That’s the gist of a recent study by an Oregon researcher who finds that male dogs make heterosexual men feel more masculine and feminine.
The study, published last month in Animal Cognition, was led by psychologist Brian Hare of Stanford University and focused on a subspecies of domesticated dog that originated in Europe and is commonly known as the bulldog. The researchers hypothesized that the “strong and aggressive” qualities of dogs could cause the creatures to “embody human social roles.”
In the study, researchers found that men with pets) are more likely to attract potential partners. In fact, researchers say a gay man’s likelihood of having a relationship with another man man was significantly higher if he has a dog in the home. In addition, gay dating sites like Silver Daddies report that men with an animal in their profile picture get around 60% more matches.
The researchers suggest there may be a reason why gay men are drawn to certain animals.
“Animals are not just like humans, but they can reflect humans in a way that is not possible with human animals,” Hare said. “We can make human comparisons, but you cannot make a human comparison with a human.”
According to Hare, animal-human connections occur for many reasons, including the fact that “humans evolved from apes and are biologically very similar to them.”
And for many gay men, the act of adopting a dog could help create a strong bond with a pet.
“People want something to nurture and something to protect,” said Jason Vavrick, an Oregon City gay resident and dog lover. “Gay men have that need of a home in a way that heterosexual men don’t necessarily have.”
As for the study, the researcher says his research may have broader implications for how we view the way animals and humans interact.
“Animals can represent humans in a way that can be useful to our study of humans,” Hare said. “We often think of ourselves as the only intelligent species, but the research shows we are far from the only intelligent species.”
“Gay men who are looking for relationships, and especially couples, are looking for a shared commitment to a pet,” said Michael Diamond, founder and president of Gay Pet Connection, a website that aims to “provide pet owners and potential pet owners an excellent resource to explore the benefits of having a gay pet.”
Diamond says having a pet can be an excellent way for a gay man to build a strong bond with another person.
“It provides an opportunity for two gay men to bond over their common interest,” Diamond said. “And the more the gay community bonds, the more they will be able to support the LGBT community.”
To make the connection, Diamond says gay men should think about what they want in a pet.
“It is important to be specific about what you want in your pet,” he said. “Pet owners usually know what they want in a dog or a cat, but they can be quite different from the desires of gay men.”
For example, Diamond says a gay man might want a dog with a more serious and independent demeanor.
“A dog that is more of a loner is less likely to become a good companion,” he said. “A dog that is more playful and easy going is more likely to be fun to be around.”
Vavrick says adopting a dog can be a great way to meet more gay men because it helps you bond and get to know a dog better, without having to meet someone.
“The majority of gay men do not have the confidence or wherewithal to find a partner,” he said. “But if you are serious about it, the first thing you should do is get a dog. They are very loyal and trustworthy.
If you’re already thinking of getting a pet, and are committed to caring for it, then a great added benefit is that it can help you meet a new partner. So do you think adopting a dog is a great way to meet other gay men? Leave us a comment below.