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Data from: Wolf-like or dog-like? A comparison of gazing behaviour across three dog breeds tested in their familiar environments

Citation

Maglieri, Veronica; Prato-Previde, Emanuela; Tommasi, Erica; Palagi, Elisabetta (2019), Data from: Wolf-like or dog-like? A comparison of gazing behaviour across three dog breeds tested in their familiar environments, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5q168t7

Abstract

Human-directed gazing, a keystone in dog–human communication, has been suggested to derive from both domestication and breed selection. The influence of genetic similarity to wolves and selective pressures on human-directed gazing is still under debate. Here, we used the ‘unsolvable task’ to compare Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs (CWDs, a close-to-wolf breed), German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs) and Labrador Retrievers (LRs). In the ‘solvable task’, all dogs learned to obtain the reward; however, differently from GSDs and LRs, CWDs rarely gazed at humans. In the ‘unsolvable task’, CWDs gazed significantly less towards humans compared to LRs but not to GSDs. Although all dogs were similarly motivated to explore the apparatus, CWDs and GSDs spent a larger amount of time in manipulating it compared to LRs. A clear difference emerged in gazing at the experimenter versus owner. CWDs gazed preferentially towards the experimenter (the unfamiliar subject manipulating the food), GSDs towards their owners and LRs gazed at humans independently from their level of familiarity. In conclusion, it emerges that the artificial selection operated on CWDs produced a breed more similar to ancient breeds (more wolf-like due to a less-intense artificial selection) and not very human-oriented. The next step is to clarify GSDs’ behaviour and better understand the genetic role of this breed in shaping CWDs’ heterospecific behaviour.

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