Dog breed differences in visual communication with humans

Konno, Akitsugu, Romero, Teresa, Inoue-Murayama, Miho, Saito, Atsuko and Hasegawa, Toshikazu (2016) Dog breed differences in visual communication with humans. PLoS ONE, 11 (10). e0164760. ISSN 1932-6203

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0164760

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Abstract

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.

Keywords:Dogs, visual communication, dog behaviour, JCOpen
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:25899
Deposited On:27 Jan 2017 09:55

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