Dogs are considered to be extremely friendly animals. They are also very loyal to their masters. That’s probably why they’re so popular! Have you ever wondered why these dogs were so nice? There is a scientific reason that explains their pleasant temperament. Read on to find out why your beloved pet is so friendly.
1. A biologist and her dog
For Marla, Bridgett von Holdt’s 11-month-old English herding dog, the whole world is a friend she absolutely must meet: “She is hypersocial. I even had a genotyping done,” admits von Holdt.
Von Holdt’s interest is not just a curiosity. The Princeton evolution biologist and her colleagues have spent the past three years studying the underlying genetic basis of the social behaviour of dogs and wolves.
2. Dogs and wolves
Studies have shown that dogs are more sociable than wolves raised in similar circumstances, that they generally pay more attention to humans and that they follow our instructions and orders more effectively.
3. An experience that raises many questions
Von Holdt’s experience in evolutionary genetics has led her to question the potential genetic basis for these differences.
4. Williams syndrome
Their study published in “Science Advances” would explain why dogs are so nice. Indeed, hypersocial dogs like Marla carry variants of two genes called GTF2I and GTF2IRD1. The suppression of these genes in humans causes Williams syndrome, which is characterized by facial features of elves, cognitive difficulties and a tendency to love everyone.
5. The consequences of genetic variants
Von Holdt suspects that genetic variants in dogs inhibit their normal function, causing the same problems as in humans with Williams syndrome. It would, therefore, be this behavioural syndrome that would be the source of the temperament of our beloved puppies.