Hi friends! As zoophiles, sometimes we get asked the question, “Why do you find dogs attractive?” I’ll admit, it’s a very difficult question to answer because of how much we have to narrow it down. But I think the question is worth answering. So as a zoophile, I would like to share a list of some of the reasons why dogs make me go, “Wow I love dogs so much, they are amazing.”
This list is not going to be in any specific order, because individual dogs excel at different things! Some dogs are big and cuddly and great to snuggle with, while other dogs may be energetic little rascals who will politely take a nap with you at times but really flaunt their talents when you get out to the park to let them chase a ball and prance around with their friends.
But without further ado, let’s get into why dogs are so good!
1. Their capacity for friendship
Dogs, just like humans, have both survival needs and emotional needs. A dog needs food to eat and water to drinkut to live their best life, a dog also needs things that are emotionally fulfilling. For a lot of dogs that means daily exercise, a place they can think of as home, and something that reassures them they are appreciated.
If you can be the one who gives a dog food, water, walks, and shelter, and you can also spend time down on the ground with them with your face at their level or lower, talking to them equal-to-equal, person-to-person, appreciator-to-very-helpful-woofn in time you might just have someone who will be one of the best friends of your entire life. Because a lot of dogs, when cared for so truly, will take notice. Dogs are individuals and some may be more reserved or more forthcoming, they may have past trauma or they may be a perfectly cherubic pup ready to melt into your arms, but if you give good care to a dog, there’s not a bad chance that the dog might want to care for their cool human in turn, being protective of you, loving to spend time around you, happier than anything in the world to go on a car ride with you and just go somewhere of your choosing.
Sometimes it’s a little blurry to define who counts as a friend and who starts counting as family when a friendship reaches a certain level of love. But if we are to assume that the definition of friendship has no ceiling, dogs are well represented in the top friends I’ve ever had, and it’s not for lack of two-legger competition.
2. Their voices
You may have been taught in Animal Sounds 101 back in kindergarten that dogs say bark bark. It is true that some dogs say bark bark some of the time, but it’s worth knowing that different dogs can have very distinct voices. I knew a big old former hunting dog who had a very deep and imposing baritone bark when someone knocked at the door, but would move to a grumbly tenor when asking you to let him outside, and could shift into a beautiful contralto when he would howl. His voice was so distinctly his that I was actually very thrown one day when another dog moved into the neighborhood with a similar voiceogs in this neighborhood would be barking all the time, but when one day I started hearing this other specific dog, I would think it was my dog who was outside barking at something, then when I’d go check on him, my dog was just lying in the grass wagging politely, and some dog down the street was the one who had some announcements to make. As time went on even the subtle differences between these dogs’ very similar voices became apparentthe other dog tended to be in more of a rush to speakwhereas my guy, while having the same baritone, was more metered and articulateI wouldn’t think anything of it when the other dog was the one informing the neighborhood of the movements of the local cats.
I tend to love the deep voices of big dogs the most, myself. But smaller dogs can be endearing too. I knew a poodle-mix who would hardly ever bark-bark, but would get so excited at people coming home that she would let out a happy high-pitched quavering as her tail wagged faster than the human eye c perceive a she went around saying hi to the pack members and guests. In isolation would it have been a pleasant sound o probably not ut knowing that it was her being so pleased that she couldn’t contain herself from singing a song about the situation made it an example of how even the most unlikely of dog voices can touch us.
3. How they like a kind pat
I probably don’t have to explain this one much to the sports players or bro huggers reading this. But a quick pat pat on another person says a lot without saying a lot. Nice free throw, pat pat. Good to see you man, pat pat. Spot, you did a good job walking by that other dog coolly and politely, I appreciate how well mannered you are, it’s so nice to go on walks with you like this, pat pat. With dogs you can also move this up to appreciative petting, which, if you try to do that with your running back in the locker room, might create a bit of a scene. But with dogs it is all good, and we love them for that.
