveness, sexiness, trustworthiness, friendliness, funness, intelligence, scariness, and loyalty. Each person was shown 12 photos of the same people. However, half of the group for each photo saw the person with a pet, and the other half saw the same photo without the pet. Two photos for each type of pet were used. Types of pets were: cats, kittens, puppies, small-sized dogs, medium-sized dogs, and large-sized dogs.

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