Stop what you’re doing and look at this dog. Look at it! There is no Photoshop trickery here (apparently). It’s just a weird-looking dog with a human face.
Posted on Reddit, the dog is called Yogi, and has been propelled into Internet stardom. It’s a 1-year-old Shih-poo, and it’s gone viral thanks to its unusual appearance.
The dog’s owner, Chantal Desjardins, told BuzzFeed News that she “never really noticed” her dog looked like a person until she posted a picture of him on Facebook.
But why does it look so human? Well, there might be a scientific explanation.
“It looks like Nicolas Cage dressed as an Ewok,” said user Neurorational on Reddit.
“The more I stare at the dog the more I’m seeing my own face,” said amk7288. “This is creeping me out… like looking into my soul.”
“But it’s not just his eyes,” said michellemustudy. “Look at that little grimace smile that can only come from a middle-aged man who’s [sic] soul has been given to corporate.”
According to Rae Paoletta over at Inverse, it’s most likely a result of our brains tricking us into thinking the dog looks human. Yes, shock, I know, it’s not really a dog with a human face.
It’s due to a phenomenon called “baby schema”, where humans see facial features in animals that we’d normally associate with babies. A study back in 2009 found that features like a large head, round face, and big eyes were more likely to invoke the effect.
“While cuteness is literally in the eye of the beholder, it's possible that our brains are hardwired to see facial features like Yogi's as, well, human,” Paoletta said.
“Because of that, we feel naturally inclined to take care of them, or in this case, give them treats and scratches.”
It’s also been shown previously that dogs deliberately play up their emotions to manipulate us, those sneaky devils. I’m not sure Yogi is purposefully trying to look like a nonplussed human here, but still, they know how to tug at our heartstrings.
At any rate, this is just a bizarrely human-like dog, and one that we’re still struggling to comprehend isn’t a face-swap. Rock on Yogi, you weird but adorable creature. Rock on.