Meet Chloe. Chloe comes across Leo on Tinder, who seems charming but isn’t really her type. She’s about to swipe left, when she comes across an irresistible photo of Leo with his Aussie Shepherd, Teddy. Chloe’s heart melts. She instantly feels more attracted to Leo. She swipes right instead.

What is it about canines that make us slightly more lenient with online romantic partners whom we certainly would have passed on if not for their furry friend? Perhaps the notion that if they can care for their pup, then they can care for us. 

So do dogs increase attractiveness on dating apps and if so, why? Is it because of perceptions of warmth, sensitivity, or responsibility about the other person?

In our pursuit to answer these questions and more, we surveyed 600 U.S. singles, seasoned in the art of online dating, to find out if dog ownership is the secret to success on dating apps and to uncover which apps are most ideal for meeting fellow dog lovers.

Do dogs improve your chances on dating apps? U.S. singles certainly think so. 70% of respondents, overall, and 72% of millennials think having a dog in their profile photos helps them get more matches, while 63% of respondents are more tempted to match with someone who has a dog in their profile. 

Samantha Ross, the editor at Romantific, offers a solid rationale for this:

“Men, in particular, can be seen as committed and trustworthy when they are seen with a pet. In some case studies, men with dogs are more likely to be approached as they are found to be charming and appealing. Having a pet also assures a potential partner that you are capable of taking care of another creature."

In many cases, pets take on the role of wingman (or wing-woman) in addition to man’s best friend. According to survey results, 50% of singles have no issue using their dog as a ploy to meet someone they’re attracted to while out and about. Sometimes ditching the canned pick-up lines and leaving the ice-breaking to the dogs is your best bet for success – a real-life “meet-cute.” 

Tractive, a real-time GPS for pets, agrees, calling doggos our “fearless, filter-free socializers, who not only boost our happiness levels but encourage us to interact with new people.”

When asked which dating app is best for meeting dog lovers, Tinder, Match, and Bumble were the three front-running apps named by 29%, 17%, and 13% of respondents respectively.

For singles, these are the apps where dog dates are guaranteed, among puppy-loving kindred spirits. The market for dogs and dating has exploded – so much that now a whole slew of new dog-centered dating apps like Dig & Tindog has arrived on the scene.

When asked which dog breeds singles love seeing most on dating app profile photos, a few lead the pack. German Shepherds, Pitbulls, Huskies, Labs, and Golden Retrievers were named favorites by the largest percentage of respondents.

Other beloved breeds like Chihuahuas, American Bulldogs, Pomeranians, and Poodles followed closely behind.

Surprisingly, more respondents who are dog owners would rather quarantine with their dogs (55%) over a romantic partner (45%). Pandemic stress and countless more hours at home with significant others certainly exacerbate the willingness of couples to take some time apart. But overall, most dog parents can’t bear to be away from their pets for too long. 

We dug deeper with a few more questions to see exactly how much stake dogs hold within certain relationships. Almost half of respondents say they would break up with someone they were dating if their dog did not like them, and a quarter of respondents even admit to staying in a relationship because they didn’t want to risk losing the dog – proof that the bond between humans and our canine partners runs deep. 

21% of Gen Z respondents and 24% of male respondents would even go as far as borrowing a friend’s dog for their dating profile photos – even though (eventually) they will be found out. And when they are, the outlook isn’t promising. 64% of respondents would cut ties with someone who lied about owning a dog on their dating app profile. 

Doggy Date Ideas

During COVID, openness to going on virtual dates with a match has been mixed among the online dating community. However, 52% of singles say that if a dog is present, then they’re much more likely to partake. 

To wrap up this study, check out a few COVID-friendly and pet-friendly date ideas for you and your match this Spring (both virtual and IRL):

  • Go on a day hike with your pups. Opt for a local trail in your area where leashed dogs are welcome. Alltrails lists some of the best pet-friendly hiking spots near you. Don’t forget your collapsible water bowl and extra poop bags!

  • Head to the dog park. This venue is perfect for staying socially distanced outdoors, and nothing sparks conversation quite like being at a dog park. 

  • Virtual Netflix date. Install Teleparty (formerly Netflix party) so that you, your date, and your dogs can all watch a movie together online. Make sure to enable the video chat feature so that the whole gang can feel like you’re together, even when you’re not.

This survey ran from February 2nd to February 4th, 2021. 

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