Why do People Prefer Dogs to Humans?

"Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate.” Sigmund Freud

“The better I get to know people, the more I find myself loving dogs.” Charles de Gaulle, former President of France

We all know that many people prefer dogs to humans, but why? Is there any reasonable explanation for it? Some say it's due to unconditional love. Your dog doesn't care if you are in your pyjamas all day and your dog doesn't talk about you behind your back. But when it comes right down to it, does anyone really value animals above humans?


Social scientist Hal Herzog investigates the "humanization of pets" in his book Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard To Think Straight About Animals. He says that "our attitudes to other species are fraught with inconsistency. We share the earth with roughly 40,000 other kinds of vertebrate animals, but most of us only get bent out of shape over the treatment of a handful of species. You know the ones: the big-eye baby seals, circus elephants, chimpanzees, killer whales at Sea World, etc. And while we deeply love our pets, there is little hue and cry over the 24 horses that die on race tracks in the United States each week, let alone the horrific treatment of the nine billion broiler chickens American consume annually."


New research has found that humans love dogs more than other people. A study published 2 months ago showed that dogs are more emotive with their faces when their owner is looking at them. Evolutionary psychologist Bridget Waller explains that domestication has changed dogs to be more communicative with humans. According to 2 recent social experiments, we’re more likely to empathize with struggling dogs than people in difficulty. In the first test, an experiment was conducted over 2 years testing whether people were more likely to donate money to help dogs or humans. The researchers printed two ads asking the question “Would you give £5 to save Harrison from a slow, painful death?”. One ad showed a little boy and the other a dog. It was Harrison the dog that received the most donations. In another study measuring empathy, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston distributed 4 fake newspaper reports. Each case described an unknown assailant with a baseball bat attacking a different victim: an infant, an adult, a puppy and an adult dog. Respondents were significantly less distressed when adult humans were victimized, in comparison to human babies, puppies and adult dogs. The researchers concluded that a) we’re more likely to feel empathy for a victim if we consider them to be helpless and unable to look after themselves, and b) many of us consider dogs as family members and get more upset by stories of dogs being beaten up or hurt than humans going through the same.