Why do Dogs love humans.
February 13, 2020 Blogroll, Featured, News No Comments

Why do Dogs love humans.  As I was looking through the channel guide last night I saw a new Nova episode on Dogs.  I have seen many other shows that try to determine why wolves became dogs.  There is a general consensus that humans did not domesticate wolves.  The wolves domesticated themselves. Specifically all dogs evolved from the grey wold.  It is thought that the wolves that were the least afraid of humans gradually changed into what we call a dog over a period of about 5000 years.

The episode went back to the Russian research facility that 70 years ago accidentally created fox-dogs.  The women at the facility identified a number of foxes that were the least afraid of humans.  They breed male and female foxes for their temperament.  In just a few generations the offspring of these first foxes-dogs developed traits that humans associate with dogs.  These foxes craved human attention, became passive and most interesting lost their natural fur camouflage.  The Russian researchers showed that the fox with lower levels of adrenal gland hormones were the most likely to be domesticated.

This still did not explain why dogs have such a close relationship with humans.  A chance discovery of people who suffer from William’s syndrome may explain why humans think dogs love them.  William’s syndrome causes higher levels of oxytocin in the brain.  Researchers found that dogs have the same mutation on the same chromosome as people with William’s syndrome. The discovery of the influence of adrenal hormones coupled with the mutation that causes William’s syndrome go a long way in explaining why dogs and humans have such a close bond.

Why do Dogs love humans. It is a complicated evolutionary story that changed human history.  Could humans have been successful hunters and animal herders without dogs?  We will never know.  What we do know is that dogs made everything easier for their humans.

Written by James Simons