It’s official ... owning a dog makes you more attractive.
It also increases your chances of finding a relationship and even enhances your love life, according to comparison site comparethemarket.com, who commissioned research on the subject for the good of mankind (and promote their pet insurance comparison service).
Here are seven reasons - reinforcing Disney's 101 Dalmatians and echoing Donny's Puppy Love - why pooch owners are lucky in love:
Dog owners seen as more attractive
One in five dog owners have started a conversation with a stranger whilst 'out and about' which has in turn led to a romantic relationship, whilst three in five dog owners have developed new friendships thanks to owning a furry friend.
Those aged 18-24 are more likely than any other group to start the initial conversation but it’s the over 55s who are five times more likely to develop a long term relationship.
According to research conducted by Dogs Trust, of 700 respondents, 60 per cent said that owning a dog can make people more attractive, while 85 per cent think people are more approachable with a hound at their heels.
Dog ownership provides common ground
What is it about being outdoors with a canine that removes awkward social barriers and makes pet owners more appealing to strangers?
For many it’s the shared bond of owning a pet. Even if a person has never set eyes on the man or woman walking their dog beside them, they already know they have something in common.
Much like those with children, people with dogs understand the trials and tribulations of pet ownership. In the same way parents might swap stories at the school gates about little Johnny’s bedtime regime, pooch owners can share training tips, grooming parlour recommendations and nutritional advice with other dog parents.
Other events and social groups may also be discussed allowing owners to progress their dog-made friendships outside of the park.
Dogs give you paw-some chat up lines
Having a shared canine interest is not the only thing that may help spark an interaction when out and about. A pet is a legitimate and easy talking point between two strangers.
It’s much less awkward to start a conversation by asking a stranger a question about their dog than it is to compliment their jumper. It also has the added advantage of providing a platform with which to ask further subtle questions about the owner, which in another context such as a bar or coffee shop may feel too direct.
Dogs provide the opportunity for regular interaction
Not only is the initial interaction eased by the presence of a four-legged friend but the fact that the chances of meeting repeatedly within a short space of time are higher. Dogs need daily walks, some several times; meaning the ability to build relationships quickly is increased, especially if you end up on the same walking trail.
Dogs can help your love life
It’s not just the singles that are benefiting from canine ownership. Once you have found love, owning a pet may also help you keep it. Further research undertaken by comparethemarket.com has shown that pet owners are 52 per cent more likely to be very satisfied with their love life. Interestingly, of those ‘very satisfied’ individuals, 63 per cent were women.
Dogs can help lower your stress levels
So why is it that once coupled up, pet owners remain so content?
One theory surrounds the fact that pets have been proven to help relieve stress and can have a great calming effect, meaning a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol.
A 2001 study conducted by the State University of New York at Buffalo found that pet-owning patients with high blood pressure could keep their blood pressure lower during times of mental stress than patients without pets. If we’re not stressed we are likely to find time for the more ‘enjoyable’ things in life.
Dogs put a springer in your step
Research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has demonstrated that pet owners exhibit stronger self-esteem than non-pet-owners. Not only this but pet owners are often more extroverted and less fearful than people who don’t own pets.
One reason for this may be that pets are non-judgmental and don’t care whether you’ve combed your hair or brushed your teeth.
They certainly couldn’t give a hoot whether you’re beach-ready or up-to-date with the latest fashions. So when such love and appreciation comes unconditionally, a person is bound to feel more at ease with themselves.
When we feel relaxed this contentment and well-being is more likely to be present in other areas of our lives, including it seems, our love life.