Every dog owner knows there is no better feeling than when your pup chooses to hop up onto your lap and snuggle in. It really reinforces the feeling that our dog loves us just as much was we love them, but there are also some historic and scientific reasons behind why your dog wants to be close to you.
Your dog’s cuddle-bug personality could be a characteristic of their breed. The term “lap dog” refers to specific breeds that came about as early as the 1500s and were bred specifically to be small in size and friendlier in nature. They were among the earliest type of dog to be bred for pleasure and companionship rather than for hunting or protection purposes. Early lap dog breeds include Pekingese, Pomeranian, and Chihuahua, among many others.
But as many owners of larger breeds know, these characteristics are certainly not limited to their tiny counterparts. Dogs such as Great Danes and Mastiff breeds sometimes seem to have no concept of their size and will squeeze onto your lap however they can.
As much as we want to believe our dogs are always cuddling with us out of pure adoration, that’s not always the case. There are some occasions where your dog is simply cuddling close for warmth. When dogs first became domesticated, they were used primarily for hunting and guard purposes. They would also aid in keeping their owner warm by providing laying close to them and sharing body heat, aka cuddling. Ever heard of the saying “three dog night”? That actually refers to those super-cold nights when humans had to lay with up to three dogs in order to keep warm.
Love and Affection
Yes, a lot of the time our dog wants to cuddle up to us simply because we’re the apple of their eye. It’s been known to strengthen the bond they share with their humans and is a way for them to show us how much they love us. Studies have shown that bonding with their owners is more important to dogs than any other domesticated animal. It can also increase oxytocin (aka the love hormone) in both humans and their dogs and is a known stress reliever.
Some dogs are clingy and like to be close to their owner by following them around everywhere, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they like to be held close and snuggled. These dogs will hop up onto your lap when they’re scared or cold but can be otherwise standoffish. Dogs are like humans in that they all have their own unique personalities. If your pup doesn’t want to be mauled with affection, be sure to give them their space and let them come to you when they feel like being snuggled.