JoAnna Lou
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Are Dogs a Dating Detriment?
Survey finds that pets could hurt a person’s dating prospects

In New York City, there are more than eight million people concentrated in 300 square miles, so you’d think it would be easy to meet potential dates. But with everyone in the typical New York hurry, it’s hard to make a genuine connection with new people.

My dogs are the one thing I’ve found that gets people to stop and talk. When I lived in Manhattan, I met new people at the dog run and while jogging with Nemo in Central Park. Dogs make a good excuse to strike up a conversation. And, maybe because all of my friends are pet lovers, every woman I know gives extra bonus points to a man with a dog. 

So I was surprised to see that a survey conducted by the UK Craigslist found that dogs were the pet most likely to hurt your dating prospects. They found that 23 percent of people would be less likely to date someone with a dog. That percentage dropped to 21 percent for cat lovers and 11 percent for hamster or guinea pig lovers, so I think this might have to do with how “intrusive” the pet is in a person’s life.

I take offense to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster’s statement that “single folks who want to own a pet, but deter the fewest potential dates, should opt for a hamster or guinea pig.” Pets are a part of our family, not an accessory to attract dates. Plus, the survey results still show that 77 percent of people would not back out of a date with a dog lover, so I wouldn't exactly call it a detriment. 

Sure I may have to run home and walk my dogs before I go out at night or limit my vacations to pay for vet bills, but I don’t care if my dogs hurt my prospects. I’ve been on a date with a guy who couldn’t understand why I would want a second dog and a guy who thought it was silly that I ran in the agility ring. As you can imagine, there were no second dates. So much about dating is filled with uncertainty, but if a guy doesn’t love my dogs, I know for sure we’re not compatible!

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by B Rosen/flickr.

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Anonymous | December 13 2011 |

Ironic. For this New Yorker, a prospective date's attractiveness is exponentially increased upon discovering they own a dog. Conversely, I would never go out on a date with someone that wasn't a dog person. Ha!

Submitted by Anonymous | July 12 2012 |

I have issue with women that let cats and dogs on their furniture. I also cannot sleep in a bed knowing that a dog sleeps on or in it. I don't think it is normal. I am debating right now, to stop seeing a woman who owns a cat and a dog.

Submitted by Maura | December 13 2011 |

I can’t wait to see what others say about this article. I recently got out of a 7 year relationship and am slowly getting back into the dating pool. I seriously didn’t think it would be this difficult! I too have 2 dogs and am completely obsessed with agility and nosework. I know that there are very few young single men (in their 20 or 30’s) at these events, but I thought finding someone outside these events, through dating sites, dog parks, etc. would be easier and people would take to the whole dog sport thing great. I was wrong there! No one has said anything against the fact that I’m obsessed but it definitely isn’t looked upon as a perk! I try to date guys who at least have dogs and normally they really love their dogs but they don’t get the whole obsession thing;)
I know SO many single older women who compete as much as I do in dog sports and see the struggle they go through finding men too.
Is there some secret place to meet men that are super into dogs?! I’m at a loss!

Submitted by Andy | December 13 2011 |

Failure to appreciate a dog's role and contribution to an individual's life is the real detrimental factor here. At the risk of stepping on cat and hamster lovers' toes, I'd say living with pooches are far more fulfilling and rewarding by comparison.

In truth, dogs are a huge commitment at every imaginable level. They demand loads of time, care, attention, money, effort, and love; not necessarily in that particular order. Yes, it takes a whole lot of willpower to wake up in the wee hours just to walk them. You can't stop worrying about their well-being whenever they fall sick. And your bosses might not like it nor understand whenever you dash home from work to feed and walk your mutts. Dogs are not easy deals.

However, that immeasurable degree of love, empathy, and companionship they provide are beyond (I'll go out on a limb here) what any human being could possibly offer. Dogs do not intrude, they enrich. And a date prospect incapable of understanding this mere fact is a date not worth having in my book. In fact, I'd willingly trade my life for my two dogs if I have to, as any veracious dog lover would.

To be fair to Daily Mail's article, the survey's main gist was on the turn-off quotient of arachnids and reptiles rather than dogs when it comes to the dating game. That said, I can only feel sorry for the men who feel less inclined to date a woman who is a dog-owner. They don't know what they're missing.

Submitted by Anonymous | December 13 2011 |

I always depended on my dog to weed out the losers. She was always spot on. She didn't like men in general, but the minute she met my husband-to-be, she cozied up. That's my girl!

Submitted by DogLover | December 27 2011 |

that most be a great dog!!!

Submitted by DogLover | December 27 2011 |

that most be a great dog!!!

Submitted by Anonymous | December 13 2011 |

You do realize that it was a UK survey where the culture is slightly different than what it is in the US. I don't own a dog but the amount of women who I see stop to pet/stroke/kiss/etc a dog is a great way to conversation ice breaker and potential meet more people have have more meaningful conversations. So if you like dogs, you weed out people who don't (similar interests) and you have dog stories to your potential mate.

Submitted by the DIY dog | December 13 2011 |

Because there's nothing as scientific as a Craigslist survey. *rolls eyes* All that tells us is 23% of Brits looking for love on Craigslist aren't dog people. If you're not in the UK and don't date on Craigslist it seems there's nothing to worry about. ;)

Submitted by Erica Kennedy | December 14 2011 |

It's Craigslist... you've probably just weeded out the Serial Killers, Date Rapists, and Pedophiles, who have reason to be concerned that you have an ardent protector at home! Go Fido! :)

Submitted by Anonymous | December 14 2011 |

Regarding > or limit my vacations to pay for vet .

I have an Itchy Allergy DOG ( that I Love Very Much ), but my beef is with the Vet who did not tell me that 85% of Itchy DOGs are Allergic to Pollens, Dust Mites & molds..

Instead, I was led down an expensive path of Flea Products and special Food Diet path.. being told that my Itchy Dog "may" be allergic to Flea of FOOD .. what is even worse is that while I was on this Detour ..my dogs Enviro allergies just got worse and worse..

I know that Med's only Mask Symptoms .. and Shots are to expensive and not Pet Friendly ..

But what are my DOGs Enviro Allergy options ..

Submitted by DogLover | December 27 2011 |

Wow. Who would of thought? Of course the UK is different than than the U.S. Well simple soloution to that situation is don't date people who don't like dogs.

Submitted by Anonymous | May 31 2012 |

I'm a dog trainer and I had a hard time with women who see their dogs as "furkids" instead of animals. It's sad to see so many lonely people humanize these wonderful creatures instead of seeing them for what they are.

Submitted by Anonymous | June 16 2012 |

K- Out and about a dog is o.k. to see - except for the people sucking face with them gross!! Not to mention the health risk of getting worms and other diseases. I had a girlfriend that had dogs - I hated every minute of it - the freakin flea bites, the smell, the barking, the needy non-stop in your face violating your space every minute!! It really is gross - I think in America people are brainwashed through non stop T.V. watching of crap like Disney to think of dogs as nothing but cute. How untrue, they are dirty animals that eat their own crap!

Submitted by Anonymus | July 30 2014 |

You have basically described everything that bothers me about the dogs too. I just wanted to add to this, women that have dogs seem to lean towards the unconditional love the dog gives them. Well guess what. You are an adult now, nothing is unconditional unless its the love towards your kids. Don't make excuses for yourself for not being to commit and work out relationship and sliding that "unconditional love" from a dog into place. Cheers :)

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