4. How much they like belly rubs
Is this a little redundant with the previous item about how dogs like a kind pat? No! A pat pat and a belly rub are very different modalities of appreciating a canine friendo! A pat pat is a good way to check in and give assurance without interrupting anything else in the moment. A belly rub IS the moment. A belly rub is more impassioned. A belly rub after a yawn and stretch in the morning says I care for you, I love you, and it matters to me that you have a good day today. A playful squirming belly rub after playing around with toys midday says hehe told you today would be a blast. For yourself it’s nice to get to rub doggy hair, for the dog it’s nice to get their tummy kneaded by those talented human hands, and for both of you it’s a reciprocal display of closeness, trust, care, playfulness, affection.
5. The way they hang out with you while you do boring stuff
Dogs can be so lovingly patient with us. This day and age, it’s not hard for a lot of us to pass an hour sitting at a computer, whether we’re checking in on the socials, playing a game, or getting some work done. Anyone who is happily contented to rest their chin on your foot while you’re doing that is showing so much adoration towards you, and should be adored in return the best that we can, maybe with a walk later and/or an impromptu gift of a little dog biscuit the next time that you get the chance.
Dogs are SO good at kissing you guys. That tongue, hoo boy, it can go for days and feels really fun and nice playing against your own slithery human tongue, or your kissy lips, or just wherever they can reach in your mouth if you open up to them for even a sec. Those wet soft dog-hair-covered chins, mmm, love that. The way they wag if you do something smile-worthy in their eyes, amazing. Their breath? Nirvana. Not to mention the way they can put a paw on you saying, “Hey buster we’re not done until I say we’re done or until you insist on leaving because your lips are becoming very chapped from all of this dog kissing fair enough I as a dog am having a lot of fun with this but am not insisting so hard that I would go against your wishes thank you for the time we did get to spend kissing it was very good maybe we can do it again another time when you’re interested again, wag wag.”
And on top of all of that, you know what you can be doing WHILE making out? PETTING A DOG. Holy moly that is two amazing activities in one! Dogs are so good to kiss with that I’m surprised it’s not a commonplace pastime among non-zoo dog owners and their enthusiastic four-leggers too, just a way to have some mutual enjoyment on an evening in.
7. Their happiness at doing activities that let them flex their athleticism
Some dogs are more athletically inclined than others. Most likely, your average border collie will put more miles behind her in a day than a chihuahua will, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that held true even after scaling for size.
But for dogs who do have that athletic streak in them, it’s so nice to see their outward happiness at getting to do their thing. Going on hikes and getting to watch the way a dog struts with their head up looking around, scampers after a smell with their nose to the ground, runs back and forth between the front-most and back-most members of a hiking group shepherding everyone together. Watching a dog sprint after a tennis ball, leap up, and snatch it out of midair, all of this done faster than the human arm can throw something. Jogging alongside them as they show off how gymnast-perfect their ability to run through an obstacle course is. All of these things are striking to see on a visual basis alone, but thinking of the happy dog behind the activity takes it from neat to awesome.
8. The way they socialize with other dogs
Dogs are animals, for all of the serene and all of the uncouth things that that brings. A visit to the dog park could bring any aspect of their social behavior into the spotlight.
Sometimes it isn’t pretty, with dogs bullying each other or getting in more than little play fights: really squinting for the glass half full angle of that I think it does show they’re a lot like we are, but that among themselves they do not exist in a society with the exact same set of rigid dimensions that human society has nd maybe for them there is something more free about that, more fitting to letting them carry out their authentic animal drives. All the same we should probably pull sparring dogs apart before anyone is walking away hurt.
But on the more readily positive side, and what seems to be the vibe most days at the park, is dogs who are strangers all basically being friendly with each other and kind of having their own jam that they’re up to. Maybe a cocker spaniel walking up to any random human and setting a ball before them to have it thrown, and gladly chasing after it. Maybe a yellow lab going for a swim. Probably a whole group of three to eight dogs kind of just running around as a group nudging and swiping at each other playfully as they go along, with one or two conscientious objector dogs orbiting around outside of the group and watching.
All in all, seeing the way dogs play off each other whenever there is minimal human intervention shows a lot about them. The low points are real food for thought, and the high points are insightful as to the way they’re inclined to act that we can foster and go along with to help them be their best selves in all areas of life. Either way, watching dogs be among their own is very educational.
