Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Wolves and dogs ‘collaborate equally well with humans’
Both dogs and wolves, when socialised with people and kept under similar conditions, work equally well with humans, but in very different ways.

Study suggest wolves lead and dogs follow

Wolves and dogs may be more similar than previously thought, according to new research which suggests both species cooperate with humans, but in different ways.

A study published in the journal Scientific Reports indicates that dogs share specific behavioural characteristics with wolves, which gives them their ability to work with people.

Researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna explored the extent to which 12 dogs and 15 grey wolves collaborated with humans to solve certain tasks.

They found that both dogs and wolves, when socialised with people and kept under similar conditions, work equally well with humans, but in very different ways. Dogs were seen to follow the behaviour of humans, while wolves led the interactions and were more independent.

“The detailed analysis of the cooperative interactions revealed interesting differences between wolves and dogs,” said study director Friederike Range. “It shows that, while wolves tend to initiate behaviour and take the lead, dogs are more likely to wait and see what the human partner does and follow that behaviour.”

The research team believe that, in the process of domestication, dogs with higher submissive tendencies were selected for breeding. This helped to reduce conflicts over resources and ensured the safe coexistence and cooperation between humans and dogs.

Previous research has suggested that dogs gained specific predispositions for cooperative interactions during domestication. Dogs would therefore be expected to be better at cooperating with humans than wolves. But as a species, wolves are highly cooperative in working together to raise young, hunt and defend their territory.

Vetmeduni Vienna researchers concluded that dogs did not develop new cooperative traits during domestication - but instead, the collaborative skills of their wolf ancestors formed the basis of dog-human cooperation. 

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Veterinary Evidence Student Awards winners revealed

News Story 1
 The first winners of the RCVS Knowledge Veterinary Evidence Student Awards have been revealed.

Molly Vasanthakumar scooped first prize for her knowledge summary comparing the ecological impact of woven versus disposable drapes. She found that there is not enough evidence that disposable synthetics reduce the risk of surgical site.

Second prize went to Honoria Brown of the University of Cambridge, for her paper: ‘Can hoof wall temperature and digital pulse pressure be used as sensitive non-invasive diagnostic indicators of acute laminitis onset?’

Edinburgh’s Jacqueline Oi Ping Tong won third prize for critically appraising the evidence for whether a daily probiotic improved clinical outcomes in dogs with idiopathic diarrhoea. The papers have all achieved publication in RCVS Knowledge’s peer-reviewed journal, Veterinary Evidence.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Animal Welfare Foundation seeks new trustees

The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) seeks three new trustees to help drive the charity’s mission to improve animal welfare through veterinary science, education and debate.

Veterinary and animal welfare professionals from across the UK may apply, particularly those with experience in equine and small animal practice and research management. Trustees must attend at least two meetings a year, as well as the annual AWF Discussion Forum in London.

For more information about the role, visit www.animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk. Applications close at midnight on 13 August 2019.