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When are puppies the most adorable? ASU professor finds the answer

PHOENIX — Every dog owner believes their puppy is the cutest. But now we know at exactly what age we find them to be the most adorable.

Arizona State University Psychology Professor Clive Wynne conducted a study focusing on pinpointing the optimal age of puppy cuteness. The study was carried out using a chain of photographs of puppies at different ages, from young puppy-hood through dog-hood.

“Different people were asked to rank the puppies’ level of attractiveness in each photo. Three distinctive-looking breeds were ranked: Jack Russell Terriers, Cane Corsos and White Shepherds. I have to say, it was a lot of fun,” Wynne said.

The conclusion indicating that humans believe puppies are most adorable at eight weeks old.

“People do not find the two, three, four, or even five week old puppies as attractive and the older dogs seem to become less attractive as well.”

Wynne said there is something particularly special about the eight week mark for both humans and dogs.

“Around eight weeks of age, just as their mother is getting sick of them and is going to kick them out of the den and they are going to have to make their own way in life, is exactly when they are most attractive to human beings.”

“Just at that point in their lives when human intervention can make the biggest difference to their success and survival – that’s exactly when humans believe puppies are at their absolute cutest,” he said.

The study stemmed from a trip that Wynne took to the Bahamas where he experienced the many street dogs there.

He said he was really struck when a local man told him, “most puppies you are seeing don’t live to their first birthday.”

The reason being their mothers abandon them when they are just eight or nine weeks old.

With the conclusion of the study ending exactly the way Wynne projected, he said, “this is absolutely the bedrock of how dogs need people, how our caring for them is essential to their survival.”


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