Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) have developed a close relationship with humans through the process of domestication. In human-dog interactions, eye contact is a key element of relationship initiation and maintenance. Previous studies have suggested that canine ability to produce human-directed communicative signals is influenced by domestication history, from wolves to dogs, as well as by recent breed selection for particular working purposes. To test the genetic basis for such abilities in purebred dogs, we examined gazing behavior towards humans using two types of behavioral experiments: the ‘visual contact task’ and the ‘unsolvable task’. A total of 125 dogs participated in the study. Based on the genetic relatedness among breeds subjects were classified into five breed groups: Ancient, Herding, Hunting, Retriever-Mastiff and Working). We found that it took longer time for Ancient breeds to make an eye-contact with humans, and that they gazed at humans for shorter periods of time than any other breed group in the unsolvable situation. Our findings suggest that spontaneous gaze behavior towards humans is associated with genetic similarity to wolves rather than with recent selective pressure to create particular working breeds.
Dogs with short coats also have another advantage. It is easier to find ticks and fleas on their body. You probably spend eight times as long searching for fleas and ticks on a dog with a long coat than you do on a dog with a short coat.
Every breed can be trained to learn almost every command. However, some breeds learn a lot faster than others - making them a lot easier to train. These highly intelligent breeds pick up a command after only about five or six repetitions, they more often respond on the first time you give the command, and they remember commands even if they are not practiced often. They also learn commands even when the trainer is inexperienced and makes mistakes. So if you do not have a lot of the time to spend dog training, or you are the impatient type who gets frustrated easily, choose a breed which has a high ease of training rating.
Dogs have been selectively bred for thousands of years, sometimes by inbreeding dogs from the same ancestral lines, sometimes by mixing dogs from very different lines. The process continues today, resulting in a widening in appearance without speciation, "from the Chihuahua to the Great Dane."
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