A new study published this month in Anthrozoos, the official journal of the International Society for Anthrozoology, has confirmed what all of us dog people already knew: owning a dog makes you look sexy. Let’s pause for a sec while I strike a sexy pose with my spaniel…okay, moving on…

Before you go around fist-bumping all of your fellow sexy dog owners, there’s a catch. (Because there’s always a catch, isn’t there? Sigh.) The study, which surveyed random users who included pet ownership information in their dating profiles, found that the magical sexiness attributed to dog owners only applied when the pet parent was a single man. (Cue our enormous groan.) Not cool, you guys. Not cool at all.

So what gives? Why is a guy with a dog automatically sexy to potential dating partners when it doesn’t make much difference whether or not a woman has a companion animal? According to the study’s researchers, “women will place more value on how a potential mate interacts with their pet than will single men.” They think they know why. The researchers also said, “Put in terms of evolutionary and life-history theory, females allocate a higher proportion of their reproductive effort to parenting while males expend more energy on mating.” To put it in plain English, straight girls on the motherhood track tend to like guys who dote on their dogs because they think they’ll be good dads. Straight guys, on the other hand, care more about a girl’s mating potential than what kind of mom she’ll be someday. (Am I the only one a little creeped out by this? Please tell me I’m not.)

Disturbing as this might be, it does explain a few things…such as why we see so many cute guys with baby animals wall calendars but not so many (like, zero) calendars featuring gorgeous women holding puppies. Maybe they’re out there, but I’ve just missed them amid the pile of bikini calendars. Just a theory.

As effective as dogs might be as chick magnets, let’s keep things in perspective, shall we? What really makes a person sexy is confidence. That is a scientific fact. Being confident will make you more appealing to potential dating partners than your appearance. (Hallelujah, there’s hope for humanity!). So rock that dog leash and pooper scooper the next time you take Fido for a walk. You’re a sexy beast, Lady Dog Owner. Science says so. And so do we.

[Image via Shutterstock.]