By Rita T. Gillespie on June 03 2018 19:41:44
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.
What you may not know is that many breeds today have very small populations. If some breeds were any other kind of animal they would be considered endangered. You may find it hard to believe, but breeds can become extinct. If you read any histories about dog breeds, you will find lots of references to breeds that are gone now. Countless breeds have become extinct over the centuries. In some cases we have some of their descendants because they contributed to newer breeds, but not always. Some people might not care if particular breeds become extinct, but if you are a fan of a breed, then this might matter to you. From a genetic viewpoint, it’s always good to have a wide selection of dogs that contributed to a breed’s foundation. You never know when it might be necessary to reintroduce some of the genes from an older breed for health reasons. If those breeds are extinct, that’s no longer a possibility.
Keep in mind that large dogs are more expensive to keep. They eat more food, which costs you more money. Tick and flea preventives cost more for large dogs, as do other mediations.
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.
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