Yes, it’s true that every dog is cute at every age, but now it’s been scientifically proven that puppies actually reach an age of peak cuteness. A team of scientists in the United States and the Netherlands, led by researcher Clive Wynne, have studied human responses to puppies of various ages and breeds to reach the conclusion that the cutest age—that is, the age at which they were ranked most attractive to people—is between six and eight weeks. In addition to being super cute, these are some other superpowers that dogs have.
It’s not just a random age, though. Prior to carrying out the study, researchers correctly hypothesized that the puppies would be cutest around the time of weaning, when they are abandoned by their mothers and forced to fend for themselves. National Geographic UK cited the fact that among feral puppies under a year of age, the mortality rate is about 90 percent. So it’s critical for these puppies to be able to find someone to care for them once their mothers don’t anymore.
Most dogs in the world aren’t pets, so being spotted at this irresistible age by a human could mean a chance to be adopted and increase the likelihood of living to adulthood. This research is a clue that humans’ fondness for a cute face may have actually helped to shape the evolutionary development of dogs. And though we clearly succumb to their cuteness quite easily, pets give to us just as much as they take. Check out some of the ways we benefit from having pets.