Lead data journalist

Dogs are man’s best friend, and new YouGov research reveals that this may be because it helps them get dates. But how do other animals fare?

A new phenomenon known as “dogfishing” sees people boost their appeal by posing for dating profile photos with borrowed pooches. New YouGov RealTime research shows this to be a winning strategy.

We asked Britons whether they would be more or less willing to date someone if they had one of twelve different types of pet, and dogs turn out to be by far the most appealing.

As many as four in ten Britons (40%) would be more willing to date someone if they had a dog, while just one in nine (11%) would be actively put off by a canine companion. Women are slightly more likely to be impressed by someone with a dog, at 42% compared to 36% of men.

Cats are a more divisive choice. While 29% of people would be more willing to date someone with a feline familiar, another 20% would be put off them.

Gender differences here are much more marked. Men are split, with 24% being more willing to date a cat owner and an identical 24% being less willing. But 34% of women would find a man with a cat more attractive, and only 16% less so.

Dogs and cats are the only pets that significantly boost a person’s dating prospects. A few pets had a net neutral appeal: respondents on average had no strong opinion about tortoises, rabbits, goldfish, guinea pigs or hamsters.

There are, however, some pets you should steer well clear of if you’re hoping to find love. Fully 60% of Britons would be less willing to date a tarantula owner, with a mere 2% saying it would increase their attraction to someone. Snakes come not far behind, putting off 53% of Brits and attracting only 4%.

Women in particular are likely to think again before dating a tarantula or snake owner. Two thirds of females (67%) are put off by the tarantula, and 58% would be suspicious of a snake-owning romantic prospect.

Lizard keepers also perform poorly, with 39% of Britons saying they would be less willing to date one and only 7% saying they would be more likely to.

The most surprising finding of the survey is how poorly miniature pigs perform, with Britons more than three times as likely to say they make a prospective partner less appealing (37%) than more so (11%). Despite their obvious adoreableness, it is entirely possible that Britons are wary that oblivious owners have been duped into buying a normal piglet and may be sitting on a bacon time bomb.

Photo: Getty

See the full results here

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