Online Dating

Do Dogs Really Increase Your Match Rate?

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man dancing with his dog, sunset

Chloe Gray, Dating Coach

Picture this: you’re strolling through your day when suddenly, the sky bursts open, and a unicorn flies across a rainbow, showering the world below with a magical mix of money, gourmet desserts, beach vacation tickets, unbeatable insurance plans, and—why not—a sprinkle of crack cocaine. The crowd goes wild, right?

advice by chloe with unicorn and rainbow graphic

Now, toss in a few signed copies of TTPD and you’ve got a glimpse of how women react to dog photos on dating apps.

*TTPD: The Tortured Poets Department, aka the album Taylor Swift dropped in the middle of her Eras Tour, which also explains the recent flood of dating profile photos featuring women in sparkly dresses and boots excitedly posing in parking lots.

The Magical Effect of Dogs

man smiling taking a selfie with his dog who is also smiling

According to research, 63% of singles are more likely to swipe right on profiles featuring dogs. This is especially true for women swiping on men.

But let’s dive deeper: are dogs really that special, or will any cute animal do? Sure, all cute mammals give us a big ole shot of serotonin and dopamine… but babies, cats, and other pets don’t even come close to competing with dogs on apps.

cat angry with corgi

In fact, studies show that cats and babies can actually hurt straight men’s match rates. Apparently, some women perceive men with cats as less masculine and may assume guys with babies are single dads. Personally, there’s not much I find more attractive than watching my man lose a heated argument with my cat over the comfiest spot on the couch, but stats are stats.

So, if it’s not the cuteness factor, what is it?

The Science Behind the Photos

dog dressed up as scientist

Dogs are perceived as excellent judges of character. Ask any random person if they think dogs can tell the difference between good and evil and you’ll understand what I mean.

Think about any piece of media with a dog in it. How are they portrayed? How many scary movies have you seen where there’s a dog barking in an empty room trying to warn their family about the scary-ass ghosts floating around? How many serial killer movies show a dog instinctively distrusting the baddie? Without Lassie, poor little Timmy would have died in that well.

cute golden retriever dressed as a ghost

We’ve been trained to believe that dogs are the ultimate truth detectors, so it makes sense that when a woman sees a photo of a man with a happy dog, she subconsciously assumes that he must be a kind person.

Don’t Lie About Having a Dog

If you get a photo with a pup and then tell her that it’s yours, you’re both a liar and incredibly short-sighted… wtf are you going to do now? Because very soon, you’ll either need to acquire a dog or come up with a really tragic backstory for Chewbarka’s sudden disappearance.

fluffy dog running with his hair in the wind, chewbarka
RIP Chewbarka

Here’s the deal: It doesn’t matter if the dog is yours. What matters is that the dog trusts you. So, don’t send your imaginary dog to an imaginary farm. Just be honest and say you love dogs but don’t have one.

great pyreness with chickens on farm

For example:
Her: OMG is that your dog? He’s so cute!
You: No, unfortunately I can’t have dogs in my apartment, but I love hanging out with my friend’s dog, Geralt of Ruffia.


You: No, I work so much, it wouldn’t be fair to get a dog, but I will take any opportunity I can to hang out with my neighbor’s dog, Gandog the Grey.

As someone who edits messages on dating apps for a living, I find it works like a charm and prevents you from becoming a liar for likes. Sometimes, you can play fetch and keep the ball too.

The Truth Hurts

superman black dog

This may hurt to hear, but my psychology degree compels me to be straight with you here; it’s all bullshit. I mean, a lot of people do believe that dogs instinctively know who is good and who is bad… but those people are wrong. If a serial rapist treats their dog kindly, their dog will love them. Because, well, dogs love people who are nice to them.

What about the times when it feels like your dog tried to warn you that someone was untrustworthy? I’m sorry to disappoint you, but your dog was just reading stress cues you didn’t recognize you were putting off. If you’re curious, read the first few chapters of The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. He does a great job of discussing this pervasive myth that’s deeply rooted in our culture.

woman with her dog, sitting on the floor, kissing her dog

Now that I’ve destroyed your sense of reality, let’s talk about how we can use this information to help you improve your match rates.

Unleash the Powers of Pooches

huskies playing in the snow

If you enjoy the company of dogs, even if you don’t have one of your own, grabbing a photo with one will have a visibly positive effect on your dating profile.

Of course, not all dog photos are created equal. For this pic to be effective, you need to be interacting with the dog in a way that showcases your relationship. If you take an awkward selfie with a dog who seems to be completely disinterested in you, or worse, wary, it can actually hurt your match rate. It’s also not helpful to use a puppy as a prop. You and the dog must look like you’re genuinely enjoying each other’s company.

man sitting on the floor and taking a photo with his dog

So, grab a furry friend, take a few photos, and pop it onto your profile. You’ll be amazed at what it can do for your match rate.

If you need help improving your dating profile, check out my services or reach out to me directly.