Journal of Ethology

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 15–18 | Cite as

Self seeks like: many humans choose their dog pets following rules used for assortative mating

  • Christina Payne
  • Klaus JaffeEmail author


Theoretical and experimental studies suggest that mating and pair formation are not likely to be random. Assortative mating, characterized as “self seeking like”, seems to be widely practiced in nature. Experimental evidence for it is strong among humans seeking a mate. Assortative mating increases the probability of finding a genetically similar mate, without fomenting inbreeding, achieving assortative mating without hindering the working of other mate-selection strategies that aim to maximize the search for “good genes”, optimizing the working of sex in evolutionary terms. Self seeking like seems to be a behavioural inborn trait among humans, and here we present evidence that the same behavioural mechanism seems to be at work when humans choose a pet. We show that in a significant proportion of human–pet pairs, sampled in pet beauty contests, the partners show much higher facial resemblances than can be expected by random pair formation.


Pets Mate selection Assortative mating Sex Evolution 


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Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universidad Simón BolívarCaracasVenezuela

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