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What Is It About Those Flat Faces?

Dog Diversity; Big, Small, Short, Tall, Short Nose or Long Nose

Many flat-faced dogs such as; French Bulldogs, Pugs, Brussels Griffons, Shih Tzu, Japanese Chin, have a baby-faced, adorable quality that steals hearts.

Some people are more drawn to the flat faces than others. There are those people who just do not "get" the appeal of dogs like pictured above. You know the ones, the people who utter such original and pithy statements as, "Did your dog run into a wall? Or the every popular, "Your dog's so ugly, they're cute." Never heard that one, Mr. Original. 

Thank goodness there are as many types of dogs as their are potential people to love them!
PS; Pictured above is our Shann's Cinnabar at Jackpot! a smooth Brussels Griffon.

victorian pets

The Victorian Era Ushered in the Flat-Face Frenzy

During the Victorian Era dogs were bred to the extreme. Big dogs were bred to be HUGE dogs. Little dogs were bred to be teeny tiny and flatter-faced dogs were bred to be truly, extremely flat-faced.

The Pekingese, Japanese Chin, English Toy Spaniel and others were used to shorten the fore-faces of Bulldogs, Pugs, French Bulldogs, Brussels Griffons+

This era also saw the beginning of dog breeds divided into, well, breeds. Before this evolution dogs were classified by what they did; birddog, water spaniel, etc.

The Industrial Revolution also allowed many people something many had never considered possible - leisure time. One past-time which caught on quickly was Dog Shows. And so it began.

french bulldog Fibonacci

Baby Face, You've Got the Cutest Little Baby Face!

Studies have shown that humans are attracted to a certain Golden Ratio or Fibonacci*of proportions in virtually everything and this includes our dogs.

In a fascinating study done by the by the University of Portsmouth in the UK, it was found that dogs who looked at people with an appealing, "puppy-dog" face were adopted more quickly than others dogs with less plaintive expressions.

Dogs who were blessed with the tendency to literally pull their inner eyebrow area up to make their eyes look wider, were clearly the genetic winner!  

* FYI: the irrational number (1 + Square root of√5)/2, often denoted by the Greek letter ϕ or τ, which is approximately equal to 1.618

puppies baby face

The Science of Puppy Faces & Yes, It's Science

Here's the actual SCIENCE on how puppy faces were scientifically measured for cuteness.

Working with the renowned Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition researchers used an innovative tool called DogFACS (really) to analyze each micro-expression a dog made. The researchers laboriously counted each movement of the facial muscles of the dogs in the shelter as people came and looked at them.

The tool helped count the exact number of times the dogs raised their inner brows and made those wide, puppy eyes at the people considering them for adoption.

The dogs with the more baby-faced expressions were adopted much more quickly than other dogs. (My heart just melted thinking about those puppy expressions).