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Previous research shows that our romantic preferences don’t usually match up with the partners we choose. A new study says there is a similar pattern when it comes to adopting a dog.

Researchers from Indiana University categorized dogs at a local animal shelter based on 13 traits including age, sex, size, color, breed, playfulness, and friendliness. Then, the team asked visitors to list their trait preferences, which were later compared to the dog they ultimately adopted. 

Surprisingly, their new companion often varied greatly from their original list of preferences. 

Researchers say these findings mirror a similar pattern in dating: the traits we actually value are different from those we originally thought were most important.


Cohen, S. E., & Todd, P. M. (2019, May 7). States and revealed preferences in companion animal choice. Behavior Research Methods. Retrieved from

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Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is the Content Development Manager at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She is a co-author of Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book and has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."

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