The good relationship between humans and dogs was certainly influenced by domestication. For long, it was assumed that humans preferred particularly tolerant animals for breeding. Thus, cooperative and less aggressive dogs could develop. Recently, however, it was suggested that these qualities were not only specific for human-dog interactions, but characterize also dog-dog interactions. Friederike Range and Zs?fia Vir?nyi from the Messerli Research Institute investigated in their study if dogs are in fact less aggressive and more tolerant towards their conspecifics than wolves.
They carried out several behavioural tests on dogs and wolves. The animals were hand-raised in the Wolf Science Center in Ernstbrunn, Lower Austria, and kept in separated packs of wolves and dogs. Range and her colleagues tested nine wolves and eight mongrel dogs.
Dogs express a steeper dominance hierarchy
To test how tolerant wolves and dogs are towards their pack members, pairs consisting of a high-ranked and a low-ranked animal were fed together. They were fed either a bowl of raw meat or a large bone.
While low-ranked wolves often defended their food against the high-ranked partner and showed aggressive behaviour as often as higher-ranked wolves, this was different in dogs. Low-ranked dogs held back and accepted the threats of the dominant dog. Overall, however, neither wolves nor dogs showed a lot of aggressive behaviour. If any, they showed threat signs.
“Wolves seem to be more tolerant towards conspecifics than dogs that seem to be more sensitive to the dominance hierarchy,” explains lead author Range. “This was shown by the fact that also low-ranked wolves can challenge their higher-ranked partners and the dominant animals tolerate it, while in dogs aggression was a privilege of the higher-ranked partners.”
Cast: Tom Berenger, Christopher Walken, Jim Broadbent, JoBeth Williams, Pedro Armend?Riz Jr., Victoria Tennant, Gyearbuor Asante, Thomas Baptiste, Alan Beckwith, Robert Berger and others .
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‘The Dogs of War’ is a 1980 war film based upon the novel The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth, directed by John Irvin. It stars Christopher Walken and Tom Berenger as part of a small, internationa.
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