Why are dogs so cute

When puppies are cutest - and why they are

It is clear that puppies are incredibly cute. It is no coincidence when the child pattern has us particularly tightly under control, but a clever move by nature.

Most people think puppies are cute. At a certain time, however, they seem particularly gorgeous to us. Because the animals reach their greatest cuteness at an age when they are particularly vulnerable. This is what US researchers from the University of Florida found out in a 2018 study.

Clumsy steps on unsteady wobbly legs, big button eyes and an adorable snub nose - cute puppies make people cheer. But when they get older, the animals lose their puppy charm. Why is that?

This is the age at which dogs are the cutest

To find out, the researchers led by Clive Wynne showed 51 participants photos of dogs of different ages, from the first week of life to early adulthood. Pictured were dogs of three different breeds: Cane Corso, Jack Russel Terrier and White Shepherd.

Sweet, sweeter, even sweeter: At what age are dogs most attractive? (Source: Nadine Chersini, Nathan J. Hall & Clive D. L. Wynne (2018) Dog Pups ’Attractiveness to Humans Peaks at Weaning Age, Anthrozoös, 31: 3, 312)

The subjects were asked to evaluate the attractiveness of the animals. In all three breeds, the test participants rated the puppies as the most unattractive immediately after birth. "Maximum cuteness" - the climax of cuteness - was achieved by the dogs between 6.3 and 8.3 weeks of age. Then the attractiveness decreased again.

Cuteness is a survival strategy

At a certain age, puppies put people in a special rapture. And that's no coincidence, the researchers believe.

Because the time when we think puppies are the cutest falls exactly when they are weaned. When the mother no longer takes care of her offspring, he is particularly attractive to us. So we turn to them particularly hard when they are most vulnerable.

Cute spaniel puppies: The child scheme makes them so cute. (Source: dageldog / Getty Images)

The researchers see this as an example of the joint evolution of dogs and humans. In the course of living together, the animals would have adjusted to humans and thus ensured their survival. If the mother turns away from the puppies, their cute appearance ensures that people take on the role of mother.

However, because only 51 subjects took part in the study, the results are not representative. The scientists therefore want to substantiate their hypotheses with further experiments.