Updated: Mar 3
Do you remember when you first got your pet? Do you remember how small and tiny and cute your pup was? But then, even as they grew older and their features changed, you still find them to be incredibly as cute as before and still enjoy snuggling with them. Even when you come home and find that they’ve chewed off your remote or your favorite pair of shoes, one look at their puppy eyes and you’ve suddenly forgiven them and given them lots of hugs and kisses.
Scientifically, there’s a reason why our dogs are very cute and it’s mostly because of certain characteristics such as these:
a. a large or rounded head
b. large and forward-facing eyes
c. a round body
d. soft body parts like their tummy or their ears
Did you look at your pet after reading the list? We bet you did. But you may think, “but my pet doesn’t have any of those characteristics?” And that’s definitely alright because seeing cuteness in pets is also more about us humans having an innate view on what is actually cute and what isn’t.
Other than the list above, Natalie Angier from the New York Times also describes cuteness as something that expresses “extreme youth, vulnerability, harmlessness, and need.” And indeed, these are some qualities that our pets have and bring out the response in us which is to nurture them, much like with babies who make us go “awww.”
A Result of Domestication
Sure, some dogs don’t look very young, vulnerable, harmless, and in great need. But why are they still very cute even when they’re all big and strong? Studies have shown that dogs also tend to become cuter, especially in the eyes of their owner, as they become domesticated. This cuteness is then what elicits their owners feelings of wanting to take care of them. So think about a big German Shepherd who climbs up on the couch for some cuddles. Still cute, right?
Another study in the UK also found that dogs who used facial expressions that are very much child-like, such as raising their brows and widening their eyes (or the puppy eye technique, for short), got adopted much faster than other dogs. That’s the same with dogs trying to bribe you with your cuteness when they do something wrong.
Cuteness Depends On the Beholder
Much like beauty, the view of cuteness can depend on the person or the owner. For some, even those who are “ugly” are found cute due to their vulnerability. Take for example a dog who’s loss all his tooth, has very bad skin and zero hair, but many still want to foster and adopt.
Drawing the Line between Cuteness and Obesity
While we attribute a round body and soft body parts to cuteness, it’s also important to take note of your pet’s health and see if their round body is a result of being overweight. For many, chubby pets indeed look cute but it can actually be unsafe for their health. Make sure to check out previous blog here on pet chubbiness to see if your pet needs some exercise and diet.
And to keep your pet cute but healthy, make sure they have the right diet. Ensure they eat the right amount at the right time according to their body weight and needs. To assist you on that, you can rely on the Instachew Smart Pet Feeder to ensure you don’t overfeed or underfeed them.