Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Human-dog Communication: Breed As Important As Species

Date:
July 27, 2009
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Dog breeds selected to work in visual contact with humans, such as sheep dogs and gun dogs, are better able to comprehend a pointing gesture than those breeds that usually work without direct supervision.

Sheep dogs were better than hunting hounds, earth dogs (dogs used for underground hunting), livestock guard dogs and sled dogs at following a pointing finger.
Credit: iStockphoto/Robert Churchill

Dog breeds selected to work in visual contact with humans, such as sheep dogs and gun dogs, are better able to comprehend a pointing gesture than those breeds that usually work without direct supervision. A series of tests should caution researchers against making simple generalizations about the effects of domestication and on dog-wolf differences in the utilization of human visual signals.

Márta Gácsi, from Eötvös University, Hungary, worked with a team of researchers to examine the performance of different breeds of dogs in making sense of the human pointing gesture. Gácsi said, "It has been suggested that the study of the domestic dog might help to explain the evolution of human communicative skills, because the dog has been selected for living in a human environment and engaging in communicative interactions with humans for more than 10,000 years. However, this study is the first to reveal striking difference in the performance of breed groups selected for different characteristics."

The researchers found that gun dogs and sheep dogs were better than hunting hounds, earth dogs (dogs used for underground hunting), livestock guard dogs and sled dogs at following a pointing finger. They also out-performed mongrels. Moreover, breeds with short noses and centrally placed eyes were better at interpreting the gesture than those with long noses and widely spaced eyes, which can probably be connected to a more optimal retinal location of greatest visual acuity, that might help focus their attention. According to Gácsi, "Although these results may appear to be unsurprising, there is a common tendency to make assumptions about genetic explanations for differences in comprehension between 'dogs' and wolves. Our results show that researchers must be careful to control for animal breed when carrying out behavioral experiments."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marta Gacsi, Paul McGreevy, Edina Kara and Adam Miklosi. Effects of selection for cooperation and attention in dogs. Behavioral and Brain Functions, (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Human-dog Communication: Breed As Important As Species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090723194319.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2009, July 27). Human-dog Communication: Breed As Important As Species. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090723194319.htm
BioMed Central. "Human-dog Communication: Breed As Important As Species." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090723194319.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) — The study weighs in on a debate over whether chimps are naturally violent or become that way due to human interference in the environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins