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We Bet You Can’t Resist These Puppy Eyes — And Now Research Reveals Why

It's all in the way they move their inner eyebrows

Ah, puppy eyes. Nothing is so adorable — or so incredibly persuasive. As it turns out, dogs know exactly what they’re doing when they give you that face. Research shows that, over time, dogs developed new muscles around the eyes specifically to better communicate with humans. Learn more about what your dog is trying to tell you with that cute look, then keep scrolling for photos of puppies that, honestly, we would give anything in the world to.

What are puppy eyes?

You know that look your dog gives you when he wants something? He peers up at you with raised eyebrows and widened eyes that seem to sparkle — those are puppy eyes. You think he’s cute no matter what, but when he gives you that look, you swear he’s the sweetest creature to ever walk the planet. And no matter what he wants, whether it’s a belly rub, a walk or the other half of your sandwich, you want to give it to him. But don’t be fooled — Spot knows exactly what he’s doing.

Why do dogs make puppy eyes?

Breakthrough research sheds light on why we’re rendered powerless by that sweet doggie expression. In the first detailed analysis of its kind, a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences compared the anatomy and behavior of dogs and wolves. The findings? Dogs, unlike wolves, have a small muscle that allows them to specifically raise their inner eyebrows.

“The evidence is compelling that dogs developed a muscle to raise the inner eyebrow after they were domesticated from wolves,” said lead researcher Juliane Kaminski, PhD, in a press release. “We also studied dogs’ and wolves’ behavior, and when exposed to a human for two minutes, dogs raised their inner eyebrows more and at higher intensities than wolves.”

Why puppy eyes make you melt

Feel like your hearts going to burst when your pooch gives you puppy eyes? Researchers say that eyebrow raise makes dogs’ eyes appear larger and infant-like, triggering a nurturing response in people.

“The findings suggest that expressive eyebrows in dogs may be a result of humans unconscious preferences that influenced selection during domestication,” said Kaminski. “When dogs make the movement, it seems to elicit a strong desire in humans to look after them. This would give dogs that move their eyebrows more a selection advantage over others and reinforce the ‘puppy dog eyes’ trait for future generations.”

These 15 puppies deserve all the treats

Dogs know that using puppy eyes makes humans want to give them love and attention. Does it work on you? Keep scrolling to meet some precious puppies — we bet you can’t help but say “awww!”

1. Hungry Ginger the Golden Retriever

cute golden retriever puppy, asking for food with his puppy eyes

Ginger is ready for her dinner… and for yours, too.

2. Bubba the Boxer

German boxer brindle puppy is sitting and lookig up, big puppy dog eyes and nose
Jelizaveta Nikolajeva/Shutterstock

With those puppy eyes, Bubba deserves all the tennis balls in the world.

3. Peckish Petunia the Corgi

welsh corgi puppy dog eyes

Can she have an extra scoop of kibble tonight? Please?

4. Mr. Grumbles the Pug

pug puppy dog eyes

All he wants is a snack and a snuggle.

5. Naughty Noodle the Dachshund

Naughty dachshund puppy has stolen home slippers of owner and is gnawing them in pet bed, front view. Baby dog with guilty look was caught in the act

Yes, she’s making a mess, but that look absolves her of any guilt.

6. Sweet Samson the Cockapoo

cavapoo puppy dog eyes

Samson is 90% fur, 10% puppy eyes and 100% adorable.

7. Marvelous Maverick the Rottweiler

rottweiler puppy lying down outdoors

He already knows how to roll over and how to steal your heart.

8. Darling Ms. Daisy the Bichon Frisé

closeup bichon frise
Viorel Sima/Shutterstock

She’s spoiled as can be, but she’s worth it.

9. Precious Peanut the Beagle

beagle puppy in grass
Tony Kan/Shutterstock

He’s a hound dog on the hunt for more ear scritches.

10. Lovely Luna the Spaniel

cavalier king charles spaniel

She’s begging, but she’s using good manners by sitting at the table.

11. Cutie Coco the mixed breed

mixed breed dog laying in dandelions
Alexandra Kruspe/Shutterstock

Okay, Coco, we can play fetch a little longer.

12. Cuddly Claude the French Bulldog


Claude requests more snuggles. To that, we say oui!

13. Beautiful Bella the West Highland Terrier

westie puppy dog eyes
Annette Shaff/Shutterstock

She just wants to be beside you at all times — not an unreasonable request, right?

14. Charley the German Shepherd

german shepherd puppy
Ivan Kharchenko/Shutterstock

He’s letting you know, ever so subtly, that he would like to go to the park.

15. Snuggly Sadie the Shih Tzu

A beautiful female shih tzu dog looking at camera and wearing a bow on her head.
Studio Aline Fernandes/Shutterstock

Sadie would prefer if petting her was your full-time job.

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