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When is the cutest puppy?

One thing is indisputable: puppies are cute. But when are they cutest?

New study shows puppies are cutest for humans between 6 and 8 weeks old. It’s about time they weaned, and that leads researchers to speculate that puppies get the cutest when they need human attention the most.

“As soon as the mother gets bored of her puppies and gets ready to chase them out of the nest, they’ll have to find a way to survive on their own, and that’s where we find them the cutest. Clive Wynne, lead author of the study, professor of psychology and director of the Center for Dog Science at Arizona State University, said.

This new discovery could help scientists better understand how dogs evolved to depend on human care.

“This kind of human affection for puppies in those days may have given dogs that were not once domesticated, and even today’s wild dogs, a competitive advantage [over dogs]. other species] to be adopted and cared for by humans, ”the researcher wrote in the May issue of the journal Anthrozoös.

Cute and extremely cute

Dogs evolved from wolves, but the two animals of this genus have distinct differences, for example, puppies will be cared for by their parents until they are two years old, while puppies will be abandoned by the mother after the cessation. milk, about 6 to 11 weeks.

Due to their abandonment at a very young age, the death rate of puppies is very high without human care; By some estimates, over 80% of puppies will die within the first year of life without human care.

Previous studies have shown that humans find animals more adorable when they have “baby traits” such as large eyes, round faces, and a small mouth. But these studies do not tell whether or not there is a “golden age” for kindness.

In the new study, 51 (very lucky) students were invited to participate in the experiment: they were shown photos of puppies of three breeds: Jack Russell Terrier, Cane Corso and White Shepherd. Ages range from birth to 7 months, to gauge how cute these dogs are.

Puppy cuteness is lowest at birth, peaks at 10 weeks of age, and then decreases as they get older.

In the study, the Cane Corso breed would have been the cutest at 6.3 weeks, while the Jack Russell Terrier was 7.7 weeks and the sheepdog was 8.3 weeks.

The researchers also noted that the volunteers were not asked about their understanding of the three races, which may have influenced the ratings.

Additionally, the study only used photos of puppies, and volunteers would likely give a different rating if shown videos of puppies with specific movements. This will be done in the next study, Wynne said.

He also pointed out that this study does not imply that we will stop loving dogs after 8 weeks. “Eight weeks is just when we’re most drawn to them,” Wynne said. But once they make us fall in love, we’ll love them for life.

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