By Tamara McRill
While visiting a rescued pup we had placed in a new loving home, his female owner commented that he was a “guy’s dog.” This had me wondering if some dogs really do prefer males or females. After all, it was a variation of comments we hear from pet owners all the time, like “my dog hates men,” “she’s a girl dog, so she bonds better with men,” and other similar phrases. But is there any science to back up our observations?
Man’s Best Friend?
There are few studies on the issue, but it turns out dogs in general may prefer men. Neurotic or anxious men, that is. A study conducted at the University of Vienna, “Relational factors affecting dog social attraction to human partners,” showed that dogs approached male owners more often than female ones.
More so if the male owner was neurotic, as determined by a personality test. But personality may play as big – if not bigger – role than gender, as the dogs also stayed close to neurotic female owners.
The study actually brought up more questions than answers, as more independent behavior from the dog could be an indication of a more secure attachment and not gender preference.
Does Nurture Trump All?
A large number of pet lovers on dog forums believe that dogs simply like best whichever person takes care of them. Therefore, they tend to like the gender that typically feeds them and doles out the CANIDAE dog treats. I’m sure that has a lot to do with it, but since I work from home and am the main caregiver and num num dispenser in my household, I can attest that this isn’t always true.
I have spent a hugely disproportionate amount of time with Cody – even when he was our only pet – and still simply don’t exist when Mike is in the room. Oh, he may make a big deal when I make my first appearance of the day, but after that it’s all about Dad.