Why is our dog Martha so cute? – Sam, aged nine, UK Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the world – and many owners regard them as an important member of the family unit. Just looking at our dogs can put a smile on our faces. But why is this? Well, in a nutshell, dogs look cute. With their large, round heads, big eyes that face forwards, soft fur and floppy ears, dogs simply look very appealing to us. They also behave in an endearing manner, with their clumsy movements, nuzzling noses and wagging tails. Lots of people would agree that Martha is very cute, but she’s especially cute to Sam. Provided by Sam's mum In many respects, a lot of these characteristics (with the exception of the wagging tails) are very similar to those of a baby – something else that triggers us to feel a bit mushy inside. In fact, some research has even shown that if we look at a picture of a baby and a picture of a puppy, our brains respond in the same way, flooding our body with feelgood chemicals. Happy chemicals These chemicals, in turn, help to put us into a good mood and make us feel protective, loving and – importantly – happy. This could explain why so many people search for dog images on social media – it gives them their daily dose of cuteness therapy. Not only is it normal to find our “fur babies” engaging, it’s also very important that we perceive them that way. If we find something cute, we are much more likely to look after it. Cute things are usually regarded as vulnerable and needy – again, just like babies. This is important from a survival perspective. And it seems that the younger a dog is, the more likely it is that we will find it attractive.