Why do we love sub-nosed dog breeds with smushed faces – like pugs, French bulldogs, Boston Terriers, English bulldogs and Boxers?
Because dogs like that are the most likely to look directly into the human eye!
That’s according to a new canine behavior study in the journal Scientific Reports.
And it’s that eye contact that helps animals and humans create loving bonds!
And it’s not just snub-nosed breeds… young or playful dogs, and those that have been bred for visual acuity, like shepherds and greyhounds, are also likely to look people in the eye.
And the study found that eye contact can enhance communication, cooperation, and the relationship between a dog and its owner. Because levels of oxytocin, the bonding hormone, rise for both humans and dogs when they make and hold eye contact.
Now, any dog can be trained to make eye contact… but when it comes to dogs with smushed faces, their eyes are structured differently from those of other dogs. They have more cells in their eyes that are responsible for processing visual information. That means they can more easily focus on what's right in front of them.
But breed aside, puppies and dogs with playful natures were also most likely to stare into their owners' eyes. And at shelters, dogs that make eye contact with humans are usually the first to be adopted.