The Science Behind What Makes Puppies So Cute

Someone spent time researching puppies to determine when they reach maximum cuteness, and it’s linked to a natural biological trait too.

By nowproducerdave on May 16, 2018
(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

I just mentally pictured little 6-week-old puppies wearing lab coats. Someone had the job to research the cuteness level of puppies, and I want that job. They figured out when puppies achieve peak-cute, and it’s just about when I thought it would be.

See also: “Baby-talking” to our dogs is a good thing.

This is a real-deal, funded, science research project. The results were even published in “Anthrozoƶs: A Multidisciplinary Journal of the Interactions of People and Animals.” That’s one of the longest titles I’ve read, but the subject in question has my attention. A man named Clive Wynne is the research leader. He’s also a psychology professor, and director of “Canine Science Collaboratory” at Arizona State University. It was his idea to put the work into the project. The research was simple – he got 51 people together to look at dog photos. The dogs were pictured at various ages throughout their life, and people ranked their “attractiveness.”

See also: Dogs will actually “lie” to get what they want.

The results also discovered something interesting about how animals have evolved and how they behave. It was discovered that right around 8-weeks old is the absolute peak-cuteness of dogs. Also, something else happens around 8 weeks old – the mother dog naturally starts weaning them off to survive on their own. Perhaps it’s just a developmental trait of the dogs, sort of approaching their “adolescence.” Or, as Clive Wynne says, “This could be a signal coming through to us of how dogs have evolved to rely on human care.” Check out some more on the study here, and brace for all the 8-week-old dog Instagram accounts that may start forming. We’re ok with that.

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