Genes of dogs make them hanker for human company


According to U.S. scientists, dogs are naturally friendly, and this could be the reason why they appear to share our lives. The existence of dogs can be traced back to wolves, and the genes that characterize dogs have been picked – this may be why they have their unique personalities and hanker for human company.

The study

Dr. Bridgett vonHoldt of Princeton University said their study discovered the variation of genes in both wolves and dogs. And this gives an insight into the personality of animal suggesting the possible effects of genes in other domestic animals, maybe cats.

The researchers examined domestic dogs’ behavior and that of grey wolves in captivity. Several tests were carried out to ascertain the animals’ ability in solving problems and socialization. It was discovered that wolves could solve problems as dogs like getting pieces of sausages from a plastic box.

However, dogs proved to be more friendly, spending much time looking at human strangers and greeting them. DNA tests revealed some genetic behaviors and changes like picking up on social cues and attentiveness. Such changes in human are related with a rare genetic syndrome where people socialize very well.

Dr. Elaine Ostrander said the results could be useful in analyzing human disease although she wasn’t part of the research. Dogs evolved from the domestication of wolves some 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.

Dogs evolve from wolves

Some thousands of years ago, human-tolerant wolves sneaked into hunter’s camps to feed on food leftovers. Over the years, wolves evolved to the dogs we are familiar with today. Dr. vonHoldt said that this could make one relate to the story that these wolves evolved from less friendly ones.