Whilst cheetahs are formidable animals when it comes to hunting in the wild they actually have a far softer and more reserved side to them that often gets in the way of them socialising with each other. They're well known for getting anxious around others and this in turn raises their stress level and has knock on effect on them reproducing - not good for an animal whose species is in decline and already considered vulnerable.
Knowing that cheetahs need some help zoo keepers found the solution in the most unexpected form... mans best friend. Anyone lucky enough to own a dog will know all too well just how much of a stress reliever they can, not just to pet but the companionship they offer and the happy vibe they give off.
Although an unlikely pairing Zoos have been using dogs as "emotional support" for cheetahs who are instinctively shy. When paired up the cheetah looks to the dog for cues and models its behaviour and over time adopts the dogs happy-go-lucky vibe. It's then hoped that they will feel more relaxed and more likely to reproduce - but aside from the technicalities just checkout how adorable they are together in the photos below!
Cheetahs are instinctively shy and socially awkward animals - the opposite to dogs
Which is why they're being used to help. Because cheetahs get anxious there stress levels are raised and they don't reproduce
Which is bad news for a species already considered vulnerable. Having dogs around helps them relax and they end up copying the dogs behaviour
And because dogs are such happy and sociable animals they make for the perfect pairing
And the more relaxed the cheetahs are...
The more chance there is of them procreating!
For more info checkout the video: