The Dog Breeds That Always Look Like Puppies

In 2013, the Associated Press wrote that "the ideal designer dog" would be big on brains, small on bark, hypoallergenic, and enjoy health and longevity. "Most important, it would never lose its puppy face." At the time, breeders were hoping the so-called "cava-poo-chon" would fit the bill, which would cost $3,500 to pay. The dog weighed between 10 and 15 pounds and had the sweetest little baby face. However, the American Kennel Club pooh-poohed the cava-poo-chon, refusing to recognize the tiny hybrid as a legitimate breed. Nonetheless, it represented an expensive fixation on finding "the dog-face fountain of youth and perfect pet accessory."

But why do humans go gaga for pooches with puppy dog eyes and matching puppy dog everything else? Perhaps the answer lies in natural selection. Citing a 2019 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vice writes that behavioral evidence indicates that domesticated canines evolved to resemble babies. Why? Humans tend to be more attentive and nurturing toward baby-faced canines. When they raise their eyebrows their eyes look larger and hence more infantile. Cocking their brows make them seem sad, arousing sympathy. Combine that with a well-timed head tilt, and owners are putty in their paws.

In other words, adorable doggies are custom-made to manipulate us. Rewarding their cuteness with belly rubs and treats just trains them to manipulate us more. One might even say that by breeding them to look puppy-like, we're basically begging dogs to exploit our emotional weaknesses. So breeds that already look infantile have a natural advantage. Here are some of the cutest manipulators in the canine world.

You've the cutest little baby face

Determining what counts as a breed is arguably arbitrary to to an extent. So we'll take our cues from Pet Central contributor Elizabeth Xu, who compiled a list of six breeds and consulted American Kennel Club vice president Gina DiNardo. Among them are the Maltese, which looks like a walking cotton ball and the Yorkshire Terrier, which looks like it has more fur than actual dog. The adorable Pomeranian looks like a little bundle of joy, what with its tiny face and tiny everything else. But the breed's thick coat looks like a bundle of joylessness to groom. The remainder of the list includes the fancy-looking and even fancier-sounding Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the Toy Fox Terrier, and everyone's favorite purse accessory, the Chihuahua.