Home » Genetic Distance From Wolves Affects Family Dogs’ Reactions Towards Howls

Genetic Distance From Wolves Affects Family Dogs’ Reactions Towards Howls

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91645 genetic distance from wolves affects family dogs reactions towards howls

Genetic Distance From Wolves Affects Family Dogs’ Reactions Towards Howls

2. How does the degree of genetic difference between wolves and domestic dogs affect their reactions to wolf howls?

Genetric Distance From Wolves Affects Family Dogs’ Reactions Towards Howls

It is well documented that the domestic dog is a direct descendant of the wolf. It is now rumored that for a dog to be familiar with its wolf predecessors, the genetic distance between them needs to be considered. Recent research from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna has revealed that the genetic distance from wolves affects family dogs’ reactions to howls.

Results Of The Study

The study was conducted on five different dog breeds, each with different genetic distances from wolves. Each dog was tested for their reaction to the sound of a wolf howl. Results revealed that:

  • Low Genetic Distance Dogs – Dogs with lower genetic distances from wolves, such as huskies, displayed a ‘startled’ reaction when they heard the howl.
  • High Genetic Distance Dogs – Dogs with higher genetic distances from wolves, namely pugs, didn’t show any reaction to the wolf howl.

What Does This mean?

The study’s results suggest that, the closer a dog is genetically to the wolf ancestor, the more likely it is to recognize wolf sounds as coming from a fellow canine. Dogs that are further removed from wolves, however, are seemingly less able to recognize such sounds.

This implies that, not only do different dog breeds retain different degrees of wolf-like characteristics, but they also respond in various ways to the sound of a wolf. The closer they are to the wolf ancestor, the more they can comprehend the sound of their howl.

Conclusion

All in all, the study serves as another reminder of how dogs and wolves are related, even though different breeds of dogs have been bred for different purposes over time. It further shows that it is important to take into account the genetic distance between dogs and wolves when it comes to reactions to howls and potential behaviors.

The results suggest that, in order for a dog to be familiar with its predecessors, the genetic distance difference should be considered.

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