I Woof You: How Pet Pictures Influence Online Dating Selection


  • Maron Demecillo MacEwan University


Owning and living with pets has been shown to have many benefits, including improved psychological well-being, increased physical activity, and better social functioning. With respect to social functioning, pets have been hypothesized to act as a “social lubricant” by facilitating social interactions. In support of this hypothesis, dogs have been shown to have a significant impact on adult courtship behaviour. . Research in this area has mostly looked at heterosexual daters, with the majority of the studies not accounting for the role of sexual orientation.

The present research aims to use mock online-dating profiles (e.g., Tinder) to experimentally evaluate how a) the presence of a dog in a dating profile may impact partner selection and ratings of their personal attributes, b) how the characteristics of the dogs presented in dating profiles may impact partner selection, and c) whether a respondent’s sexual orientation and dating platform will interact with the above factors when selecting a potential partner. It is hypothesized that having the dog present will lead to higher successful matches than when the dog is absent for both heterosexual and LGBTQIA2S+ participants. In addition, it is hypothesized that profiles accompanied by family dogs (e.g., Labrador) will lead to more success in dating matches than “aggressive” breeds (e.g., Rottweiler).

Findings from this study will help expand our current knowledge about the benefits of owning pets in facilitating social interactions. Moreover, we will also extend our understanding of dating selection behaviours outside of the heteronormative context.

Department: Psychology

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Eric Legge