Dogs Are Better Than People and That's Why We Love Them More Than Other Humans

A puppy waiting for its owner in China. New study says people really do prefer animals over adult humans. JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images

People like dogs better than other people, suggests a new study (although you probably didn't need a study to tell you that). The research gauging people's preference for man vs. pooch showed that humans are more upset when animals suffer.

Related: Proof that Dogs are Manipulative Little Beasts: Our 'Best Friends" Use Facial Expressions When We Look at Them

For the study, published in the journal, Society & Animals, 256 undergraduate students were given newspaper clippings of a fictional attack. Each clipping presented different victims: a child, adult, puppy or mature dog. According to ScienceAlert, the article described the assailant as beating victims with a baseball bat, inflicting a broken leg and cuts, and leaving the person or pup unconscious.

The victims were either depicted as a one-year-old child, 30-year-old human, puppy, or six-year-old canine. Participants answered questions that were designed to measure empathy about the attacks. The researchers found that people were pretty concerned about all of the victims almost equally—except for adult humans, who scored the least amount of empathy.

The adult dog only received lower scores of empathy when compared to the infant human victim. The researchers concluded that age made the most of a difference for how how concerned humans were about their fellow man. Age made less of an impact on one's concern for dogs. The data also showed that females were overall more empathetic than men.

Those who do not have a soft spot for pups may scoff at the findings that animals could be more valued than humans, but past research has shown the bond between humans and dogs is strong.

In 2015, a study revealed that we actually bond with dogs similarly to how we connect with babies, writes Science magazine.

Researchers found that when pet owners looked into their dogs' eyes, a rise in oxytocin, also known as the cuddle hormone, ensued. And the feeling is mutual, it seems. The study revealed an increase of 130 percent in dogs and a 300 percent increase of the hormone in people.

"It's an incredible finding that suggests that dogs have hijacked the human bonding system," Brian Hare, canine cognition expert at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, told Science. He was not involved with the study.

It's OK to like dogs more than people because everyone else does too. DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

Additionally, a study last month found that dogs actually manipulate us with their sweet faces (although, it's not necessarily intentional). As we previously reported, dogs use more facial expressions when humans are around as a way to communicate.

So, if you've ever been accused of loving your pet too much, you can use science to make your case for being a doting pet parent.