9. The way they talk to us humans
In some ways this can be similar to the above, but I want to highlight dog-to-human talk specifically because of how many humans seem convinced that it isn’t a thing.
I think most humans, even those who are a fair amount worse than average with dogs, understand some of the most very basic things. If a dog has the hair on their back raised and is baring their teeth and barking loudly at you, they probably aren’t thinking very positively about you right now. If you’re sitting around and they come up to you and whine, they’re probably asking you for something, like food or water or to go outside.
At a level above that, we have communication that involves a little more back-and-forth but is also still very practical. For example, asking them yes or no questions and getting their answer. When they come to you asking for something, you might ask, “Are you hungry?” and then they could answer you in a variety of ways, depending on the dog and how close you were to guessing right. No’s might include a small disappointed moan, a dejected single bark if you did a comically bad guess, or likely just the dog remaining stark still and giving you no reaction at all. Yes’s might include a suddenly enthusiastically wagging tail, licking their lips, or likely them happily leaving to go in the direction of where the food is with the assumption that you and them are on the same page now and you will be following shortly after them.
But communication with dogs doesn’t all have to be on such serious matters as whether or not they get their dinner. They don’t have to be asking for anything at all when the two of you talk to each other. If the two of you are on the couch, the dog might be happy for you to give her a few pets and tell her she’s a good girl, and she in turn might wag or deflate into an even comfier relaxed position wherever on the couch she may be. If you’re asleep and they come tearing into the room and jump onto the bed and walk all over you while wagging, they are probably just very happy you exist and wanted to make you aware of it. On a more subtle level than that, maybe just sharing a glance and a smile and a wag now and then throughout the day. They can even learn a lot of plain English if you speak to them in plain English instead of only ever barking commands at them. There have been times I visit a friend and realize, ah, their dog does not appear to recognize the sentence, “Do you wanna come back inside with me or stay out here, it’s kind of hot out.” y have to gently grab the top of their collar and physically start them in that direction so that by the power of their panting and the air conditioning combined they can cool off effectively for a bit.
If you do not speak dog at a conversational level, one place to start might be chatting over dinner, as this is a time when there are practical matters at hand (they want your food) but also an understanding of waiting and politeness (they know they will probably only get certain portions of your food throughout the meal). It’s a nice time to chat! Don’t talk down to them, saying, “oOOooOoOoo who’s a hungry boy??? Wh wants my food but can’t have any???” You are talking to them like an asshole if you’re doing that. Be on the same page as them. “Yeah bud. You can have some of this later when I’m done with this part. You did have your food earlier. You doing okay? You’re very beautiful. Yeah. I appreciate the way the sunlight catches in your fur, it looks very nice.” No need to be overly chatty during the entire meal, especially because if you’re doing this with them for the first time, they may have the wrong idea and think you are still trying to be a jerk and tease them. But mentioning things to them throughout the day is a good way for them to get to know what you’re actually putting down in natural languagend while they probably won’t respond with much English French or Spanish of their own, they will probably respond to you in canine body language or canine vocalizations that you will get better at picking up on if you’re paying attention. Once you and them are at that level together, dogs make for great friends to share idle discourse with.
10. Nap companions <3
Whether they’re floppy lazy bulldogs or strong driven German shepherds, all dogs have to sleep at some point or another. Sometimes they prefer to have a little snooze by themselves, but when it comes time to get their main zzz’s of the night in, a lot of dogs prefer to think of this as a pack activity if possible, and we as potential members of their pack are so blessed by this. Who would not want a warm soft body who loves you added to the bedtime equation?
Whether relaxing for a quick siesta or settling in to get a full night’s sleep, dogs make better dream catchers.
11. The aesthetics of some breeds, woof
Oh. My. Goodness. Some dogs are just extremely photogenic. With so many breeds of dogs in existence there are so many varieties of ways they can look beautiful, like sexy feral Bionicles. A border collie’s luscious flowing locks, or a beagle’s patchwork of three colored fur balanced so perfectly it’s as though they were watercolor painted for a storybook. The tall expressive ears of a husky, or the droopy ears of a beagle that you can gently give a stroke or two on as you tell them sweet nothings. The swishy tail of a golden retriever, or the hypnotic metronome-like tail of a beagle wagging as you tell them how pretty they . (Beagles are ver good okay? But big shout outs to border collies huskies and golden retrievers as well.)
