Whether you’re at the dog park or just taking a stroll around the block, you’ve surely seen this before: A pup who looks — almost uncannily — like a miniature version of the human holding its leash.
Maybe it’s the muscular pit bull who resembles its similarly-buff owner. Or the prim-and-proper poodle whose coiffed fur is a perfect match for its human’s stylish hairdo. You may have even suppressed a chuckle at the basset hound whose mellow demeanor mirrors that of its droopy-eyed handler’s.
So why do so many dogs appear to be tiny, hairier versions of their owners? Perhaps surprisingly, the conundrum has been well-studied by scientists. In fact, there’s a decent body of research supporting the notion that humans choose canine companions who look most similar to themselves.