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Home > Dogs > Can Dogs Fall in Love? Canine Bonds and Emotions Explored

Can Dogs Fall in Love? Canine Bonds and Emotions Explored

weimaraner dog sitting on owner's laps

Most people know that dogs are human’s best friend, and anyone who owns one will certainly agree. However, many people ask if their pet can feel love. According to the research, it looks like they can! Dogs form strong emotional bonds and attachments with humans and other animals, which might be interpreted as a form of love.

Keep reading as we discuss their bond with humans and other pets, how they show emotion, and the cause of separation anxiety to help you better understand your pet.


Do Dogs Have Emotions?

Research has shown that dogs are capable of experiencing a variety of emotions, including joy, fear, anxiety, and even jealousy. Their brains have all the same structures and hormones as humans, so they likely have many of the same emotions. Experts believe that while dogs are capable of basic emotions, including fear, joy, disgust, anger, and love, they do not comprehend complex emotions like guilt, pride, and shame. The feelings of these emotions are equivalent to those of a human about 2.5 years old.

border collie dog at the park with owner
Image Credit: Your Hand Please, Shutterstock

The Bond Between Humans and Dogs

The deep bond between humans and dogs has developed over thousands of years of cohabitation and domestication. Dogs have evolved alongside humans, adapting to their lifestyles and forming unique relationships with us. Studies have shown that oxytocin, often called the love hormone, is released in dogs and humans during positive interactions.

Can Dogs Love Their Owners?

While dogs may not experience love in the same complex way that humans do, they can still form strong attachments to their owners. This emotional bond is often comparable to the bond between a child and their parent.

woman sitting on the sofa and hugging and kissing her little white maltese dog in the room
Image Credit: KatMoy, Shutterstock

Dogs Expressing Affection

Dog owners frequently observe their furry friends expressing affection through gestures and behaviors. Tail wagging, licking, cuddling, and leaning against their owners are common ways that dogs show affection. Dogs can even recognize their owner’s emotions and respond accordingly, offering comfort and help if needed.

Can Dogs Love Other Animals?

Dogs can also form strong connections with other dogs and even animals from different species, including sheep, goats, other dogs, cats, and horses. Dog owners often report witnessing their pets being friendly and loyal toward other animals that they have grown close to.

A cute tabby cat and a Dalmatian dog
Image Credit: Katho Menden, Shutterstock

Attachment and Separation Anxiety

The emotional attachment that dogs develop with their owners can sometimes lead to separation anxiety, causing them to show signs of distress like excessive barking, destructive behavior, or breaking house training when their owners are away for extended periods. This behavior shows how strong their emotional bond is, but you can train your pet to keep busy while you are away if you start early.

Love Stories

Several popular stories discuss the strong bond that dogs can form with humans, including the tale of Hachiko, a loyal Akita that waited for his deceased owner at a train station for years. Bobbie the Wonder Dog traveled more than 2,500 miles to get home after getting separated from his family on vacation.

Hachiko Statue
Image By: jojobearz, Shutterstock


Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know If My Dog Is Happy?

Happy dogs often exhibit certain behaviors, such as wagging their tails and being playful. They usually have a relaxed body posture, bright eyes, and a content demeanor. They may also seek attention and enjoy social interactions.

Golden retriever wagging his tail
Image By: Hollysdogs, Shutterstock

Do Dogs Get Sad?

Yes, dogs can experience sadness and may show signs of depression or lethargy when feeling down. Changes in appetite, decreased interest in activities that they once enjoyed, or excessive sleeping can be indicators of sadness in dogs.

How Can I Make My Dog Feel Loved and Secure?

Providing consistent care, attention, and positive reinforcement is essential for making your dog feel loved and secure. Regular exercise, social interaction, mental stimulation, and a safe environment are also vital for their emotional well-being.

woman playing with weimaraner dogs
Image By: Christian Mueller, Shutterstock

What Should I Do If My Dog Seems Anxious or Stressed?

If your dog is showing signs of anxiety or stress, you’ll need to identify and address the underlying cause. Consulting with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer can help you develop a plan to reduce anxiety and provide appropriate support and training for your dog.



Most experts agree that dogs can fall in love in much the same way that a small child will have love for a parent. Their brains have the same structures and hormones responsible for emotions as humans, and scientists have seen an increase in the love hormone, oxytocin, when pets are enjoying time with their owners. Dogs can also develop strong bonds with almost any animal that they grow up with, including other dogs, cats, sheep, and horses. These emotions can cause your pet to feel separation anxiety when you leave home, leading to excessive barking and behavior if you don’t train them how to stay busy while you’re gone.

Featured Image Credit:, Shutterstock

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