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Do dogs really look like their owners?

Ever wonder if that whiskery fellow walking his jowly Scottish terrier or that leggy, long-haired blonde jogging with her Afghan hound were just flukes? Science has stepped in to prove the conventional wisdom really does hold true: pooches do indeed resemble the people who own them, according to research presented this week at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in Brighton.

To test the truism, researchers at Bath Spa University in the U.K. asked 70 people who didn't have dogs to match pictures of 41 canine keepers to one of three breeds of dogs: poodle, labrador or Staffordshire bull terrier. The guessers correctly matched dog breeds to owners 50 to 60 percent of the time, according to a report in the London Telegraph. (Random guesses would have only succeeded about a third of the time, noted the article.)

But do the similarities extend beyond looks? "Non dog owners considered the owners of each breed to share certain personality traits," study co-leader Lance Workman, who heads the Biopsychology Research Unit at Bath Spa University said in a statement. After assessing the owners' personalities, however, Workman and his colleagues didn't find strong correlations between the humans and preconceived notions about their pups. "So any shared qualities," said Workman, "are only skin deep."

Image courtesy of kamshots via Flickr

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