Dogs’ faces, their belly tufts, their butts, their paws, all just great to look at. There are also some more demeanor-oriented things that can be an easy sight for sore eyes, like a confident stance, or a nose that is glistening as it wiggles back and forth ever so slightly to take some sniffs of the air.
The aesthetics that dogs can have are all ridiculously good. And amazingly, they’re not even the most attractive thing about dogs to me! I love the way a Great Dane looks, but to be honest I probably love all of the doggy traits and mannerisms we’ve been talking about in the other entries in this list even more. And coming up next is a trait I love about dogs that I would feel exactly as strongly about even if I were blind.
12. They smell amazing
Some people say things like, “Ew it smells like wet dog in here!” or “Grosssss the dog farted!” Statements like that are a real mask off moment for the poor souls who have missed out on playfully scampering back inside after a rainstorm caught you and your four legged bestie off guard while out on a walk, or who have never had the pleasure of sleeping night after night on a bed with a dog who is relaxed enough around you that you and them can snuggle up any variety of ways maybe spooning but sometimes maybe they flop down with their flank near your face and you nuzzle in because they are soft and the inevitable has happened enough times but in a positive context that the smell is honestly a fine kind of stinky instead of a bad kind of stinky.
Planting your nose in their chest fluff and taking a big huge sniff, delightful. The musky smell of their tummies, few nicer smells in the known universe. Their paws, holy heck it’s like God was making dogs and was like “wow I already used so much of this Awesome Smell Juice on making the rest of the dog but I still have like half the bottle left, I guess I’ll put all the rest of it on the bottoms of their feet maybe nobody will notice.” But people have noticed, and the smell of their paws is good.
13. They are amazing at smelling
For animals who smell so good themselves, it’s no wonder that they would have such a good sense of smell to match. We all know that some dogs find full time employment for their talented olfactory capabilities, primarily drug sniffer dogs and bomb sniffer dogs. But even to your layman canine, you can teach them to sniff which of your hands a treat is hidden in, or just let them go on their own smell quest and not yank their leash when they stop to smell the neighbor’s grass.
Smell is such a fundamental way that they experience the world, like sight and kinesthesia are to us. When they are sniffing the grass, they are reading a story. Who peed here? How recently? Are they getting all of their vitamins and minerals? Is this the same pee-leaver that I smelled a block to the left five days ago? Do they come here often, is this their territory? All of these are probably questions that they will get to the bottom of if you give them enough time to revel in the pee grass’s odor and puzzle it out, and that is pretty amazing, good for them, love it.
14. The way that they will help you with that extra food you have there
Have you made some food for yourself but probably couldn’t possibly finish that last bite of it? Dogs have got your back here. They might be more into pepperonis and not at all interested in lettuce, but most of them are at least willing to be consulted about what they will or will not eat off your plate, free of charge.
If you constantly find yourself in the possession of extra pinches of veggie burger or corners of pieces of toast, and just don’t know what to do with it all, a dog could be an invaluable addition to your breakfast lunch and dinner routine.
15. Their contagious happiness
Dogs are such a bright spot in my day. A dog who you have a friendly dynamic with can be so ready to mirror any happiness you show them back in your direction. I can go out and run errands in a grumpy mood and be as much of a downer as I want. But if someone has brought their dog to the store and he is sniffing around at the shelves off leash, it is like a knee jerk reaction that I am suddenly crouched down at their level with a playful expression and a hand offered for them to sniff. Nine times out of ten me and the dog will have become new friends within a few seconds and they will be wagging and getting petted and trying to make out with me. Where I was grumpy and internally bitching and moaning two minutes ago, I have now had a dog turn all of that around for the better pretty much just by existing and being himself.
Why do I find dogs attractive? It’s the culmination of a ton of things. They’re not just good for one or two reasons. They are a bundle of joys and devotions, comforts and adventures, play and nurturing. At the end of the day, they wag, therefore I feel happiness.
Article written by Dogteeth (May 2023)
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