Dogs are fascinating creatures. The more time you spend with a dog, the more you see that dogs have complex emotions and behavior patterns similar to humans.
So it’s only natural that you have questions about their thoughts and feelings, including how attraction works between dogs. Let’s find out.
Do Dogs Find Other Dogs Attractive?
Dogs find other dogs attractive. This is the driving force for mating and breeding between male and female dogs. However, how dogs are attracted to other dogs differs from how humans decide who they want to mate with. Generally speaking, dogs are much less picky.
This article will outline the science behind dog attraction, identify the limits of “puppy love,” and explain why your dog may appear to be “in love” with another dog.
The Science Behind Dogs and Canine Attraction
Dr. Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, writes in Psychology Today that dogs possess similar hormones as humans and undergo chemical changes during emotional states.
Humans have oxytocin hormone, which affects our love and affection for others. Dogs also have oxytocin, so Coren suggests dogs have most of the same basic emotions as humans.
However, before planning wedding ceremonies for your favorite canines, you must remember that not everyone has a full range of emotions.
When you were an infant, you had a minimal range of emotions. However, as you grew up, your emotional capacity dramatically increased.
Keep in mind human psychology because researchers believe dogs have the mind of a 2-year-old child. So, in theory, you can conclude that a toddler can love another human, so a dog can also love another dog.
However, before you jump to that conclusion, it would be best if you considered the emotional range of a toddler.
When you were two, you loved and felt contentment with those that cared for you. However, it took you many more years to fully understand attraction and love.
So, you cannot effectively match a dog’s emotions to adult love. Dogs feel the love you probably have for your family, friends, and pets.
However, dogs probably do not feel romantic love.
NOTE – You might like to read this post about why dogs grow so fast.
What Makes One Dog Attracted to Another Dog?
Dogs are attracted to each other by smell, body language, and other biological cues that drive canine attraction. However, they probably never experience romantic interest like humans do.
Although dog attraction differs from human attraction, anyone observing dogs can tell that some dogs seem “in love.”
Some dogs have favorite dogs that they have a strong bond with.
There are many stories where dogs may bond with each other early in age, especially in settings like animal shelters.
These dogs pair up and depend on each other for protection and comfort. When it is time for the dogs to be adopted, they refuse to be separated.
It is easy to suggest that these dogs pair up early in life and are “in love” or “attracted to each other.” However, it is more reasonable to consider how dogs depend on each other for emotional and physical support.
Dogs may not necessarily be paired up out of love but more out of protection and friendship. But, again, this highlights the importance of realizing that dog attraction differs significantly from human attraction.
WAIT – before you read on, you might find this short video interesting. It explains how to introduce two dogs to ensure they get along.
Just click the video to start it playing:
How Do You Tell if Dogs Are Attracted to Each Other?
Since we cannot directly communicate with a dog, we fail to realize why dogs interact with each other. We can mistake curiosity, fear, or jealousy between dogs as an attraction.
Dr. Sharon Crowell-Davis, a professor at the University of Georgia, says, “Dogs communicate with each other in ways that we don’t get, that we are just totally blind about.” So, to understand our furry friends’ relationships, we’ll have to do a bit of translation.
You can tell if dogs are attracted to each other if they do not seem intimidated or afraid of one another, relax around each other, and behave as they normally would when they are in the other dog’s company. Thus, a dog’s love is more about comfort.
Still, there are several reasons why your dog may appear more attracted to one dog over another:
- Dogs are affected by positive or negative associations. For example, your dog will more likely interact positively with meeting a new pup if they have a familiar scent or appearance. On the flip side, if your dog had a traumatic interaction with a “big white dog” before, it may have an adverse reaction to seeing a dog that is big and white.
- Dogs are attracted or put off by certain types of breeds. Dogs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It is no question that your dog may be fearful or stressed around different breeds of dogs. Your dog may even prefer to be around dogs of the same species.
- Dogs are attracted to different forms of canine etiquette. Like in the human world, dogs adhere to social protocols when they interact. For example, most dogs slowly approach each other while sniffing the ground. When this social protocol is broken, and an overly eager dog is too aggressive or excited, it can affect future interactions between the dogs.
How Do Experiences Affect How Dogs Communicate With Each Other?
Experiences directly affect a puppy’s ability to bond with other dogs. The things that happen in a dog’s puppyhood leave lasting impressions. If they never experience socialization or don’t have the chance to interact positively with other dogs, they will develop a fear of other dogs.
Weeks later, the puppy opens its eyes and learns socialization as it begins to separate from the litter. Early interactions with littermates and humans affect the puppy’s ability to maintain and form friendships later.
If the puppy has positive interactions during these stages of development, they are more likely to have healthy relationships with other dogs.
Therefore, the first weeks in a puppy’s life can affect if a dog becomes attracted to another dog later in life.
Final Thoughts On if Dogs Find Other Dogs Attractive
Dogs find other dogs attractive both in terms of mating and canine bonding akin to human friendship. Dogs most likely do not experience love the same way humans do.
Dogs can be attracted to other dogs based on:
- Physical traits.
- Learned life experiences.
- Positive social interactions.
However, you cannot draw substantial similarities between human and dog attraction.
Dogs have complex emotional capacities affected by socialization and development, but they do not have enough capacity to love as humans do romantically.
NOTE – You might also find this post interesting about why dogs get stuck together after mating.
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!