There’s a reason we call it puppy love, surely. There’s a reason a Cocker Spaniel and Schnauzer/Terrier mix went for the exact same piece of spaghetti. And there’s definitely a reason Pongo and Perdita are the definition of a perfect couple (Cruella de Vil aside of course).
So, do dogs fall in love really? Or is it something that only happens in the movies?
Do dogs have feelings?
Of course, they do! Any dog owner knows that. They come and comfort us when they know we’re having a bad day, they feel sad when they’ve done something wrong, and they know that we love them. They’re highly intelligent and sentient beings that can even experience grief. But can dogs fall in love?
What is puppy love?
Something to remember about our furry friends is that they’re not humans. As surprising as that sometimes is. They can feel emotions but that doesn’t mean they fall in love exactly as we do. Your teenage pup isn’t going to mope around the house because the Poodle they like in the park didn’t look at them. But dogs do love, in their own special way.
Scientists believe that love can simply be defined as a hormone. When we release oxytocin, we get that feeling of love, create unique bonds and form an attachment to the person or animal. Dogs can also produce oxytocin.
The best way for us to feel what doggie love is, is to look at their behavior. Our dogs may stare into our eyes when they’re showing us they love us (which is pretty romantic and movie-like), or yawn at the same time we do (less romantic). They might also show their excitement when they see us, rest their heads in our laps when we’re sad, or sleep at our feet.
But do dogs fall in love with other animals?
How true is Lady and the Tramp really? There’s no doubt that dogs can love and that they grow fiercely strong bonds – we can see that with their puppies, with us, and with their best friends. But, as much as we want to believe it, they may not romantically love their doggy playdate. It’s more likely that they’re best friends, sleep better when they’re snuggled up, and wag their tails the hardest when they’re playing together.
Dogs are innately pack animals, who learn to respect the boss and protect their family. So one reason why your pup likes to cuddle up on the couch with another dog or even your cat could be because they feel protective towards them and because they like the comfort of sleeping with another animal. It’s kind of in their blood to do that. Even the best and strongest bond between two pups is likely not to be the romantic kind. At least not the spaghetti kind.
What do you think? Does your pup have a best friend? Or do you think it’s something more?
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!