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Puppy love, also known as a crush, is an informal term for feelings of romantic love, often felt during childhood and early adolescence.[1] It is an infatuation usually developed by someone's looks and attractiveness at first sight. Such feelings fade away when the object of attraction stays out of sight for a while, whereas the feeling of real love takes a long time to develop and does not fade with time and or in the absence of the other.[2] It is named for its resemblance to the adoring, worshipful affection that may be felt by a puppy. Puppy love typically lasts between 2 months and 2 years, and is thought to be fueled by preadolescent hormones. Some scientists, however, think it is initiated as a result of the natural development of the brain at the onset of preadolescence.[3]

The term can be used in a derogatory fashion, presuming the affair to be shallow and transient in comparison to other forms of love.[4] Sigmund Freud, however, was far from underestimating the power of early love, recognizing the validity of "the proverbial durability of first loves".[5]


Puppy love is a common experience in the process of maturing.[6] The object of attachment may be a peer, but the term can also describe the fondness of a child for an adult. Most often, the object of the child's infatuation is someone years older, like a teacher, friend of the family, actor, or musician, about whom the child will spend their time daydreaming or fantasizing.[7]

A crush is described as a coming-of-age experience where the child is given a sense of individualism because they feel intimate emotions for a person not part of their own family.[8]

In popular culture

Canadian singer Paul Anka wrote and released the single "Puppy Love" in 1960, reaching number 2 in the Billboard Hot 100. The remake by Donny Osmond peaked at number 1 in the UK Singles Chart and number 3 in the US in 1972.[9] Country singer Dolly Parton's first single, released in the 1950s when she was a child, was also called "Puppy Love". Singer Barbara Lewis released a song entitled "Puppy Love" in January 1964. Australian rock band Front End Loader featured a song called "Puppy Love" on their 1992 eponymous album. Bow Wow released a song called "Puppy Love" in January 2001. Hip hop artist Brother Ali wrote a song about puppy love titled "You Say (Puppy Love)". The electric powwow group A Tribe Called Red released a song titled "Native Puppy Love" on their self-titled album.

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote short stories "valuing the intuitiveness of puppy love over mature, reasoned affection...[its] 'unreal, undesirous medley of ecstasy and peace'".[10]

See also


  1. ^ Ray E. Short (2004). Sex, Love or Romance. p. 16. Simple infatuation is also known as called a 'crush' or 'puppy love'. It commonly strikes those in the early teens or younger.
  2. ^ Essibrah, W.M. (2010). Marriage God's Way: A book every Christian couple must own a copy. Xlibris US. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-4535-9736-1. Retrieved 2022-12-14.
  3. ^ Lynette Poolman; Laura Crawford (2006). "Pleasure and Love". In Sheryl Feinstein (ed.). The Praeger Handbook of Learning and the Brain. Vol. 2. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 384. ISBN 978-0-313-33980-6.
  4. ^ Georgette Heyer (1974). Bath Tangle. London. pp. 284, 183. calf-love...a sickly, sentimental dream which only a moonstruck fool could have created!
  5. ^ Sigmund Freud, On Sexuality (PFL 7) p. 67
  6. ^ Short, p. 13
  7. ^ Short, p. 16
  8. ^ M. H. Ford, Personal Power (2004) p. 124
  9. ^ "And They Call It Puppy Love". Archived from the original on 2016-10-28. Retrieved 2014-11-11.
  10. ^ Ruth Prigozy (2002). The Cambridge Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Cambridge. p. 38.