It’s an age old trope in romantic comedies. Two people are walking their dogs in the park. They are crossing paths when their dogs decide to say hello. The leashes get tangled together. The humans both mumble embarrassed apologies while trying to awkwardly untangle their pups. In the jumble of leashes and drool they lock eyes. Cue touching music. The rest as you know is history.
Although it’s a total cliche, there’s actually some truth to dog people being perfect candidates for relationships. To take care of a dog, you must be committed, responsible, caring — all the traits that make a successful relationship. So, maybe just maybe those romantic comedies weren’t wrong after all?
Below, nine reasons why your next date should be with a dog person.
1. Couples with dogs are better communicators
According to a study conducted by the University at Buffalo, couples with pets have closer relationships and interact more than pet-less couples. Although the study didn’t explain why pet couples are better communicators, researchers concluded that pets, especially dogs, make people want to seek out more social contact, either through loved ones or through friends. This enhanced social contact results in stronger, longer-lasting relationships. In other words, Fido’s need for social activity makes us subconsciously improve our own. Now how about that.
2. Couples with dogs handle stress better
Dealing with dogs peeing on floors and barking at passers-by have made most dog owners pretty privy to stress. It takes a lot to make us lose our cool, and it shows. According to the same UB study, people with pets have lower blood pressure during stressful situations compared to people with no pets. In a relationship, dealing with a partner who’s overly anxious or stressed can cause rising tensions later in the relationship, which is why it’s good to know when facing adversity, dog people remain cool, calm, and collected.
3. Dog lovers are more likely to spend money on a first date
If you’re that person who always reaches for the check when you go out to eat, you might just be a dog person. According to a Canadian Match.com survey, dog people’s dating habits mimic that of, unsurprisingly, dogs. Not only are we more likely to spend more money on a first date, we’re also more likely to call a date back. Subtlety is definitely not our forte.
4. Dog people are happier, have higher self-esteem
When you come home every day to a flouncing pup who’s ecstatic to see that you’re finally back and totally not dead, it triggers endorphins that make us happier. A study by Psychology Today’s labs found that dog lovers exhibit greater self-esteem, are less lonely, and are overall happier. Why? Because dogs fulfill a social need in us that benefits us as much as it benefits them. And as we all know, happy people make happier couples.
5. Dog people are more empathetic
When you welcome a new family member to your home, one who sometimes eats from the garbage and digs holes in the back yard, it requires a great deal of empathetic understanding. So it’s no surprise that dog people are awesome at this. A 2014 study found that dog owners are more engaged with their communities due to the empathetic nature dog owning brings. Empathy also comes in handy during those awkward moments when you have to tell your partner that the screenplay they’re working on, the one about the angsty time-traveling space clown, just isn’t that good.
6. Dog people are friendlier and more approachable
This is no surprise to anyone who has ever been to the park with their dog in tow. Adorable animals are people magnets, and pet owners get to reap the benefits. A study conducted by Dogs Trust, a U.K. dog charity, back in 2012, found that 95 percent of participants said they would more likely approach a person if that person had a dog—which probably explains why our dogs have more friends than we do.
7. People expect dog people to be better at relationships
In yet another Match.com survey, 61 percent of the people surveyed believed that dog owners make better partners. The survey didn’t explain why people believed this, but we could wager that it’s tied to the belief that dog owners are more responsible and more willing to commit. After all, a clingy/high-maintenance dog is the perfect practice for a clingy/high-maintenance partner (although we don’t recommend that you date one. Four-legged divas only, please).
8. Dog people are healthier
Owning a dog means you have to keep up with your dog, too—that means walking, playing, and chasing. In a Michigan State University study, researchers found that dog owners are more likely to exercise at least 30 minutes a day compared to non-dog owners. And since people also find dog people hotter, being in tip-top shape probably doesn’t hurt.
9. Dog people are more conscientious
Dog people are a lot like dogs. We’re loyal, we follow things through, and we practice self-discipline—well, when there’s no food around. Sam Gosling, a psychologist at the University of Texas in Austin, conducted a web-based study in 2010 about the difference between cat people and dog people. He found that dog people were 11 percent more likely to be conscientious than cat people, which means we’re less spontaneous but love doing what’s right. But ultimately, the best way to find out if a dog person is right for you? Date one for yourself.