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From the Fringe

Strange Study Links Dogs, Feminine Appeal

Man's best friend -- so the saying goes, but now a German study tells women that dogs make them more attractive to both sexes. The research was publicized by, um, a pet suppliers' organization.

Dog with pig

Did you just call me a dog, you pig?

What would the world be without studies?

Somewhere out there in this vast universe of ours, someone is probably hard at work trying to establish a link between the sub-quantum behavior of quarks and Britney Spears' mental ups-and-downs. Researchers in Bonn and Freiburg, meanwhile, are trying to connect female attractiveness and dogs.

An initially counter-intuitive proposition, one might jest, but wait. 420 representative men and women -- representative of what, one asks, other than people with too much time on their hands? -- were shown pictures of women with and without dogs and asked which group they found more attractive.

World's ugliest dog

The study probably didn't include this member of the species

And do you know what? The women with dogs had more appeal.

"The overwhelming majority of the respondents attributed more self-discipline and patience, as well as greater family sensibility and optimism toward life, to the women with dogs," said Professor Reinhold Bergler from the Institute of Psychology at the University of Bonn.

Fascinating, one might say in one's best Leonard Nimoy voice -- until one notices that the organization responsible for bringing this discovery to the media's attention was the Industrial Association of Pet Suppliers.

Said organization also promotes research showing that men with cats are considered more sensitive, and relationships in which the partners don't like each others' pets tend not to last.

Snake biting man's face

Sometimes humans and animals can get too close

What's next? "Reptiles ensure better grades at school" or "Arachnoids are just the thing to spice up your sex life?"

Now it's hard to argue against women enjoying the company of furry, four-legged friends or men stroking pussycats -- after all, patting that cute white cat certainly made the Blofeld character from the old James Bond films much more likeable.

Cynics may claim that that the study in question may have been more about flogging off flea collars and pet food than advancing the cause of scientific inquiry. We, however, would never insinuate such a thing.

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