People Who Look Like Their Dogs

Illustrating the science

This morning, The Atlantic magazine associate editor Sarah Yager appeared on NBC's Today to help Matt Lauer and company contextualize an enduring mystery: why people sometimes resemble their dogs. It seems to happen both in appearance and disposition. Yager looked at several academic studies on the topic in this month's magazine as part of the short recurring feature "Study of Studies," in which we compare offbeat research that might be surprising either in its findings or methods, or simply in the fact that it exists. This month: "Why You Look Like Your Dog."

To illustrate the segment, the Today crew scoured this good nation to find people who look like their dogs. Those most dog-like traveled to Rockefeller Center, paraded around on camera, and were made to smile into it for awkwardly too long.

Because this is America and everything is a competition, this was also a competition. David Frei, co-host of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, oversaw the procession and chose a winner (incorrectly; the strongest resemblance is actually James from California with his miniature schnauzer and their matching mustaches). Here is the video.

The segment is reminiscent of a 1992 episode of The Simpsons, in which a daytime-TV show profiled "People Who Look Like Things":

(The Simpsons / Fox /

Unlike the dog segment, these men teach us little about the obesity epidemic, but there's probably something in there about self image. "All we ask," said the pumpkin-headed man, "is to be treated with dignity and respect."

Next month: Why We're All Starting to Look Like Our Smartphones.

Read Yager's Study of Studies in the magazine or online here.

Jump to comments
Presented by

James Hamblin, MD, is a senior editor at The Atlantic.


Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

In a series of candid video interviews, women talk about self-image, self-judgment, and what it means to love their bodies

Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus


Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.


Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.


Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.


The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air



More in Health

Just In